Friday, 20 September 2013

Jeweler or Farmer?

September 20

Bet you thought I'd givien up blogging ;-) Nope; just busy.

When we lived on the river, my gardening chores took a few minutes every day or two. Now that we have all this land (well, a bit of land), I find tending the garden is taking a lot of time. It's not that I hate gardening but it sure messes with my DixSterling activities.

Sterling Circle Earrings

I've been working on this pair of earrings -- off and on -- for several days now. The design is not hard to fabricate and the end result is quite charming (I made a pair for myself a couple of years ago and wear them frequently). The photo shows the elements.

I start by punching out two pairs of sterling circles. These are 3/4 inch and 3/8 inches in diameter. I use the 3/8 punch to cut a crescent in the circumferance of the larger circles to admit the smaller ones. A length of fine wire, soldered to the large circle, and another of fine tubing, soldered to the small circle, create a hinge mechanism. Before soldering, I use a riveting hammer to texture the surface of the larger circles and take a moment to put my jeweler's mark on the back or each. Also before soldering, I use many grades of sandpaper to pre-polish the surfaces. Once the elements are as finished as I can make them before assembling the pieces, I slip the wires through the tubes and solder the wire ends to the tips of the crescent cuts. Add sterling silver posts and they are ready for final polishing. All in, the creation of these probably takes about seven hours (most of that is sanding and polishing time). So, I should be able to make a pair in one day, right?

The Harvest is In

One reason the jewelry making is so slow is the vegetable garden. Here, posing beside the unpolished earrings, are four of my perfectly ripe, utterly delicious, cherry tomatoes. The actual harvest has been a couple of brimming quart baskets of these plus about the same of large tomatoes. Then there were the zucchinis. 'Nuff said about them.

So, I've been busy weeding, watering and harvesting. It all takes time. Also, with so much food ripening all at once, I have been making zucchini breads and muffins. I am about to make some tomato and onion relish with some of the larger ones. The little gems are delicious for a lunch salad. I just cut them in half, top with feta cheese and sliced basil, drizzle on the olive oil and season with fresh-ground salt and pepper. It's a lunch I invented to serve to distant relatives who joined us for lunch in a tiny village in the south of France years ago. That lunch is not only delicious, it brings back happy memories.