This is a blog where we keep you all updated on what's new and what's timeless at Lloyd's Landing on South Twin Lake.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Museum of Bad Knife Design

Kitchen utensils are always interesting.  Archaeologists study them, women throw parties over them, and urban snobs collect them.  Lloyd's Landing holds three generations of utensils, so there are bound to be a few worthy notables in the drawers and cubbies.  Although one might write a PhD dissertation on the need for three generations to hang onto rusty egg beaters, the most remarkable feature of the collection has been the assortment of strange and badly designed knives.

Exhibit A in the collection is actually an ingenious design that Dave mistakenly took for bizarre and useless: the grapefruit knife: it's a little bit floppy and curves up at the end.  When we were young, my dad loved to demonstrate how exotic and worldly our family was by explaining that he had siblings in both Texas and California who shipped him fresh grapefruit.  That's right, we didn't just know people in faraway lands, we were related to them.  And to demonstrate how savvy we were to consumption of fresh produce, we ate our grapefruit on the half-shell, as it were, and delicately sliced the individual sections out with a grapefruit knife.  There is also a grapefruit spoon, serrated at the edge, which can serve the same purpose.

Truth be told, Uncle Harold probably delivered a crate of grapefruit from Texas once, and maybe Aunt Audrey brought a box with her on the one driving trip she made back to the midwest, but no matter.  It was the elegance of consumption that counted.

Exhibit B in our collection veers sharply into the category of useless and quite possibly dangerous.  Here is a single instrument that includes a grater, a slicer, a bottle opener, a serrated knife, a smooth edge knife, and some kind of creepy pinching mechanism at the tip.  The grater is too small to be helpful, and the slicer is too far from the handle to provide any level of accuracy.  And the blade is so thin and wide that neither side of the knife is ergonomically comfortable.  But it's a multi-tasker's dream, and that says it all about multi-tasking.

But the piece de resistance in our collection is Exhibit C: The Spife.  We can only hope that this was a Boy Scout project where the Scout Master spotted immediate trouble and confiscated the object before somebody got hurt.  I have to believe that no merit badges were awarded in the manufacture of this device.    With a long sharp blade at one end and a gentle little spoon at the other, it beckons the yogurt eater and fish cleaner alike.  Seriously, how many children lost an eye while eating their cereal with this thing?

On the advice of our insurance agent, The Spife was turned over to White Earth Sanitation.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Out Behind the Tool House

The Tool House has been a continual source of wonderment and fear.  It’s become a bit of a game to extract at least one odd object from the Tool House every time we make a run to the dump.  But the Tool House has always been a little bit scary—it’s definitely a place that makes you double check that your tetanus shots are current.

This year we ventured into the Tool House, determined to clean out enough space to store the windows and siding that were this year’s project.  For this job, we outfitted ourselves in long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy gloves.  Safety glasses and respirators would not have been overkill, but that didn’t become apparent until later.

I have marveled at the many uses for shelf paper in the cabin, but in cleaning the Tool House, we may have found the ultimate application of shelf paper.  As I pulled out a bunch of scrap wood, I noticed one plank that was probably once part of a bookshelf.  It looked slightly strange, and as I brushed the dust and mice droppings off it, I realized why: this perfectly fine plank had been covered in—wait for it—wood grained shelf paper!  Why cover wood with an artificial material made to look like wood?  Out of curiosity, I pulled the shelf paper off, and sure enough, the wood underneath it was just fine.  Clearly, shelf paper was the miracle product of the modern midcentury.

But the Tool House held other wonders of a bygone day.  When we dug deep enough to find the old workbench, we of course found a dozen glass jars full of rusty nails and screws, most of which conformed to no modern standards in either the metric or American measurement systems.  But there, nestled amongst former peanut butter and jelly jars, was a bottle of actual DDT.

Apparently the Diazinon is just as toxic and offensive to the average environmentalist.  We thought briefly of calling the EPA and asking how to properly dispose of these items, but we quickly concluded the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate living next to a Superfund site.  And as it turns out, White Earth Sanitation has a system for disposing of hazardous materials.    Later, more than one person suggested that we lost an opportunity to make some money on eBay or Craigslist, where DDT is in high demand.   I’ll pass on that opportunity any day.

By the end of the afternoon, we’d filled the trailer with junk and created a great space to store our siding and windows.  It will be interesting to see what the mice think of our efforts.  Many mouse homes were destroyed in the reclamation of the Tool House.  Hopefully the mice can go back in the forest where they belong.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Prepare to be Boarded

Welcome back!  This blog has been woefully neglected this year, not for a lack of content.  It’s been a busy and productive year at Lloyd’s Landing, so there is more than enough to talk about.

Last year we learned that our friends on the lake often thought about boating up to our dock, but never did because they couldn’t tell whether or not the folks they spotted on shore were us, or some renters.  This seemed a tragic shame, so we resolved to find a big, obvious way to letting our neighbors know we were on the lake. 

Neon was definitely inappropriate.  Flares are too brief.  Semaphores require too much thought.  Thankfully, the best option was already available: a sturdy flagpole is firmly planted on the waters’ edge.  So I spent a few winter nights surfing online flag sites, in search of the perfect representation of Andersons on the Lake. 

At first I thought I’d try a “design-your-own” flag site, but couldn’t find anything that didn’t require a lot of money and a bulk order.  Focusing on parrots and pirates, I found that many of the best designs are for the little flags that people hoist on the masts of their sailboats. 

Finally, I discovered a treasure trove of pole-sized pirate flags.  Pirate flags are relatively simple to choose: they are either red or black.  There are only two or three graphic designs, all centered around the skull and cross bones.  And given the purpose of our flag, the saying on the flag was obvious: Prepare to be Boarded.

So now when the Andersons are on the Lake, the flag is hoisted.  And any boats docking at Lloyd’s Landing will surely be boarded.