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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Colder today, and windy - a little sun, a few snowflakes, and a lot more "normal" weather for February.  More "normal" winter to come, too, but then another warmup, so the roller coaster continues. The sun is dipping behind our hill and the temperature has dropped to zero.  It's going to be a cold, cold night.

I had an answer to my question about "do-tow-do."  Peter Dannenberg, of the Cabot Historical Society, sent this:
 Perhaps it is the French phrase "du Tow du," which translates as "of the tow." 

"In the textile industry a tow (rhymes with cow, unless referring to cellulose acetate which sounds like toe) is a coarse, broken fibre, removed during processing flax, hemp or jute. Flax tows are often used as upholstery stuffing, and tows in general are frequently cut up to produce staple fiber."

Peter reminded me we have lots of flax dressing tools on display at the Cabot Historical Society museum.  Here is a link to a site that describes the process of dressing, or "heckling" flax.  It is likely the merchants purchased the course flax from farmers and resold it to make sacking, a rough, loosely woven durable cloth, or perhaps for tinder or use in cleaning gun barrels.  It was also used as stuffing in chairs or mattresses.
This is a picture of one of the flax hackles (or heckles) at the Cabot Historical Society.  The process for making linen was very labor intensive, but since flax was fairly easy to grow, early settlers made good use of it.

We had a comment about the quote a couple days ago that I included about the unwanted species of fish introduced into the pond years ago.  That writer had said that Joe's Pond covers "approximately 1000 acres," and indeed, Joe's Pond is 396 acres.  That's a big difference.  I'll go back to the quote to be sure it didn't become flawed during translation.  In the meantime, I think the old timer who was writing that (in the Vermont Magazine, as I recall)  was pretty steamed about the trash fish getting into beautiful Joe's Pond, so he may not have paid attention to specifics.  
This picture was taken as the sun was setting on February 5th at our cousin's in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  Pretty, isn't it?

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