Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Think Globally, Deplete Locally

According to the American Farmland Trust, topsoil depletion is a serious problem for U.S. agriculture. Although it's a quieter problem than, say, war, losing topsoil faster than it's being created has serious, long-term implications. Goodness knows, I hope that the current war, at least, doesn't last as long as agriculture. While I can't do much globally, I can support farmers who grow organically and practice good topsoil conservation, and support groups who work to change agricultural practices toward more sustainable models. This is a worldwide problem, so no matter where you are, there are local ways to help.

However, in my corner of the world, I know where the topsoil is going.

Down my sink.

That's separate from the portion that is going down the drain from the washing machine, and the portion I'm sweeping up in unconscionably frequent intervals from my floor, and the portion the baby is probably ingesting while sliming across the floor.

Why, you ask, is so much of this nice sandy loam (when I garden -- if I ever garden again -- it feels like soft cake crumbs. This is niiiiice soil) now in my house, rather than in my back yard?

The answer, according to the Things, is Japan and the Koreas. And while I have to laugh and give them points for a) knowing that Japan is a series of islands and b) that the Koreas are, first, two, and second, near Japan, their geography is still a little off.

See? Neither North nor South Korea is actually an island. Never mind that Asia isn't actually in my yard, either. For my little hydraulic engineers/mapmakers, those are the countries they've created.

Digging, planning, naming, riding their bikes through, and generally enjoying the Far East outside is buying me loads of knitting time. Time which, it is true, I pay for in sweeping and mopping, but stitches on the needles nonetheless.

Which leads me to my Theory of Sweater Hatred. I like the planning of a sweater, like swatching and choosing yarn, starting it. Heck, I really like talking about it. And I like knitting it. Up to a point.

That point being when I have completed 1.3 sleeves. Then I begin to resent the sweater. Dully at first, maturing into a white-hot loathing when it becomes clear that no matter how much I talk about a sweater, nothing will finish it until I pick up the needles and knit it done.

Because this is a round-yoked sweater, I'm hating ahead of time, because that yoke is going to take more time than usual. See how sneaky they can be? The variegated yarn should hold my interest. Fortunately, mothering has lowered my excitement threshold considerably. "Ooooh, magenta! Blue! Now it's purple!"

I really want to get that sweater done. It doesn't matter what the sweater is, I haven't ever wanted one to take longer than it did. Partially I'm impatient to see if my vision worked, if it's a design I made up myself. Partially I want to get on to the next project. Partially I want the pleasure of seeing it draped around the recipient. If it's one of the Things getting it, I want to see how long it lasts before it's unceremoniously dropped on the floor.

With the topsoil.

No comments: