Pear trees, pair of doves and Paradox

Instead of a partridge in a pear tree and a pair of turtle doves,  how about paradox?  Living with opposing and parallel realities.

Every year the commercial holiday season is pushed into our lives earlier and earlier.  Using the internet multiplies the pressure to create something new and get it out to the buying public quickly and through as many media channels as possible.

Well, bah, humbug, I say IMPOSSIBLE to live a quiet, reflective life if one is pulled into that fast moving flood of design, market, sell,  sales, etc. etc. etc.

One can end up selling more than you expect, and I don’t mean merchandise.  Losing one’s mind and soul to the commercial holiday season is insane.

BUT (and here’s the rub of two realities) —

We love working and creating in the shop and we love our family and friends and want to gift them during this time of year. And we know that others love handmade, well -made, unique gifts.

So we join the hubbub of the marketplace, offering yet another choice, but hopefully one with a good story and out of  non-plastic materials that have been recycled for yet another life.

Whether or not you buy from us, or only read our words,

we wish you a creative, happy life that includes awareness of family, friends, and the natural world that enables us all to live and give.

P.S.  From Kathleen – – David gave me the opportunity to write as he is busy being Santa’s helper…but he also approved this message!

Alders, sunshine and Newts


Sometimes in the morning walking up from the shop I take the other path, a short straight one that intersects with the beginning of our long straight driveway off Doe Run Road.  Particularly when the sun is not behind the clouds– the alternative being common here this time of year–the straight path catches more light.  This morning—yes!—the clouds were gone and walking up to the driveway,  an alder branch caught my eye.  Yesterday’s and last night’s rain had bent the branch down nearly to my head and the cluster of young leaves—less than an inch across—brought a wide smile to my life that moment (whether or not it showed on my face was no concern to me).  How many shades of pink and green and yellow there can be in one small space!  And that is just on one of the trails in these woods!  The rich man smiles again….

          A few days ago I came up the same way and nearly stepped on a three-inch newt slowly making his way across the driveway.  Slowly, but not without some grace.  Newts’ legs move in the same sequence that horses use when running– left front right rear, right front left rear—though very slowly.  I watched for a minute or two and knew that he was not intimidated by my presence, though I’m roughly 200,000 times larger than he. I’m well aware of another national Newt, though that one has a very noticeable sense of self-importance, unaware of thoughts and words much more profound than his own.  Ah, but this one on the road I like!  Not resisting the temptation, I picked up a twig and slowly put it in front of his eyes.  He stopped absolutely still.  So I ran the twig gently up and down his back.  Still still.  I left him shortly and went my way.  But coming back down the driveway some time later, he was still unmoved.  I may have unwittingly hypnotized him, though the next time down he was gone, no evidence that he had been squished by a tire.  Two newts gone.  Enough to make a rich man smile again…

Haakler HooK Hung in Greenpod


This weekend is the celebration of Earth Day…and we invite you to see our innovative and space saving Haakler HooK in the Greenpod at one of the featured sites on the Seattle 2012 Green Home Tour and Saturday Expo – April 21 & 22.  Follow the link for directions  or use your own skills to arrive at 4121 First Avenue South. Let us know what you think! Remember that we love to recycle wood and can make a custom style with a story that enhances the wood’s new life!

Growth! Green!

Hard not to wake early with the  post -equinox sun streaming into the bedroom windows.  The garden is converting the stored energy of the winter fallow, and we are eating greens and tender nettles from the forest.

All that  vibrant green energy is going to be used by both Kathleen and me, as the Haakler HooKs are moving out into the world.  Just got news last night that  Ann Raab and the very eco-green  GreenPod  wants to include the Haakler HooK in the show this weekend in Port Townsend. And then on to the big Seattle Home Show!  So I’m down to the shop to select the size, and Kathleen is pecking away at this blog, pretending to be me, readying the brochures, updating facebook and all that jazz! Thank you all for hanging onto the words about the Haakler HooKs!

Norwegian Vessel of knowledge

As I again look closely at that delicate gray-green moss on the alders along trail to the shop, I’m reminded of my fellow Norwegian (who really exists only in the joke I’ve told hundreds of times) who thought the world’s greatest invention was the thermos jug.  When asked why he thought so, he replied: “You put something hot in it stays hot, put something cold in it stays cold:  How does it know?”
Now the thermos jug doesn’t do for me what the moss does.   But my Norse friend, however, tickles my fancy.  He didn’t take physics in college like I did, so he’s free to immerse himself in the mystery: somehow that  jug must be alive and knows something! The thermos as a kind of intelligent creature that can easily tell the difference between hot and cold–and what to do in either case to keep it from becoming the other!  Absolutely amazing!  Now as far as I know, my friend never went to the library to check on the great inventions.  “Not knowing” didn’t make him curious .  Just the wondering was enoughfor him, but kind of tiring–and curiosity, you know, can drive you nuts.
But back to the moss…  It caught my attention because for a change I wasn’t thinking about the next thing to do when I got to the shop.  I wasn’t moving; I had actually stopped in my tracks.  And most of all, there were no words in my head to interrupt what my eyes were seeing, something absolutely beautiful that I  was unaware of ever having noticed before.  Minutes went by.
I’ve gradually been learning what a counselor advised me nearly thirty years ago: take one day at a time.  The trick is to focus on what is closest in front of us.    A day at a time, yes, but much more difficult to be completely in the moment! In my case, that day, it may have been the difference between thought mosses in my head and real, absolutely gorgeous moss growing in front of my eyes.  Enough to make me start to wonder about a lot of things.
If you are still wondering, let me know and I’ll tell you what the real deal is on thermos jugs.  And if you find one that really knows, I can put you in touch with my friend.

Norwegian vessel of knowledge

rolling thoughts gather moss…

spring moss on alder

Each day as I walk up or down the trail through the woods, the easiest thing to do is think about what comes next.  Is the finish dry on the vanity?  Did I leave my notebook at the house?  Do I have enough cherry quarter inch ply for the cabinet backs?  Which hooks do I need for Aaron’s coatrack?
The problem is that I’m thinking all that time, unavoidably with words, and I pay no attention to the marvelous wood world around me.  The incredibly tiny and delicate grey-green mosses on the alders.  The hint of red on the branch tips that suggest spring is really just around the corner.  I’m slowly  getting used to just looking, seeing, not thinking all the time (though the latter is exactly what I’m doing now).  Looking, breathing, listening on my trail may be as close as I come to anything like meditation.  Words aren’t adequate for some important parts of life.
My reading lately confirms that I’m not the only one who has that problem.  As subatomic physicists try to understand and describe what is the nature of this world– this universe–words fail.  In their absence, there is mathematics .  But there is also silence and wonder.  There is no end of mystery.
I’m heading down the trail right now for another look at that amazing alder moss….

Likes and loves

wooden hearts

The impulse to call this Wood Words probably came from deep in the seven decades of my life–and I can think of no two things that have defined my life more. From disassembled peach crates that turned into toys in our farmhouse basement to the cabinets, ornaments, houses–and now coat racks–that I have made since.  From mommadaddydickand jane to term papers, linguistic philosophy,  newspaper editing–and the letter I wrote that convinced Kathleen I would be worth meeting.
Wood and words have much in common.  Both can be distorted, embellished , combined in beautiful, memorable and– regrettably–ugly ways.  As essential as the handle of a bread knife or the preposition I am using in this sentence.   They both need to be nourished and cared for; indigenous languages and tropical forests die easily.
Valentine’s Day is this week.  It brings up a complicated word.  Who do I ‘love‘?  Should I send cards with ‘love’ and heart shapes on it?  Do I just really ‘love’ one person and , so there is no  misunderstanding, do I make ‘like’ heart shapes for everyone else?  Some words are difficult.  Like  a piece of walnut with crazy grain patterns around a knot, bark still left–but one edge smooth sanded and rubbed with bee’s wax!
I equivocated and went to the shop, found a thick chunk of Tennessee cedar, cut out some heart shapes, sliced them up thin on the band-saw, smoothed them on one of the belt sanders and I was done.  Sweet smelling wood and ambiguity go well together sometimes.
If you ‘liked’ reading this, I’d ‘love’ to hear from you.

what’s the point?

What’s the point? For all time, humans have been asking that question about life and work. And being human, I , too have been contemplating as I walk through the path cut by our son Aaron through the alder and pines, down the hillside and to the back approach to my shop.  The pictured point shown here was handmade by other son Haakon, exploring what amazing things can be done with the right simple tools, the human mind being essential to both the trail and arrowhead.


Carl Grove | January 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm

What’s the point? How would our world be different if we acted on the idea that the point was to love, and to glorify our creator? Love the creator, love our neighbors, love ourselves – I don’t mean be infatuated with; don’t equate loving with appeasing. When I look at the work of some crafters in centuries past I’m in awe at the quality they produced. Some of them saw their work as glorifying their creator. I wonder if that gave them freedom to excel. When I see the work on these pages I think the creator must be happy that the creation is so creative. Maybe it’s the same when a farmer cares for the land, a teacher cares for the student, a leader cares for ‘the’ people. Maybe the creator is pleased.
DoeRun Studios | January 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Ah, but how many points are there? The ones on my pencils that trace the lines to cut out coat hooks. The ones on the table saw blade that rips smoothly through alder lumber to make the standards that hold the hooks. The miniscule ones-bits of sand–embedded on cloth, clamped to the sander that cuts through the band-saw marks. Then, of course, the really big ones that you mentioned! Thanks for helping to make the point!
Susan | January 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

So nice to read what’s on your mind. Looking forward to more of same.
DoeRun Studios | January 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thanks for taking the time…friendship is one of the center points of our life! Be well…and well read!


Solstice, the darkest time of year. Good opportunity to think and write…


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