I don’t want to talk about the weather because this is my least favorite time of the year: With both ice and mud, it’s not winter or spring. Instead I’ve decided to answer my mail.
A little girl named Petunia wrote asking if we have electricity on the island of Fof.
Yes Petunia, we need electricity to run this computer! So Aki built a bicycle that powers the computer. In order to use the computer, another Fofer has to pedal to keep the juices flowing while we type or compute.
Petunia wrote back immediately : Where did the computer come from? And what about the bicycles?
Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you the story: A long, long time ago, way before I was born, a huge box the size of a house (made of a super-strong material, harder than rock!) washed ashore at Silver Sandy Beach. We call it the “Big Box.” According to the legend, first the Fofers banged on it with sticks (we still do that and it makes a wonderfully loud noise) then the Fofers eventually pried it open. The box was filled with great treasures which we call the “Heirlooms.” Inside the Big Box were twelve bicycles, three hammers, two shovels, five tin buckets full of nails, eighteen windows, seven pair of ice skates, five scissors and a whole bunch of kitchen knives.
Since these objects became indispensable to the Fofers, one Fofer always has to be responsible for heirloom maintenance. These days Verness (since she’s the handiest) takes care of the treasures. She sharpens the skates, scissors and knives on a special stone atop Firefly Hill. She uses fish oil on the bikes to make sure they don’t squeak. If a window breaks, she can fix it. (Hopefully! We’re very careful and haven’t had a window break in a long time.)
As for the Big Box, it’s still on Silver Sandy Beach. Every couple years, we try to figure out a way to move it, but it won’t budge. (It’s too heavy!) Every other couple years, someone tries to make the box into a home, but it’s just too dark and wet and rusty.
A sailboat washed ashore three years ago after a crazy summer storm with the biggest waves and the strongest winds ever-For a summer storm. Winter storm winds are an entirely different matter. On the sailboat we found a bunch of stuff. Honestly, I had no clue what any of it was, but my friend Aki is super-smart (she’s also our librarian). She started messing around with the items found on the boat and figured out how to make them work. So now we have this computer and a camera that allows us to take fofergraphs and make foferfilms. It even allows us to record music! Please don’t ask me how all this works. Do what I do… ask Aki.
The boat is made of a material we’ve never seen before and we can’t figure out how to make a patch of leaves, bark and tree glue stick to the huge gaping hole in the side. But that doesn’t stop us from having a great time in the summer when we take the boat for short floats and then it half sinks and we abandon ship and the boat bobs ashore with the rising tide and always returns to nearly the same spot on the beach, right next to the Big Box.