He Pushed Us All to Do Better

Ken did not have many (any?) close friends. Some people enjoyed or admired Ken; others did not. When Ken died it was interesting to see how varied people’s responses were – from people talking of him as if he were a saint to people trying to come up with anything nice to say about him. Our friend Josh gave me one of the most fitting appraisals I have ever heard of Ken. Josh explained he …

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The Master of Diplomacy

People frequently asked Ken for advice. With all his experience he could quickly asses the situation, and easily see a solution. The real problem for Ken was stating the solution in a way it could be heard – either the solution was complex or the solution was painful for the questioner. The best example was when a young farmer asked Ken why his pigs were not doing well. Ken said, ” Well, pigs like to …

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Truth over Flattery

After watching a couple episodes of Pride and Prejudice on Public television, I decided to request more Colin Firth videos through inter library loan. Tonight as I watched Bridget Jones’ Diary, I realized Ken was my Darcy – awkward socially, beyond reproach in integrity, and kind in deed. And I remembered a Ken story. After contra dancing one night we met for dinner. I guess it was our first date. At one point Ken seemed …

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Weeding Out or The Spice Rack Story

Ken and I have used many spices.  There are my New England spices, my French Canadian spices, Scandinavian and Ken’s German, Scandinavian, and of course after we lived in Japan there are Asian condiments as well.    Each year during a small window after the growing season, but before he made pots, Ken went through the kitchen and pantry.  Then he would travel to the co-op and Penzey’s for holiday needs like figs for fig pudding …

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Stockpiling or the Toilet Paper Story

I have been laughing and telling people how Ken was a pack rat – not that I am not one – and how just now, over a year after his death I was down to the last five rolls of toilet paper he had bought.  It did not fit in the closet, but was piled on the upper floor by a shelf.  As the Japanese would say, a toilet paper yama (mountain). Yesterday at the …

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The Necks Project – aka Neck – a – Thon

About a month ago I was at Depth of Field in Minneapolis.  One side of the store  is a futon shop, and the other is a fiber shop.  I was there for a futon frame and then a futon cover.  After making those purchases I walked over to the fiber side.  They told me the store was closing and the yarn was 50% off.  I bought the wild colored Merino wool that remained.  First I …

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Memories from a Year Ago

This time last year Ken was visiting friends in New Mexico at the advice of one of his alternative health care providers.We spoke on the phone daily and each day he told me he was weaker.  While he was gone I was lining up things he could no longer do – plow the drive, get wood cut and stacked.  Friends helped with all these things.  I am grateful. People asked how I could “let him …

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Missing Ken on His Birthday: Many Reasons for Gratitude

Thursday was Ken’s birthday.  It was a tough day for me.  As I have said often this year, the firsts and the lasts are the most difficult: the first time I do something alone that we had done together for decades, the last time I eat something Ken grew or raised for example.        Thursday I was coming home from visiting my parents.  It was so good to see them.  There was much …

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Wood Progress

Last year Ken cleaned up some older logs on the driveway; since he had not gotten the sawmill up and running the wood had gotten old.  Now it was no longer lumber grade – only good to burn.  He cut the logs in lengths that could be split for the side stoke holes on the pottery kiln – 40 – 42.”   Then the splitter was giving him trouble.  And his health was also giving …

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The Plant I Can Grow!

When I met Ken I had LOTS of house plants.  And some came with me to Turtle Lake.  Ken took over the houseplant tasks.  And he had great success with all the plants I brought EXCEPT the peace lily or spathiphyllum I brought.  It likes filtered light and Ken was of a more light the better philosophy.  That spath fried and died.         When Ken died, his aunts and an uncle on …

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