We are still digesting all the information that Rabbit Goody (Thistle Hill Weavers) fed us on our visit the day before yesterday.
The most riveting information is confirmation of a strong intuition I have had all along without any substantive proof:
It just HAD TO BE this way!—mechanical processing of bast fibers (flax and hemp) was done at the small watershed level with watermills whose remains today barely tell the story.
Why? I'm guessing that most of these small stream emplacements were wood. The metal gears would have been repurposed when the braking and scutching mills had been mechanized and linen on its way out. These mills were useful in the spring and fall when water ran in the creeks and streams. Rabbit also confirms that the grist mill was also used to process other commodities for the community, the mills itself being roughly equivalent to a electric plug in the wall.
It is a given that much of the processing of linen had to be done communally; we all observed the mural-type painting at the National Gallery of Art of a small community processing their flax.
We are on the right track, my friends.
We evolved for the last 12000 years in small, craft-based, agricultural communities.
The way out of the addictions of the Petroleum Era appears to be what Joanna calls the Turning,
a return to craft and agriculture as our bedrock, our comfy place.
Think about what you want to retrieve from the Petroleum Era.
It can all be machined with energy supplied from solar, wind, and water.
Do the math:
from the beginning of the Civil War (roughly when the Industrial Age overran our rural, handmade craft communities)
to today is only 150 years.
It looks bad up close.
It looks like what they call Armageddon.
At Passover, we dip our forefingers into the red wine to name the plagues one by one,
and throw the drops onto our plate.
I'm not naming them; we all know them.
We can pull out of this.
Let’s start to pull the threads together.
This is the life we want our grandchildren’s children to inherit.
Community, agriculture, craft.