Saturday, December 13, 2014

Paternity Leave on the Wane

I've been loving being home with Julia and boys this first week after Asher’s birth. Julia and the little one are resting up well alternating ad infinitum between nursing and sleeping. Eden and I have been taking care of things around the house. Fortunately our friends and family are inordinately generous in their meal provisions so we have been eating very well. This is good because I think we would quickly run out of variety if it were up to me to prepare meals. There’s only so much grilled cheese a wife can take!

Julia and I have been working out other transitions in daily life. Julia makes our food from scratch so this takes a lot of her time. She routinely makes our yogurt, bread, and cheese along with all meal preparations from our stored garden vegetables. (We usually have enough veggies to last the whole year.) Looks like I might be taking some of this over. It has been a couple years since I baked sourdough by myself and since that time Julia has modified the process since talking with some baker friends of ours. She has taught me the changes and I baked a couple loaves the other day. I am delighted to take over this chore.  It is such a satisfying undertaking to guide the interaction between the wild yeasts in the air, the flour, the water, temperature, humidity, etc. It is all so complex and mesmerizing to watch.

As much fun as we have been having, for some reason bills keep showing up in our mailbox. (Don’t they know we just had a baby!?) It’s great to be self-employed and flexible to take time off but there is only so much flex a young family has when they aren't insulated from financial concerns by a trust fund. So as much as possible, during times Eden is being watched by another helper, I slip away to the studio to try and get some projects out the door.

I just started a low post bedstead commission this week. I think I am on the cusp of marketing myself as a furniture maker in addition to a conservator. I envision the vast majority of my projects to be conservation work (my first love) but I may now begin taking commissions for non-electrified hand tool furniture making projects as well. I am seriously considering this hand tool only niche market because I really enjoy working “by hand” and really dislike working with electric machines. Besides the working environment, I have to confess disappointment when I see very elegant period reproductions only to look underneath and see perfectly uniform machined components. It seems to me that since the dial caliper was introduced to woodworkers, our ideas about precision have radically changed. I am not interested in flawless studio furniture with all components perfectly uniform. I love the visual diversity working from rough lumber to final buff by hand affords. I know scoffers abound but I’ll dip my toes into this market and we’ll see how it goes.


  1. What kind of yeast did you mention. Glad the family doing well.

    1. Sourdough bread is leavened by the yeasts in the environment around it. You don't put any baker's yeast into the recipe. The only ingredients in our bread are flour, water, and a pinch of salt to taste. All of the rising happens because we've caught wild yeasts in the air and mixed that "yeasted" dough (called the starter) into the bread.