You Can Taste The Irony

This morning I posted an essay commemorating five years of blogging, implying trouble free hosting by WordPress.  Which, up until some time today, was an accurate description.  But sometime during the day, for reasons and by which means I am utterly clueless, that posting got moved in my history to May 29(!), making it invisible to any viewers unless they searched back more than two weeks.  It just disappeared.

According to my WordPress dashboard, it is as though the posting never happened.  But I know it did because I got a very kind comment in response, and the time notation on the Comment was within minutes of my posting time.

Anyone got any ideas about what happened?

Because I am either stubborn or principled I am reposting this morning’s blog.


Taking Note of 5/900

In the past week or so the website/blog passed two milestones; five years of blogging and 900 blog posts (actually this is literally the 900th post).  I guess if nothing else I’ve got some stick-to-it-iveness and perhaps more to say than I first thought while living the dream of hermitude, homesteading, and craft.

Originally this was going to be an occasional post about some activity or other, but apparently it morphed into something else without me even planning it that way.  I have not taken a vow of verbosity, but as long as this amuses me it will continue.  I have now fallen into the routine of posting something almost every weekday — unless occupied with someone, something, or somewhere else — juggling informational content of several threads running parallel and simultaneously.  The non-linearity of the postings is mostly in response to my own tendency to boredom or my putative ADD (Mrs. Barn insists I have it, I contend that I am merely hyper-curious).

I recall a chat with Chris Schwarz over dinner with the FORP I group several years ago in southern Georgia about this blogging thing.  As the dinner progressed I commented on the incongruity of using methylcellulose as an adhesive to hold breading onto frozen fishsticks and onion rings, as a thickener for paste paint stripper, and as a filler for candy bar nougat.  “There you go,” he said.  “That’s a blog post.”  Who knew?

The blog posts have chronicled the ups (HO Studley book and exhibit, the Roubo franchise, conservation projects, replicating historic furnitureall the little discoveries while in the shop) and downs (broken bones, broken pipes, ongoing battles with critters discontented with the landscape and intent on eating Mrs. Barn’s gardens) but mostly the fairly mundane and whimsical observations of trying to bring order and productivity to a big barn and carve out a congenial life four hours from the city.

The regularity of both the blog posts and the site traffic was established early on.  By three months into the enterprise I was posting three to four times a week, then eventually the current five or six.  Visitorship has remained faithful and loyal, reliably and stubbornly unchanging over the past 4-1/2 years.  A typical weekday draws roughly 375 folks, of which you must be one, and once in a rare while attracts another hundred or even two hundred for reasons that remain opaque to me.  Weekends are about a hundred fewer than week days.  To be truthful I am not sure how to read the stats for the site, but I do not worry about it.  Too much.

If this were nothing more than some sort of a self aggrandizing ego trip I would be concerned by this failure of the site traffic to grow, I suppose, but instead I see the blog as a two-fold undertaking, neither of which includes counting visitors obsessively.  The first thing is to simply practice writing well and quickly, and I have definitely noticed a change in the way I approach this.  Rather than taking a Twitter/Instagram/post-literate grunts-and-phrases approach I write a brief article almost every day, generally in about a half hour, complete with compound sentences and, hopefully, fairly standard syntax and grammar.  I tend to keep thirty or forty blog posts in varying states of completion waiting my further ministrations before posting, and much to my surprise and the lamentations of other bloggers I have yet to run out of ideas.  (I once undertook the challenge of writing a political column twice a week for a full year in response to a friend’s grousing about him doing so for income; it turned out to be during the Monica Blewclintsky business so the columns practically wrote themselves).  Second, I’ve got a lot of stuff kicking around between my ears and blogging allows me to jettison that and fill up the newly emptied brain space with new knowledge.  I truly believe that when you lose the passion for learning, knowing, and doing, you start dying.  When I look at the culture around us, I feel like Haley Joel Osment in “Sixth Sense.”  I see dead people.

I still have lots of plans for the site and the blog.  Videos.  New furniture and conservation projects.  Technique tutorials.  Reviving the Shellac Archive.  Getting all my scholarly and popular press articles uploaded.  Finishing a furniture conservation text book and posting it on the site.  And maybe even serializing a thriller novel I’ve been writing since forever focusing on a derelict furniture conservator in the hinterboonies who discovers a long-lost marquetry cabinet that holds the fate of western civilization within it.  The story interweaves the ateliers of 1760s Paris with the Vichy France of 1940, and today’s museum world of the Eastern U. S. megalopolis with life so far from the city that GPS does not work here.  I mean there.  (Mrs. Barn tells me I write fiction because I get to put words in everyone’s mouths.)

I’ll just close with thanks for those of you peeking over my shoulder, and for the real and virtual friendships I have formed as a result of  They are the true treasures.  How else would I ever count among my friends or correspondents, among many others, folks as far flung as a psychiatrist from Namibia, a ship’s master machinist from Denmark, a miniaturist in Moscow, a retired steel executive from Maryland, toolmakers from around the globe, and a beekeeper from North Carolina?

Thank you all for joining me on the adventure.  Regular blogging will now resume.