The Luddite Worker

An oldie but goodie I forgot about, this is a Travel story I originally printed in The Luddite Worker #3.  I’ve lost most of that material since went down for what seems like the count at this point.  Luckily I posted this on Squat the Planet when I was briefly addicted to that website.

Courtship Luddite-Hobo Style

In the fall of 2008 I was smitten by a crush I had on a Fellow Traveler I met while WWOOFing on a seed farm in Virginia.

One night she was spinning yarn with short fibered, colored cotton we were removing seeds from, with a drop spindle she had made with a potato and a chopstick. Need I write more?

Being mostly a hobo from the midwest, I started talking with her about wool and flax, the two locally produced fibers I had experience with. I lent her a ‘zine on growing flax and processing it into linen, and offered to send her a sheep’s fleece next time I was back in the midwest.

Fast forward about a month and a half. While taking a break from husteling up a grub steak in Des Moines, I went to a New Years Eve party in the southern part of Iowa. There I met up with a friend from the Little Farm, and swapped To Inherit the Earth, a book about Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement and some packets of seeds for a sheep’s fleece. The only problem now was that it was filthy! I liked my crush enough to send her the fleece without asking for anything in return, but I didn’t like her enough to clean it myself.

I took my chances and went to a UPS store back in Des Moines with the fleece in a garbage bag. As my luck would turn out, I was stuck in line behind an atractive female, and the smell of wool and sheep crap coming from the fleece was punishing! I was worried she might think the smell was coming from my body, but she never even made eye contact with me, so it didn’t really matter, I guess.

I finally got up to the counter, and started lazily chewing the fat with the worker as they struggled to get the garbage bag into a box. After a few tries, what I was worried about happened. The worker started screaming, “What is this!?” as clumps of wool, sheep crap, dirt and straw literally poured out of the bag and all over the counter. Having been worried this would happen, I was prepared to act like I thought what I was doing was some how normal and/or okay.

“Wool! I told you it’s a sheep’s fleece!” I yelled back, motioning with my right hand like it was a pair of sheep shears. “It’s wool right off of the sheep!”

The worker regained their composure, and after helping clean up the mess, it was shipped off to Indiana, where my crush was staying with her sister. Later she sent me a thank you e-mail, while taking a break from cooking a pig’s head. The next time I had a steady mailing address, she followed up by sending my a bottle of ginseng tincture she had made, from the root of a plant she had grown while I was lumberjacking in the Missouri Ozarks, and she was working on a sheep dairy in Washington. She included a thank you note that said the fleece was beautiful, after it was washed.

Other things of interest:  cover art, and The Chiapas Project from The Luddite Worker #2worm bin composting tutorial from The Luddite Worker #3 Carlos Cortez reproductions silk screened from The Luddite Worker #4.


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