August 2 With all the produce
getting ripe, today was the day to deal with peas. My son
and I shelled them, without getting bored, while watching the DVD set
he gave me of The Bertie and Jeeves series, most of which we've seen,
but never in order, and still very funny. After shelling, there
were about a gallon and a half of peas to be parboiled and frozen.
I also went and picked up another wood framed window (I found it on
Craigslist), which I plan to use to replace a cracked bedroom window in
our main residence. It's significantly bigger than the existing
window, so I'll make another planter/bay window thing out of it,
sometime this fall. The sun shone red for most of
the day today, from smoke haze from forest fires several hundred miles
away. The air is pretty stagnant, or presumably it wouldn't be
My son and his wife arrive for two weeks tomorrow, so in addition to
the usual potting, gardening, food preserving, and swimming, you can
add in cleaning and last minute other stuff-ing. That doesn't
leave much time for blog-ging...
August 4 Due
to a thunderstorm in Chicago, my relatives are arriving 10 hours later.
This is actually a good practice for house guests--making it more
likely that the house will be clean and reassembled in working order.
In the pottery news, after trying various methods of securing kiln
heating elements that like to stray, my latest idea is to make U shaped
staples of heavy gauge element wire (supplied with the elements) and
pushing them into the soft brick with a pliers.
August 7 Art
fairs are consuming events, even though for the exhibitor most of it
involves sitting (and consuming kettle corn). We set up for this
two day sale on Friday evening, then spent half of the first day
(today) earning back the entry fee. The day's sales were no
greater than several days at our shop this week, so I'm inclined to
think we may have done as well spending the fair fee on advertising.
But we're there for this year, and the weather is cooperating
The second day of the fair started pretty slowly. It got a boost
when a business that had contacted me previously paid in cash in
advance for an order of mugs. Finally there were a couple of
bigger sales near the end, making it creep into "feel good" territory.
However, when I got home there was a similar total (not counting
the wholesale order) shoved under the door in my absence. That's
why I like my regular system so much more than art fairs...
We had a sprinkle over night, first precipitation in about a
month, so it settled the dust. It didn't affect our fair booth
with the EZ-up awning, until we took it down and some water had pooled
in a few places which dumped on us as we disassembled it.
August 10 I
fired a bisque and a glaze yesterday, and repeated both today.
What I didn't do was make any new pots. I've been getting
orders everywhere recently--from the art fair, by phone, and by email.
I wish the orders would come after the summer (which is my
busiest time), but I've got to take them as they come.
The same is true with house guests... Besides the five of us
including my married son and his wife, we had 6 more for supper and a
night's stay last night.
is an old photo of a cedar waxwing. I can't resist photographing
them when I see them, they're so cool with their crest, bandit eye
patch, and yellow fringed tail. So I've been photographing them
lately, but the photo isn't nicer than that one... Currently they're in
our Chinese elm, where they annually eat the small caterpillars that
are eating the leaves at this time of year. Today
I started making pots, to make up the huge gaps in inventory. I
sold two of the chicken cookers out of a kiln I'm emptying tomorrow,
for instance. Most of the pots were for orders, but I also made
24 larger bowls, because they were almost gone as well.
Sales were a bit slower today, but then I got another dinner set
order, setting back my orders list another week or so. This one
we might be able to deliver to Colorado when we take our son back to
his winter home. We've picked about 5 gallons of green beans to freeze, but haven't had time to process them yet.
Our current family reunion is affected by a summer cold running through
various members. I thnk that's preferable to the time we all got
stomach flu when we gathered at my parents one time.. This evening there's a nice rain falling, without lightning--just the thing to lower fire danger.
went canoeing at the end of Spirit Lake today, hoping for moose, seeing
only ducks and muskrats... And this view of Mt. Spokane, from
Brickle Creek. The round mountain in the middle has ski trails
leading down from it, and Brickle Creek starts on its slopes, and ends
in a canal straight (-ened) flat water area leading into the lake.
The day was approximately perfect. This evening another god
child stopped over for a visit, enlivening our evening.
August 16 The
weather's back to hot (around 90), so we're putting in a lot of lake
time again. We went to Farragut Park canoeing, in hopes of seeing
the elusive mountain goats, and had to settle for seeing a lizard
and a coot. Birrion jumped off a 30 foot cliff into the water, as
is his wont.
More hot, more lake. We're finally getting a few ripe tomatoes
and peppers from the garden. This has been our best year for
cucumbers--planted in the bed in the green house, where the heat helped
the plants a lot. The pole beans have gone from being covered
with scarlet flowers to yielding lots of green beans--I hope to pick
some for the food bank tomorrow. The potatoes, corn, and squash
are the last things to come in the garden--we've got the usual excess
zucchinis already. I'm mostly working on orders
in the pottery currently, although the stock is getting low so I hope
to start making refilling supplies tomorrow.\
My son and his wife left today, so I have less excuse to spend
afternoons at the lake. And less goof off activities in general.
Too bad. As I predicted I was able to pick about 5 gallons of
green beans for the food bank. The raspberries are nearing the
end of their cycle, but there's still enough for eating at breakfast.
A customer asked me today if pottery was my retirement business.
Hmm, my hair IS gray... At this point, I don't imagine
retiring. It's just my life--why would I give it up?
Although I am tempted sometimes to give up a few months of winter
sometimes. I guess when I qualify for Social Security, I'll be
ready to call it my retirement business..
I was out picking vegetables to go with steak stir fry when I thought
of checking the early sweet corn. It looked ready. I've
been too busy to check. But the supper menu was fixed, so it will have
to wait another day or two. Tomorrow my
son and I are going to the Arena football national championship in
Spokane. I don't expect to ever see a Super bowl, but for $17
each plus the usual exorbitant ticket fees, we can see Tampa Bay
play defending champ Spokane. It will hopefully resemble real
football. I've been firing two kilns per day
lately to try to get some orders through. We decided tonight my
son and I will go to Mt. Hood next week, which fits my plan to deliver
74 logo mugs to a store there. The firing today was delayed by
repairing a broken kiln element. The weather's
easing up from very hot to moderately hot, and still very nice for
swimming in the afternoons. We floated around on the Mill Pond
watching a traffic jam on the lake road due to road resurfacing.
That's the only way to enjoy a traffic jam...
The Arena Bowl 23 was a lot of fun, high tech pageantry and old
fashioned standing and yelling for the team. There were
times when the outcome was in doubt, but our Spokane team won by 69-57.
Arena football's high scores make for lots of crowd pleasing...
I doubt I'd become a regular spectator, but it was a great
introduction to arena football. I checked in advance to make
sure I wore the appropriate team color, which was orange. There
were plenty of football fan characters, like an orange Fred Flinstone
and blue hair dye (their other color).
So the plan was to leave tomorrow for Mt. Hood in Oregon, so my son can
get a few more days into his incredibly long ski season. And I
was coming along to camp out, enjoy the mountain, and deliver 74 mugs
to Portland. It was all on schedule until another element burned
out in the kiln yesterday, so a dozen mugs weren't fired to completion.
So we decided to delay leaving until Monday, which may explain a
few days of nonposting, with a chance of nice nature photos around
was a slow day today, so here's a photo I took yesterday of a wedding
that processed from a private residence to the bar where the reception
was held, on riding lawnmowers. They rode in the one with the
light green cab, and there were several other festive representatives
of our lawn mower racing society also in attendance. On the left
is a mysterious object on a trailer I was too polite to go stare
at, which had nothing to do with the wedding, but on magnifying the
picture might be an ultralite airplane. In back is the
local firetruck, where they were soliciting funds for some good cause.
August 28 We got back from Mt. Hood late last night.
took a lot of photos of Mt. Hood, an 11,000 foot volcanic icon near
Portland Oregon. This is the view from Summit Meadow, a swampy
meadow which was a resting place on the Oregon Trail before beginning
the steep descent to the end of their journey. Next to the meadow
sometime an airstrip was built and later abandoned, and that area is
now a free camping area where we stayed. My son reports that
there was heavy use and partying (not him) during the middle of
the summer, but it was almost empty when we were there.
One day was hot and calm, one was windy, and the last was fairly
cool, with a 15,000 person relay race starting in the parking lot for
the ski mountain.
photo I set the timer on the camera and jumped on a parked bulldozer.
It shows the permanent snowfield which is used for the only
summer skiing center in the lower 48 states, the reason my son went (to
get to his goal of 250 ski days for this season). One day I
hiked up to the ski area from Timberline Lodge, a gain of 2000 feet.
I went back down partway on one of the gullies filled with snow,
which was fun. As you can see from the photo, it was fairly arid
near the tree line, from the thick layer of volcanic ash which makes up
the soil and doesn't hold water well. In spite of that there
were lots of flowers blooming in some places.
This is another side of Mt. Hood with asters and yellow sedums blooming, along the Pacific Crest Trail. I
wasn't impressed by the amount of wildlife I saw, but I did get one
nice picture of a bird which I posted to a birder group for identification, reported back as a juvenile Hermit Warbler.
the morning we left, I waited around the parking lot doing a little
mending of our tent while my son finished skiing, and was amazed by the
culture that has grown up around the 150 or so mile relay called Hood
To Coast. Some of the teams showed up in matching large vans
with professional lettering. Nearly all the vans had funny,
scatological, or suggestive comments written in markers on their
exteriors. And every fifteen minutes for 15 hours 25 people would
be set off on the relay course. It got to be annoying, so I took
my banjo up to an outdoor amphitheater, and practiced for the 2 hour
outdoor concert I had in Spokane today. It was a week off from doing pottery, but I still managed to deliver 75 mugs as part of the trip...
most of the day on pottery, catching up on orders, glazing a kiln load,
etc. We had a brief heavy shower today, nice dust settler.
Tonight's supper includes elk steak (from a friend), and corn and
broccoli and cukes and tomatoes from the garden. There were only
potatoes from the store, but I'm guessing we could even start eating
our own potatoes soon.
The Starchild Trilogy by Jack Williamson and Frederik Pohl The
60's was a great time for speculative fiction--this set had some very
Big Brotherish aspects to it, anticipating a world computer that
planned for everything and everyone.
A Matter of Honor by Jeffrey Archer A page turning thriller of what now seems an alternate history regarding the Middle East. The Other Guys (Film) A
very funny film about the desk police who chase boring white collar
crime. The closing credits gave a whole other spin to the satire
involved in the film.
The Expendables Yes, it was full of car crashes, explosions, and vivid violence, but even that didn't save it from insipidity. Work Song by Ivan Doig Butte
Montana has two great novels set in it--Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
and Work Song. Both are set in the mine labor disputes of the
early 20th Century. Doig has a gentler approach, but still paints
a vivid picture of a difficult period. And he manages to make it
a love story without so much as a kiss. Prairie Nocturne is
a required prerequisite for full enjoyment of this book. Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher In
a continuance of the Dresden Files, Dresden has to deal with life and
death justice issues of a friend's daughter breaking the rules of
magic. Good compelling action. Prairie Nocturne by Ivan Doig Doig
has woven a rich tapestry from the early life of settlers in eastern
Montana. The plot leaves one guessing like a mystery until the
end, and even with the end. The Angel TV Series
by Joss Whedon et al. I had my doubts when I first saw this spin
off of Buffy, taking a couple characters that were hard to like, and
making a series based on them. But it grew into a fine fantasy
series of its own, and good to the last (5th) season. Watching TV
series on DVD helps elevate it to higher art status.