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Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How long is your needle?

Many of you know that I’m pretty good when it comes to bird stuff, but I also revel in learning something new each day.  Well, today was an adventure in learning for me.  My friend, Jack, arrived in the area last night, and our mission for today was to find him some more long leaf pine needles to bolster his supply for making pine needle baskets.  I figured we would just go out on the Dee’s Nature Trail and rake up a bunch of long leaf pine needles and be done with it.  Jack’s verdict was, “Not so, Grasshopper, we need fresh green needles greater than 12” in length.”   After mumbling under my breathe a minute, my response was, “Yes, Sensei (sp?).” 

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Before we left on this little adventure, Jack showed me three of the baskets that he had already made.  It is an old Native American skill for using materials at hand.  These small baskets are beautiful and quite intricate.  Back in the day, they were woven together with animal sinew.

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Then he presented me with this little basket as a gift.  This basket represents eight hours of work after the needles are prepared for weaving by drying and then boiled in glycerin for 4-6 hours.  These particular pine needles came from north Florida.

After checking in with Doug, at headquarters, for some good places to look for needles, we were on our way.

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After about 30 miles or so, we pulled over at several spots and Jack whipped out his tape measure.  Jack is very discerning.  Thinking smile (read: picky about his needles)

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This bunch qualified for his acceptance; averaging about 16”.  He only takes a small handful from each tree so as not to harm these young trees.  It was a challenge for me to change my perspective from scouring the habitat for birds to judging the length of pine needles as we drove along.  What a hoot for me!

IMG_6024This bough didn’t cut the mustard.  Could you tell that driving down a road?  Jack could.  By the end of our search, I did find a tree or two that was acceptable.  Not sure how that will help my resume.  Smile

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Heading back toward home, we made a short detour to the Pecan House. (I thought it was called the Nut House)  Since my granddaughter Avery will be visiting in a week or so, I needed to stock up on some honey roasted pecans for her.  She fell in love with them when I brought some with me to Indiana last summer.  I tried to get a picture of Jack exiting from the quaint outhouse on the left, but it turned out blurry since I was giggling while I took the picture.

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Since it was way past lunch as we returned from our excursion, we stopped at The Shed for some Bar-B-Que on the way home.  I’ve shown pictures of this dive before.  Jack had the brisket (on the left), and I had the spare ribs.  If you like Bar-B-Que, this place is tasty.

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I’ve put in an order with Jack for one of these baskets using slices of black walnut for the center and handles.  He has said that he will use the needles from Mississippi that we collected today to make it.  Cool beans!  Now, if I could just find some real animal sinew for him to use to weave it…

I’ve got a packed van for the crane tour tomorrow.  Hopefully we’ll be successful.  Jack will be a key player in this tour as I’ve asked him to be in charge of opening all the locks to the gates we have to go though… (Winking smile)

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

35 comments:

  1. I have this feeling that this is a trick question:)

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  2. I love those little baskets, they are so cute.

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  3. I love Jack's baskets. He does neat work, looks very time consuming. Have fun tomorrow.

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  4. And Judy learned to spot 16" needles from 100 yards away. Super Woman eyes.
    The baskets do take time, but being insane helps.

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  5. What an artist you are, Jack! Thanx for sharing, Judy.

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  6. What beautiful baskets...and using all natural things from the forest...People who do this are few and far between...and you are so lucky to get even a small basket...But the big one...that would be a real boon...I would pay whatever he wanted for one of those...so rare, that kind of beauty...What a great day with Jack...and what a fabulous artist...

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  7. those are lovely baskets!..so intricate!!

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  8. The baskets are exquisite! How long does it take him to make a medium sized one? I would love to learn how to make them, but I have never been exactly creative when it comes to making things.

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  9. Jack is a true artist. The baskets are stunning. How fun that you got to find pine needles for your own basket. The lunch looks yummy.

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  10. Key player, eh? Opening locks? Very punny.

    Smiles,
    Emjay

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  11. So, Jack's gift makes you a basket case???

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  12. Fantastic baskets. Jack has real talent. And how nice for you to have a visitor to spend some time with you.

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  13. Beautiful baskets, Jack! I had no idea that it took so long to make each one--truly a labor of love.

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  14. Those baskets are absolutely beautiful.

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  15. What a wonderful gift! Jack's baskets are beautiful - I've never seen one with a walnut shell in the center. Very cool!

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  16. Lovely baskets ... I can see why you placed an order for the one in the last picture.

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  17. That's a beautiful basket with the walnut center. Sounds like way too much work for me though.

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  18. What a talent, those baskets are beautiful!

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  19. Beautiful craftsmanship, Jack. That tiny basket should fit perfectly in Judy's home. A wonderful, thoughtful gift.

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  20. A tisket a tasket, Judy's gonna get a new basket.....

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  21. Judy, you lucky lady! I love Native American baskets and Jack makes some
    beautiful pine needle versions!
    Does he sell them or just makes them for gifts?

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  22. I watched these baskets being made. It is very interesting but not something I would have the patience for.They are so beautiful. Enjoy yours.

    Sure did have an adventure today and that food sure looks tasty

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  23. The baskets are stunning! I am a huge fan of Long Leaf Pines. To my eye, they are the most beautiful of all the southern pine varieties.

    John and Ellen
    connectedtothevinephotography.blogspot.com

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  24. First time visiting. A friend sent me your link. I also make pine needle baskets. I love it! Jacks does an excellent job on his baskets. I just did a blog on my baskets that I gave for Christmas. If you would like to see them, please visit
    http://wheresweaver.blogspot.com/2012/01/baskets-baskets-and-more-baskets.html

    Enjoy your day. ~wheresweaver

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  25. As all the others have said those baskets are gorgeous...8 hours to make..huh...would take me 8 days and would look like a 6 year old made them. And yes Judy you can use this on your resume....how many can say the have been successful at finding a needle not just in a haystack by a whole refuge.

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  26. Perfect Day in my opinion ! You are very blessed to live the life you do. Does he teach his wonderful art?
    Just BS! (Bob and Sue)

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  27. Like everyone else has said - great looking baskets.

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  28. I feel like I've gotten here late to the party. But I just have to echo and say those baskets are gorgeous. Lucky you, you will have TWO.

    I'm so glad to see that you fed the basket weaver well and to know that such a fine art is not lost like so many others.

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  29. Great craftsmanship in those baskets. Really beautiful.

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  30. I admire the workmanship and art in the baskets... lovely! I tried weaving baskets (once) and became convinced they are intense and complicated and drive me NUTS~! Perhaps that is why the old stigma of basket weaving in the nut house... job preservation! LOL ... (just kidding folks)

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

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  31. I have woven many baskets from reed and a few from willow but I have not learned the art of pine needle baskets. They are beautiful works of art and he is talented. I love them and so appreciate basketweavers.

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  32. Thank you soooo much for posting the baskets. Wow, they are beautiful! So cool on your gift too. It would make a perfect popourri basket! Or be just cute hanging around somewhere. Paws off of it Emma! ;-)

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  33. I went to high school in Elton, La with kids from the Coushatta Indian tribe. Members of the tribe made baskets similar to these from long leaf pine cones.

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