and this morning as i was thinking
about the cold (-21) and the sun shone brilliantly
on the snow
there was a loud thunk.
i looked at the window as a large bird recovered and flew up.
must have hit the upstairs west window and fallen,
and landed on the utility pole in the back yard.
it was stunned, not behaving as they usually do.
pileated woodpecker.
cock of the woods.
 immediately after the collision
on the dark side of the pole
 moved around to the sunny side
 got bearings and flew off.
 these birds are what woody woodpecker,
he of ancient cartoon fame, was.
 i don't remember a thing about that cartoon
besides his weird laugh
which is nothing like the call that named this one
cock of the woods.
another north country name.
and i have finished off two pounds of flax fiber
made into 8.5 x 11 sheets 
(some are with my papermaking partner melissa schulenburg)
 beautiful flax with the remnants of other paper pulp
(that thin white line)
indicating that the felts are dirty
but oh, these deckle edges!
 i made the last little post of about 20 little sheets at home in the kitchen.
i added some inclusionsincluding 
habu wrapping string (silk wrapped paper thread)
and mica or shell iridescence
which didn't photograph.
 it's always good to make paper.
even through the cold of winter.
it looks like i can see a few sparkles on this sheet.
this is NOT glitter, more like mica dust. 
but it's there.
there was also this,
the life of death video
happened to come along this morning.

paper fiber/fiber paper

 antidote for a bad cold:
kitchen papermaking
i made the pulp over at Zone 4 (school)
and brought home a couple of quarts.
(below you can also see one of hannah's dish cloths, water, a split rock and some dyed fern spores in the jar.)
i'm using carriage house flax and it's delicious and beautiful pulp.
it takes such a short time to beat, less than an hour in the valley.
but the cold meant that my energy lasted only until i'd finished the beat,
so just like the times when i have some pulp left over from the big vat, i bring it home to make some little sheets in a little vat. it's a way to use it all up.
so having a tiny set up in the kitchen means i can make paper,
sneeze and cough, drink medicinal tinctures and teas, 
and nap between posts (wet sheets). i can even take it all out to the hydraulic press and leave it for a while, press slowly, and then retrieve, then put in blotters and press in the iron book press and change them every few hours. this is easy in my house, especially since my kitchen is not the kitchen of someone who loves to cook.
this wouldn't work for normal size paper, but for these tiny ones, it's a pleasure.
my beautiful moulds, one laid, one wove, were made by lee macdonald,
and i got them during one of handpapermaking's auctions.
i absolutely love them.
 i can't imagine that i'll ever be able to afford a larger size traditional mahogany and brass mould, but i have these sweet minis.
 i can fit 10 on a half felt, fold it over and make 10 more. i usually make about 100 at a time.
it's funny, this has been a constant for years, no matter what size sheets i'm pulling, i have about a hundred. not always 100 good sheets, mind you. 
 right now i have a bucket of flax left at Z4, and 5 quarts here, and i've started to experiment some with earth pigments again. i bought the maiwa set, three jars in melbourne, (trace willans sent me some, too, but those are for surface work)
 above is the sum total of the good part of a bad cold.
about 350 sheets.
i've placed them on a handwoven hemp cloth from mjolk.
 here you can see them with as much detail as i could tease out of the iphone
which admittedly is not much.
flax is beautiful,
and takes some getting used to after my years working with foraged plant fibers
and relearning rag processing this past year.
how many items from my closet are now editions of paper?
and one or two are now books in process.
this work is in preparation for two things on my horizon, PBI (paper and book intensive) in may, and a papermaking class for fall 2018 at SLU. imagine, an entire semester of papermaking with a sustainability theme!
aimee posted some books and birds in the works and newly completed. i love them.
and sarah challenges me to see life though comic eyes, a good thing. both of these women draw comics which i think frame life in a way that reminds me of funny medieval marginalia doodlers mixed with the sunday papers.