Handcrafted Goods

Here is one of the great things about living in California:  wine.  Lots of it.  So much that when you go looking for a half barrel planter at your local hardware store, it’s a true half barrel.

Oak wine barrel

This one came from Fetzer and had a variety of wines soaking in it for ten years before it got sawn in half and sent to a Home Depot in San Diego.  Rather than some simulated plastic crapola, this half barrel is a true piece of craftsmanship, made by the Mendocino Cooperage.  It shows the beauty in well-made utility.

Barrel rivets

The second great thing today is courtesy of the coffee roasting company a block from my office.  They give out free burlap sacks that accumulate in their roasting room as they receive beans from around the world.  Here’s one I got yesterday.

Rwandan coffee sack

This is probably the only “Made in Rwanda” stamp I’m every likely to see.  When I think of the long path this burlap sack has made, a circuitous filigree stretching halfway across the world and ending on my front lawn, I imagine cool green mountains, rusting cargo holds, pallets baking in the sun on a dockside in Dar es Salaam, and coffee-stained hands reaching in to touch green beans the color of jade.

  1. Anonymous said:

    Hm. Seems to me this would be more evocative if the sable elixir from those beans DIDN’T send you into fits of rage when people brew it near you. Luckily those of us who still — as Call put it — drag on the teat are usually so under-caffeinated that your fits barely register.

  2. [sigh] It’s not the sable elixir that sends me into fits of rage, it’s the sad devotion to the ancient and hokey religion of grinding the beans, putting the beans in a paper funnel, stimulating the beans with hot water, adjusting the bean water with milk and sugar, blowing on the bean water because it’s too hot, microwaving the bean water because it’s too cold, then spilling the bean water on the center console of your car and screaming profanities.


    P.S. Will some scientist please make coffee taste as good as it smells. That is all.

  3. But my sad devotion HAS helped me locate the hidden Rebel base, and conjured up — EECCHH! GRNGGH!

    My morning coffee ritual is a holy rite and is not to be trifled with by the profane bleatings of the unconverted.

    However, the self-congratulatory and theatrical protestations of drama-loving cup-spillers are duly noted!

    Coffee. Black. In a ceramic mug. Sunrise. And all is right with the world.

    Arcane ritual is not all bad, either: think of bronze screws and the sweet curlings of vertical-grain cedar. The 1-2-3-5-8-13 curve of an uncoiling fern repeated in the bending roofline of a temple. The paintbrush dipped in ink and drawn across the page.

    The, uh, sheep and bumblebees, no … knees … Hats, cloversss…

    Time for more cofree.

  4. Ahh…bleatings you say? Of course, it’s my old nemesis B. McGillicuddy! Are you still working on your steam-powered mantrap, or the fire-breathing bicycle? Your nefarious plans will never work. NEVER!

  5. Po said:

    I agree with Batman. Morning coffee=All is right with the world.

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