Friday Catch-Up.

I cannot believe that it’s been two weeks since I last posted! And that was when I was up in New Hampshire and Eric was in Connecticut teaching his class. So I have a lot of catching up to do!

No, I haven’t been laying in a teak lounge chair under an umbrella ordering beach-side drinks on an island somewhere. Instead, I’ve been home sick with the flu! On the last days of our visit up north, I started to get a cold but must have picked up the flu as well at one of the various rest areas we stopped at on our 3-day trip back to Tennessee (and despite getting a flu shot!)

Yes, it took us 3 days to get home! Why? Well, several reasons. One being the snow storms hitting all the spots we would be traveling through and the first stop we made earlier than planned because of very heavy fog and slick roads.

The second reason is (and the main one) we were towing a very heavy trailer filled with materials, molds and some leftover equipment from Eric’s prior home in northern New Hampshire. We are so excited to announce that YES, Eric’s old schoolhouse finally sold! Yah! But it was a little sad when we stopped by the house to say “bye” the day before closing.

Well, actually, it was more sad for me. When I first met Eric, I was always excited to drive up North and spend the weekend at his rural place. It was nice to get out of the city and play with Chance in his backyard and enjoy nightly campfires.

But as I was reminiscing during our last “walkthrough,” Eric was whispering “good riddance!” And I don’t blame him. When we bought our new home in Tennessee, we sold my house in the city within 9 days. If we hadn’t have sold it so quickly, I know I would have been really stressed out being so far away.

So I cannot imagine what it was like for him to still have his house way up there while we were creating our new life down here in Tennessee. And now that it’s sold, I think he felt overwhelming relief and could now focus on planning, and moving forward, with our renovations down here, at the new home we own together (no more his and her residences).

And the last reason is that because I seemed to be coming down with something, I was in the backseat sleeping. So Eric was doing all the driving. Oh yeah. And there’s a fourth reason.


We needed to take a small detour in Knoxville.

The closest place for Eric to get cherry wood is two hours away. So on the trip back home, he had to stop and get the materials. And not all of it could fit in the jam-packed trailer we were towing which meant the rest had to go in the van! So I was kicked out of the backseat and poor Chance had a tiny spot to sit in. It may look like the boards could shift around but they are tight and secure. So Chance was completely safe, but not too happy with the little space we left him.

Now that is why it took us a long three days to get home. And as soon as we walked in and opened the curtains to let the sun in, we were greeted by our adopted wandering pet. Yup, Betty-Sue was right outside our window, apparently waiting for us.


Now I haven’t been totally flat-out on the couch, sick, for the last two weeks. I still had my freelance work to do. And one project was a little time-consuming. But I cannot talk about it or share any photos with you because it involved a celebrity who is currently on a popular tv show and I am under a confidentiality agreement. So that’s all I can say about that. And after a day’s work, I was too wiped out to write.

Over the next week I will catch y’all up (yes, I have now begun saying y’all) on some of the things we did up north. Like some photos of “Tour de Chooch.” What’s that you ask? Well, you will simply have to check back to find out!

Five Questions Friday: From the bro-in-law

Since Eric is in Connecticut teaching a 3-day class at Saltbox Crafters and I am in New Hampshire staying at my brother’s, today’s questions are from Mr. Basketmaker’s brother-in-law, Tripp.

Q: What did you do today?
Tripp: I played hockey at 6:30 this morning. My team tied 2 to 2. Then I picked up some of the stuff at our parent’s home that you and Eric could not fit in the two moving trucks. Then I came home, played games on Michele’s ipad, waiting for you to ask me five questions since Eric is at his workshop and wondering how badly I will be misquoted.

Q: What do you think Eric did all day today?
Tripp: I think he was going through the motions during his workshop with his lady students while simultaneously daydreaming about winning the Brady Gaga championship.

Q: What did you think when I first told you I met someone who makes baskets?
Tripp: I would say my first thought was “wow, that’s pretty cool” and also at the same time how easy it would be to tease him and you. And I would also say that now, I’m envious of people who can create things out of thin air, like Eric. 

Q: Do you want to make a basket some time?
Tripp: Mostly “yes” than “no”. But I lack patience. But I am interested.

Q: Now for Eric’s favorite question—What annoyed you this week?
Tripp: After loading all your stuff from mom and dad’s, discovering that there was twice the amount of stuff in the basement as well! The other thing that annoyed me is that you are far superior than me on multi-player solitaire.
(tee hee)

Three Canoes and a Rowboat

Eric’s step-dad Bruce restores old wooden boats — for a living and for pleasure. So we got a tour of his latest projects out in his workshop. You never know what he’s currently working on in the shop, but this week it is three canoes and a rowboat.

Sometimes he gets total basket cases of a project, like this green canoe. Other times, it’s more simple repairs or minor changes because his client just wants to take the boat out on the lake for some fishing.


The green canoe above is a wooden 1936 Old Town canoe with gunnels to fit the curve of the bow. Picture on right is the same canoe but with a new deck.


This 1922 Kennebec canoe on left is pictured without the canvas and outer gunnels. He’s been inserting new planking on top where they all rotted out. The “basket case” of a canoe (right top) is a 1905 Old Town made for Abercrombie & Fitch. The medallion represents a special order from Old Town for Abercrombie & Fitch who they had a contract with.

Other image is Mr. Basketmaker checking out his meticulous craftsmanship on the inside of the canoe. I would think that basketmaking and boatmaking have many similarities in terms of attention to detail and high skill.



Above image is a row boat made by the E.M. White Canoe Co. in the 1930’s.

Thought you would enjoy work from another craftsman. I love seeing what other people do for a living — especially unique professions such as a wooden boat restorer. And having him as my father-in-law is a bonus! I enjoy being surrounded by creative people.