Brad's Blog
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Sept. 1, 2018
Suffered through a "bad clay experience yesterday...  I opened a glaze kiln to find this:

The casserole was warped and dry looking, the tops of the chip and dips were dry appearing as well.  It took a while to decide if it was a kiln malfunction, but the other normal pots in the background pointed to the new batch of clay I'd gotten two weeks before.  The clay company verified that one of the clay materials was melting at a lower temperature than usual, and will replace the clay (but not the week's work, of course).  They'll also look for someone to take the 3200 pounds of clay that I can't use...

Sept. 5
No change yet regarding my clay supply. So as the old saying goes about making lemonade when life deals you lemons: Only the best...

Sept. 13,
Just back from a road trip with Butters to visit family in Northfield, Minnesota.  I took a lot of back roads--MT200 across most of Montana:

This is the Clark Fork river in Montana, made broad by a dam, which I followed from its being the major tributary of Lake Pend O'Reille in Idaho through about half of Montana...


It was just these bighorn sheep along the highway and me somewhere in the middle of the state...

Towards the eastern end of the state is the real Big Sky country.  I was driving into the night, and getting nervous that I would hit one of the deer cropping along the road.  A truck towing an ATV had an accident shortly before I arrived, and shortly thereafter I stopped for night construction, which I learned from the stop sign guy was where the truck had accelerated away from rapidly before losing it on the next curve.  I enquired about campgrounds or RV parks, but he said there were none for over a hundred miles.   I was driving a van we'd just purchased, and had prepared for camping with a foam mattress and sleeping bag.  So I kept looking for side roads where I could pull off and sleep.  There are very few true side roads in this part of Montana, mostly field accesses like the one trailing off to the right in the photo above. The first one of those I tried had the name of a ranch posted on it, so I decided to back out and try further down the road.  The road was mostly empty, but by huge coincidence a truck came and turned in just as I was backing out.  A few miles down the road was another dirt road, with the obligatory cattle guard, and a hand painted "no hunting" sign posted (but not "no trespassing" so I decided to take it.  There were no houselights visible anywhere, and no moon to obscure the Milky Way. 
As I pulled in along side the gravel road to park, I heard the coyotes calling close...  I felt I was in the middle of absolutely nowhere...
So was I surprised when two semis drove by me on the single track dirt road at around 2 a.m....  I decided, it being harvest time, they were hauling cattle somewhere...  I imagine they were as surprised to see me as I was to see them...

I stopped later that morning at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.   The picture above is a detail of the weathered clay next to the road, but without context it's hard to tell the size of the plants which reminded me of bonzai (and they were very small)...

The bison were in and next to the road, and yes, Butters and I were safely in the car.  He woofed quietly once the first time he saw them, then remained interested but noncomittal with later sightings...

This was the grand view of the badlands from the middle of the 30 mile loop around the park...
The trip was very relaxing--empty roads, small farm towns, large ranches and Sioux reservations...

 
Sept. 14
On the way home I stopped near the top of Homestake Pass at a small lake near the freeway, and got this photo of a redhead duck family:
redhead duck

Sept. 18
As the Mill Pond dries up through the summer, the willows that grow out in the water recede to show their mangrove-like roots.  This photo shows both the roots, and two kingfishers flying by...


Sept. 24

Here's a fawn from a bicycle ride we made at Farragut Park last week...
This has been the month of waiting for the replacement clay, which arrived last Friday. So I threw 100 pots that day, and trimmed them Saturday.  Today I threw a hundred pots again, and loaded and fired the first bisque kiln.  Nothing makes one more eager to get back to work then when one is prevented from it...
We're facing, for the second time, patchy frost this evening, so I took this photo with my new Iphone of our wonderful dahlia bed...  We threw some covers over most of it just in case it would prevent the inevitable for another week or so...


books read
What the Hell did I just Read by David Wong.  Rescuing the world from alien invasion is seldom as fun as this, or profane, but weirdly satisfying...  Resembles Douglas Adams and The Confederacy of Dunces.

Kill the Farm Boy.  I had high hopes for this, along the lines of Terry Pratchett and The Princess Bride, but it plodded too slowly, good for putting me to sleep, but not high comedy adventure....


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