To feed a family of twelve we grew a LARGE garden. That meant canning hundreds of jars of vegetables to stave off hunger during the cold, Minnesota winter months.
And peeling carrots. A task assigned to me as a young boy. Who learned the nuances of the hook knife. And to maintain control at all times. The scar in my knee being an everlasting reminder.
Where others sharpened their culinary skills while dicing carrots, I honed my craft of whittling, soon graduating to wood. A carver was born.
For Christmas I received a pearl-handled pocket knife, and set to carving sticks, fashioning them into riding 'horses,' crude dolls for my sisters, and the rough hew shapes of animals.
By Spring I lost my knife. Carelessly leaving it on the banks of the creek, where it disappeared. Learning another valuable lesson - treasures of such do not come easy.
Mr. Roberts, my grade school teacher's husband, would teach me how to carve wooden chains from blocks of wood. Which required precision, less you break a knife blade, a finger, or a link, ending the chain. Until I got it right. And understood the concept of mastering whittling.
Peeling carrots. Inspiring. To this day.