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Brad's Blog

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August 2
    The juggling act of summer keeps on adding balls--we're selling green beans, raspberries, and zucchini in addition to pottery.  Today I'm packing for the Art on the Green fair, 3 days and many thousands of people...  The weather looks good for the weekend, though tending back towards hot.  I can remember doing that fair in the rain, and in 100 degree heat where I'd run over and plunge in the lake with all my clothes on to keep cool...

August 7
    The hot weekend fair was down around 20% in sales from last year, enough to convince me to forego it next year, especially since sales in Spirit Lake are strong, even better last weekend than the sales I had at the fair...  The shelves are looking empty, so I'm back cranking out the pots...
    The raspberry crop is slowing down, but the green beans are coming on strong, along with broccoli and zucchini.  We've had 3 ripe tomatoes, and the tomato plants have never looked better, in spite of starting off looking blighted in June.

August 12
    I've been too busy to blog, trying to keep up on pottery, etc.  
Yesterday I went to the Blue Waters Bluegrass festival, and I usually post a page of photos, which will probably  happen later in the week. The music was great, as usual.  What was new were some people swinging around some colored lights after dark in rhythm to the music, which made streaks of color.  The gadgets could also flash in different colors, creating partial arcs of various colors.   I took some photos that would show part of an arc, not too interesting...  But it got me thinking about the blurry streak part, how our eyes and brain see it as a continuous streak in the dark...  Later last night my son told me it was the Perseid meteor shower, so I waited a couple minutes before retiring and saw several meteor streaks.  When you see a meteor, you're lucky to not just see it in your periphery, and also lucky if you see it progressing and it isn't just a streak.  It makes sense that a meteor leaves a visible streak, since it's heating up itself and the air it passes through enough to glow.  The light at the bluegrass festival wasn't leaving a trail, but my brain turned it into a loop of color due I guess  to the low light conditions...  I know a camera acts similarly in the dark, since the photos after dark are frequently blurred by action which would be sharp and frozen in the midday sun...
    Today I played music for a couple hours at the Autumn's Loft gallery where I sell pots at Priest Lake.  There weren't a lot of listeners, but it was good practice...

August 16
I got the photos up from last Saturday at Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival: http://www.sondahl.com/events/BW2012.html
I wish I'd had time to stay for the whole weekend.  During the dinner break I rode my bike along the undeveloped side of Medical Lake, which is always nice...
    We had our busiest day yet yesterday, and pots are going out a lot faster than I can make them, although I'm working day and night to produce them...  I think the busy day was from it being a little cooler and windy so people came off the lake to shop...
    We tried our sweet corn, but it's not sweet yet...  Got our first cucumbers as well...
    Yesterday we happened on a butterfly coming out of its crysalis, while it was waiting for its wings to firm up, and then passed by later as it took to flight.  Always amazing, and rare to see...
      It's great daily swimming weather still...

August 17
    In addition to all the usual, Jonathan and I were invited to play for a pig roast tonight.  It was great food, a nice polite crowd, and two hours of performance practice for the next pig event--pigout in the park...
    The raspberries are almost done, although we've added a few fall raspberries and blackberries that aren't ripe yet...
    We've had two sets of visitors in the last 24 hours, including two young women staying overnight enroute we forgot were coming...  Summertime, and the living is busy...

August 19

(old photo of Priest Lake)
    A couple days ago we took the canoe to the end of Spirit Lake unsuccessfully looking for moose.  Once the canoe is on the car, it's easy to leave it on, so after church today we canoed a mile or so across Priest Lake to Kalispell Island.  We found a deserted section of beach, and swam to cool off, then walked along the edge for a half mile or so (there's a 2.5 trail around the island).  Where the water splashes up from the wake there  is a green zone of mosses and flowers that was quite nice--saw several new flowers and yellow and purple violets (much later than we have them here).  It was 90 degree heat today, but we hardly noticed it at the lake...  It looked tempting to camp on the island--there's at least 40 designated spaces on the island, and no electricity or motor vehicles besides the motor boats that most people use to get there...

August 21
The fever of summer has passed, with a mild shower as the harbinger of cooler weather, and a taste of Fall...   This cool period allows me to make large pitchers, which I was nearly out of.  If it's too hot, by the time large pitchers are dry enough to put the handle on, the top part will be too dry and tend to crack loose a little bit later...  Platters are the other pots I've noticed that tend to crack in drying if it's too hot and dry...
    Although there are forest fires making national news a couple hundred miles south of here, and a couple hundred miles west of here, it's been less smoky here than a lot of Augusts, particularly when farmers burn the wheat and grass fields (that may still be coming)...

August 24
    We've made the flip-flop from keeping the heat out in the day and windows open at night, to the opposite, due to the cold spell settling in.  Hopefully we can dodge a frost tonight...  It's time to get serious with the corn and freeze a bunch before it gets too old...
    Earlier this week one of the new kilns didn't heat properly in the bottom, so I got some replacement switches under warranty and was able to fix the problem fairly easily.   Whenever this happens in the summer I start getting backed up, but I should get caught up over the weekend with firings again...

August 25

 (this scene is where the fraternal twins who happened to dress and look identical while thinking the other was dead are unveiled at the end)
    I went to Spokane today to practice music, and pick up some feldspar at a pottery supply, and to see 12th Night at Pavilion Park, presented by the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks group.  I remember seeing a similar group in Brookings SD at the Sylvan outdoor theater as a child, and I'm glad the tradition continues...  The sound reinforcement, always problematic at these events, was a series of shotgun mikes pointed at the stage (you can see one at far right in the photo), which makes for a reedy sound to the public...  The last musical I went to at the small theater in Coeur D'Alene used the small wireless mikes that work much better.  They also issued the wireless broadcast sound rigs for the hearing impaired, which worked intermittently enough that the people near me were a bit disruptive in their conversations about it...  
    Liberty Lake, where the park is, is one of the wealthiest suburbs in the area, and a lot of the residents drive their golf carts to these events...  Beforehand a lady was making a point of talking about their 27 foot sailboat...  The anticipated crowd for Pigout in the Park is considerably more plebian...

August 27
great blue heron

This is a great blue heron from our canoe trip yesterday from Pioneer Park to some friends' cabin north of Newport(about 6 miles).  The Pend Oreille River moved ponderously,  which was a bit nerve wracking for some of the fellow canoers with small (potentially bored) kids...  We managed to make it in a little over two hours...  The river is about a half mile wide (about the size of the Mississippi in Minnesota, now that I think of it).  A narrower river gives more shade and more closeups of wildlife... We saw lots of ospreys, a few deer, and a couple eagles, as well as several herons...  We had a fine supper with our friends, and a bit of a gospel singalong after.
    Since the weather has made it back to lovely, and since some other friends wanted to visit today, I managed to fire two kilns and glaze a kiln load, then we went with the friends to the end of Spirit Lake, where we let the kids play in the sand where Brickel Creek enters.  Being a Monday in late August, it was pretty quiet and enjoyable there...
Here's another heron photo from the archives...


August 29th
It was an average day, rain predicted but not happening, high in the low 70's (still went for a swim, getting colder).  But then a lizard crawled into the porch through the cat door...  I just saw its tail as it went behind a planter, but soon discerned that it was indeed a small lizard.

The only lizard I know for sure around here is the blue tailed skink, which this lacks the blue tail...  Anyway, our cats were around, and I'd just read that cats when monitored with video cameras are found to catch a lot of lizards, so I shut the cats in and caught it, then put it in a bowl to photograph... After that I put it out on a cabbage plant and took more photos, but it disappeared pretty quickly...
    Then this evening our big tom Moby came in with an adolescent robin in his mouth, which he let loose into the living room.  It seemed like it couldn't fly, but we quickly put the cat out (this time)  and managed to herd it out the front door, where it took flight over to a cottonwood tree...

Books read and other  media of note: (free Kindle books unless otherwise noted)
12th Night by Bill Shakespeare.  Definitely where P.G. Wodehouse got his plots...

Something New by P.G. Wodehouse
This turned out to be something old--the first Blandings Castle novel from 1915.  It started pretty slowly, but by the end had evolved all the major elements that Wodehouse used time and again to delight the masses--the likes of me...  Those elements include misrepresenting identities, an item that needs purloining for the best of purposes, and comedy-crossed lovers...  There's even reference to a Wooster, but it's Algernon, no doubt a cousin of Bertie's...

Over Tumbled Graves by Jess Walter
 A taut serial killer mystery set in modern Spokane.

Uneasy Money by P G Wodehouse.   A bequest from a near stranger results in a screwball romantic comedy from Wodehouse's early days.  It was easy to visualize as a black and white 30's movie, which it should have been...

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