The fireplace may have started it.
All those hours sitting in front of the fireplace in the den these three months since Mama died, poking and prodding and feeding the wood fire, has stirred Unc's carving urges.
Then he started carving wooden Butter Paddles. As a 14 year old boy in 1940, he carved a butter paddle for my grandmother. She made butter every day with that butter paddle from 1940 well into the 1960's. That paddle squished its way though thousands of pounds of butter over the years. (You can see Unc's first butter paddle in the picture above.
Unc remembers that a churn full of milk, about three gallons, would make roughly a pound of butter. One churns the milk until the butter comes to the top, roughly 30 minutes of constant motion. Skim butter off the top, then work it with one of these Butter Paddles to work out the milk and whey. The paddle is convex (curved) on one side and flat on the other side.
I've not made butter personally, but I plan to. If I have to drag my menfolk kicking and screaming, we WILL have a milk cow, hopefully this year. Raw milk can prevent and even reverse osteoporosis, plus oodles of other good stuff according to what I am reading.
Anyway, back to Unc. From the butter paddles, he began making scoops. The Canister Scoop pictured here is mine....MINE! (One has to speak up fast and decisively around Unc's carved work. Otherwise, we would have none of his work for our own collection!)
I like these little Canister Scoops. He has made some of them with cute little curved handles and some with flat handles. Gordon or I will take some more pictures tomorrow. The Canister Scoop will hold about a teaspoon of dry ingredient, a level measure. I promise more photos tomorrow of the ones that did not sell tonight just from this picture of MY Canister Spoon!
Realize, these measurements are all approximate. Unc does not follow a pattern of any kind. He just starts carving on a piece of wood, and the wood grain and dimensions in part determine the finished shape.
The Flat Scoop is $22.50 with shipping and insurance of $6.50 for a total of $29.00. (Shipping costs are combined for multiple purchases.)
This particular flat scoop sold within minutes after I posted the picture on Facebook. The one he is working on at the moment also sold. That is ok, because he has lots of Katrina wood to use for carving and thanks to the gracious ladies who responded so quickly from those Facebook pictures, he has lots of encouragement to keep carving. Unc will have more Flat Scoops for sale very soon!
When Hurricane Katrina passed over our farm in 2005, she was still a Category 1 Hurricane. She was so big that those powerful 75 mph winds rocked huge trees back and forth like a child playing with a loose tooth.
Before she left us, Katrina had popped many venerable oak and cherry and hickory and walnut and cedar and other trees out of the ground. Tree by tree, Unc has cut up the trees deep in the woods here on the farm and has dragged logs up to the barn for cover and good drainage.
Some of the wood he had cut into lumber. Some of the wood he set aside to continue aging naturally and slowly. Wood that is allowed to dry out slowly, with the bark still on the log, will not crack as easily or split while one is carving or working with the wood.
Some of the wood has developed spalding, or unique discoloration in the grain because of the aging process. The spalded wood is reserved for very special projects.
Some of the Katrina felled wood he saved has interesting burl, or design in the grain.
More photos and prattle to come, later today, on this topic. The clock has just clicked past midnight, and I was trying to get this posted yesterday!