Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Ruth Loop.

My wife Janis and I took a trip out to Ruth to an estate sale. We came back with a truck load of wool string. She has a bunch of sophisticated names for it but it's string.


While we were there I found this piece that I have depicted, what the heck is it?
It is hand carved, it is made out of White Oak. You can see where it was adzed and rasped. The workmanship is impresive. The two legs were rotted from being on the dirt. The hole through it appears like it supported a pry stick of some kind. (wild guess) The head was spoon shaped, there was a back slanted notch just below the through hole. The back side leaning against the white frame was perfect rasped into a radius. The space between the legs (for lack of a beter term) was radiused and rasped smooth also.
Oh... I found it beside an old blacksmith shop.
?????











34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Back to more familiar topics ... and not a moment too soon, although I, for one, did enjoy the weigh-ins from those who do not frequent these blog entries but on rare occasion. Nothing like a spirited little discussion about the roots of our creation to bring out the venomous best in us.
Now that we’ve holstered our firearms, I vote we give the Best Entry Award for Ernie’s last post to …. Chris Crawford. (Yay, Chris!) Carson Park Ranger could’ve won if it was called the Golden Skewer Award. (Keep railing against those darn Christians, Ranger.) As for Suzy? Well, it’ll still be awhile before we worship at the feet of Her Clever Omniscience … and keep working on that dyslexia thing, ma‘am. (Ma’am … I use the term loosely.)

Back to topic, and I’m quoting Ernie: “The space between the legs was radiused and rasped smooth also.” I knew a gal like that once. (No … twice!) I wasn’t sure until you added the “white-framed backside” and “through-hole” part. Your arousing terminology was muted somewhat by the accompanying pictures.
Seriously, I’m glad you & Janis had a safe outing to Ruth & back on that treacherous road, Ernie. (R.I.P., Jubal Tuey - June 26, 2009)
With regard to your mission statement about life in Humboldt and surrounding counties, does anyone recall how “Ruth” became the namesake of a town and lake? (Google won’t help.)

Ernie Branscomb said...

I admit that I'm clueless, or should I say "Ruth"less. I don't know what the wood thing is either.

All I know is my wife has a truckload of string.

I called it the "Ruth Loop" because we went through Alton, out 36, and came back through Hettenshaw Valley.

Dave Kirby said...

According to Erwin G. Gudde's ." California Place Names" , a handy and interesting book, the place was named for Ruth McKnight, the daughter of a local pioneer family. Trinity County roads are far better maintained than Humboldt's. How do they do that with a much smaller tax base than Humbodlt? According to Gudde's book Branscomb was named for Ben Branscomb who "shot three bear in one tree December 1900."

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Kirby. Ben was my 3G grandfather. Grampa was a real sweetheart, killing bears like that and all. Gramma Jane was well known for being the best Huckleberry pie maker in the country. She wouldn't use any thing but bear fat for her pie crusts.

Ben and Jane were made for each other. They made tons of kids, and their happy family lives on.

My 2G Grandfather, Bob Poe, was known for killing a deer and eating the whole thing himself in one day. He was a big man, but I would have liked to have witnessed that myself. The old timers were a lot like Texans. Their accomplishments got bigger each time that they talked about them. That doesn't say anything about myself, of course.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I was hoping Ben could tell us how Hettenshaw Valley got it's name.

suzy blah blah said...

I knew a gal like that once. (No … twice!)

Ew! some folks sure have nasty habits...

But thats OK, a little positive vibration can always clear the air, as well as the blogospere. Ommmmm....

But dont get me wrong, Suzy does not ask or expect that anyone worship at the cloven footnote* of my OMscience... i only request that you realists etc. and any of you others out there who arent confused about whats a tool and whats a master, please, --pretty pretty please-- refrain from hitting poor little Suzy with your big bad hammer of reality. i assure you im real, or im not real, whatever yuo want to hear i will confess to it... just please please, please dont hit me with that hammer -ouch! hey, ouch ocuh! ouch...

* fortunately --Suzy has the medicine to cure reality

Ernie, i hope this doesnt spoil the mysterious enchantment that your object d' couriosity exudes, but to Suzys dislimbic eye she looks a lot like Venus, the goddess of Love, and she is a very bueatiful find, but now you should get busy in your workshop and give her some wooden arms to huggle with... and maybe some pretty string for hair ;o)

Ommmmmm
s

Dave Kirby said...

Hetten was a mining town named after the Wintu word (xetin) wihich was their word for the Camass. Hettenshaw means camass sing as the plants were said to do in that area...Gudde

Anonymous said...

That object is a flush-end brace bodkin. It's missing the fulcrum piece,though.

We knew it as a Currier's trammel hook up in the Klamath-Trinity region. It's used in sluice boxes to hold the screen in place when the water pressure was too great.

You're looking at circa-1870's, maybe 1880's. Long after the gold panners had left, the sluice miners came in...just before the hydraulic mining came into popularity.

It would make sense if that second attachment was in place.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that last one was from me.

-Ekovox

Ben said...

Hey Eko, Great call... I knew it all along but we needed a little suspense.
Just kidding, of course. I thought it might be one of those staves (I forget the name ) used to work hides to limber them up.
Hetten and Ketten mean the same thing in Wintu. The guy who did the Indian names in the latest Gudde was William Bright a brilliant linguist and place name aficionado. He passed recently. Kekkawaka is a Wintu name also, so is Lassik. There is a theory that Penutian (Wintu) speaking people lived here before the Athabaskans (Wailaki) moved in and the newcomers kept some of the names. Here's something I didn't know. Tom Keter says that previous to the Athabascans, there were no bows, only spears. That the sinew backed bow came with the later group. Went up to Kettenpom to hear Tom speak yesterday. It was great. He has a book published by the Forest Service that is really fine. The old ranchers out around the North Fork think Tom is the real deal. They respect him and that's something coming from those guys. A lot of nice people out there and they have a great firehouse. What were we talking about anyway? Oh, I guess I'm on topic, sorta.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Eko, We don't have much gold mining equipment around here. So, I didn't have a clue... What else is new.

If somebody values this thing, they had better say so quickly, because I think it is going to go in the trash. I can contact the people. I'm sure they would want to see it saved if it had any historical value. One end is still in great shape. The forked end had been set in the dirt and is somewhat rotten.

If they had just put it under the building it would have been fine.

Anonymous said...

Ernie, you've been had. Remember, you invented the term bullshistory.

I haven't a clue what that moss covered piece of wood is.
Who knows, maybe it's a clergyman's viewfinder. Or, a Danielson blivet. Or, I know, a McPulaski or a shoveldad. Maybe...it's a blogdrivel. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Ha! Klamath-Trinity wins again! Eat that, SoHum! You'll have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat us at your own game of bullshistory.

-Ekovox (tears rolling down his face, clutching his stomach, rolling around on the floor in full guffaw)

Anonymous said...

Ernie and Ruth went for a ride in
a carriage.
They hit a bump.
Ruth hit a tree.
And Ernie kept going, ruthlessly.

-Ekovox
Still screaming with fits of laughter, trying to catch his breath almost peeing his pants with delight)

Ernie Branscomb said...

Good one!

I read Eko's post three times, the first time it sounded pretty phony, the thought occurred to me that I was being had, so I read it again, The second time I started remembering all of Ekovox's historical background and knowledge, and it started to sound more like it could be the truth. I read it the last time and I thought “oh my God it's a historical treasure”.

I jumped up from my computer and went out on the deck where Janis was fondling her newfound hoard of string and excitedly explained the whole thing to her. I got the peoples phone number from her and almost called them, but the smell of rat was heavy in the air, and just like any smart reporter, I decided to wait for more corroboration.

So, I decided to wait until morning. Got, Not!

Anonymous said...

Janis said:

Ballony, he bit hook STRING and sinkler. You got him Ekovox, and he deserves it!

Thanks, Janis

Ben said...

Ernie... Tell Janis Tui wants to know what kind of sheep made that string.

spyrock said...

what came to me first was that the object was some kind of tuning fork or divining rod to find water but i know ernie would never believe that but because i'm a plumber's son, i know that some of the old water faucet handles are too big and too hard to turn very easily by hand. my dad used to make an object like that out of metal one of which i still use to turn on the sprinklers in the front yard of his old house. obviously they would stick the forks in the sprinkler head and there was another piece that fit through the holes making a tee and giving them leverage and they could open and close those old water lines easier.

olmanriver said...

Too much fun!
thanks for the segue spy....
Any chance of Ernie confirming which of his relatives was a water diviner? Pert near sure I read it.

Omr said...

My guess is that it is a wagon wheel "jack", the two prongs could lever lift the wheel to a height determined by that notched hole notching into a notched vertical post that is missing.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Tui
Janis says her string is made from sheep that the lady raised on the ranch. It is merino, corriedale, and something else, It is "single ply" and is wrapped onto large paper mache cones. The lady shipped her fleece to a processor to have it cleaned and spun.

When I asked Janis what could be done with it, she said that “You can do anything with it, crochet, knit, weave... just don't get into it!”. I guess she thinks that I'm not qualified to talk to about it.

The one thing that I'm sure of, is there is way to much wool string there for her to ever use herself. It's like me finding a river of beer. It must be frustrating for her to know that she can never make all of that fuzz into anything.

From what I saw, the strings were mostly blue, gray, brown, and that creamy sheep color.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Omr
It is also my guess that it must have something to do with wagons. It was extremely well made. The workmanship was very fine and detailed, it was all carved, chisled, and rasped into it's final shape. It belongs in a museum.

Ernie Branscomb said...

If you look at the first photo, what doesn't show well is that the back was perfectly radiused. The top was like the back of a spoon, the keystone hole, just below that was a back-slanting notch, then the perfect concave radius. The side view leaning against the 2ft x 4ft skylight was supposed to show that, but I didn't choose my background well.

omr said...

it is probably too smooth to be what i said...i was just trying to show our northern bumpkins we got brains down here too. maybe i should let someone else do that tho...

Anonymous said...

Whew...still chuckling this many hours later....

I will agree with the wagon implement. Perhaps a jack of some kind. Or, could it be a brake?

-Ekovox

Anonymous said...

I must confess that I don't know what radiused means Ernie?

Robin Shelley said...

I thought it might have something to do with a plow or a wagon... then Eko threw me off with all his BS gold-mining jargon... definitely got me!

What I find interesting now, though, is that Ernie was willing to give it away or throw it away at 8:38 last night. Now he's admiring the fine detailing & workmanship of the thing & practically calling it a museum piece! (-:
Eko, I think it could be yours for a few hundred dollars...

Ernie Branscomb said...

Darn it Robin, I was working up to that. It would make a good ol' sohum payback to sell that stick to Ekovox.

ROSS SHERBURN said...

if one of our grandfathers were around,he'd laugh at us,for not knowing what it is!!!!

Robin Shelley said...

Oops!

Aunt Janet said...

It's yarn, Ernie. I don't know why some of you guys like to belittle our fiber arts. Another local guy calls it spinny weavy s**t. Do you like to have your hobby for which you are passionate put down by others? I doubt it. Please try give respect for Janice's skills, and her passion for her fiber arts. It is important!

Helpful Anon said...

The Ruth Loop is the darndest weaver trick, it involves a left twist of the wrist while holding the yarn between forefinger and thumb while you move the skein up and down across the loom.
I am just trying to take up a little blog time while Aunt Janet takes Ernie out behind the barn.

Spinning from a little ginny said...

I think it is very unfair that you (Ernie) get no credit for all the yarns you have spun!

Hans said...

God I love this blog! Thanks Ernie and Suzie and Ekovox. You guys are great!

Carson Park Ranger said...

Eko totally had me thinking, "wow, he must have really paid close attention to local history and ancient technology when he was growing up."