Election Day Bed

I spent Election Day in the shop making a pencil post bed as a distraction from the culmination of my combined worry and excitement for the returns of the day.The bed will occupy the ‘Outlaw’, our guest home/vacation rental where my parents will be living when they arrive next week from Philadelphia for an extended Thanksgiving stay. I’m using materials at hand and improvising the design around two complimentary motivators:

The first of these has to do with only using the tools that enable me to stay sharp but detatched at the same time, using my entire body in a simple gesture. Cutting long tapers on the bandsaw is a little like practicing Tai Chi combined with driving across Wyoming, and my thoughts can meander as my body tends to the work. Next I’ll hand plane the tapered surfaces and move on to cutting a ‘bead’ detail by hand on the rails. I will leave the wood raw with all toolmarks visible to avoid the toxic stress of sanding and finishing.

The second motivator is the feeling I want the bed to communicate, especially in light of the forward momentum of this most historic election and the waning legacy of ineptitude and cynicism in its wake. I want the bed to feel light and high, but also noble and solid in a minimalist way, using materials with an intentional frugality, whose mass and volume are suggested by the emptiness of the air around the bed. I want the lines to reflect a focused, loose hand in balance with the story of the grain of the wood, occasionally revealing the wane or live edge of a board to articulate a detail. I’d like the bed to conjure an early American rusticity informed by a more global awareness, primitive colonial with hints of African sculpture and French baroque.hotsquashsoup.jpghot squash soup on the walnut headboard

As I make the moves in my shop, I’m soothed by the smell of my hot squash soup simmering on the stove, and the blend of acorn squash, hot peppers, garlic and curry combines wonderfully with the rich overtones of white oak as it yields to the blade.

Hot Squash Soup

Bake one large or two small acorn squashes, sliced in half with pads of butter in the cavities, in the oven at 375 until tender. Scoop out the flesh and let cool. Chop one clove of garlic, one hot chile pepper and one banana pepper and saute over medium heat in olive oil and butter. After about 4-5 minutes add curry powder to the vegetables and stir the mixture thoroughly. Add the squash, blending it with the pepper and garlic, and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add 2 tablespoons of chicken broth and about a half teaspoon of salt, stir, cover the mixture and reduce the heat to let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Blend the ingredients in a blender and serve with a dollup of Greek yogurt and several sprigs of fresh cilantro.