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Brad's Blog


Feb. 1
The story of John Henry and the steam drill epitomized the struggle of the workers in the industrial revolution.  As hard as a person might labor, the machine will keep up steadily without tiring.   John Henry died with the hammer in his hand, in spite of winning the short term race, he lost the long one.
The reason I'm citing this is that a local camp (one I got married at, actually) may want me to make 250 commemorative
  mugs for them.  It goes without saying they'd like them as cheap as possible, to resell them for the most profit for the camp.
Slowly I'm realizing  (and I probably wrote something last month on this topic) that I'm not a machine, so I'd best not try to compete with them.  Yes, I can make 100 or more mugs per day, and yes, I mostly enjoy not having to decide for a while what to make next.  But since the 250th requires exactly as much labor as the first, there's no benefit to me in mass manufacture, particularly to sell at wholesale or half the price I'd normally get.  If times were hard, and orders were few (which was the case for a good share of my career), wholesale was a nice chunk of money at once.  It does eliminate the labor of all those individual sales which it takes to sell that many pots.  But if pots are selling well without wholesaling, you're twice as well off...
Curiously the parable of John Henry took an interesting turn when it was at least echoed in Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel.  In this book (that is a stage at least every preschool boy goes through),   Mike and his steam shovel are being phased out by the next wave of Diesel equipment.  Instead of racing human against machine, they are a team working to dig the town hall basement in a single day.  At the end of this tale is not death, but a comfortable retirement.
I guess I have to think of my wheel, given me by my parents when I started as a professional, as Mike thought of MaryAnn, the steam shovel...  I hope neither of us is outmoded for a while...

Feb. 2
I practiced in a trio for the next Thang Bluegrass concert tonight.  The permutations of music are endless, particularly when each musician adds his own flavor.   This isn't so noticeable in classical music, where they're all trying to sound the same, as in folk style musics, where everyone tries to sound unique.  Anyway, it was fun playing in a relatively new  (albeit temporary) configuration.

Feb. 4
Through a series of peer group influences, I attended a Wailers concert in Spokane last evening.  The Wailers were the backup band for Bob Marley, and the most successful reggae band.  I've never particularly liked reggae, but my son invited me to go with him, so I thought it might be a good thing to do.  My son isn't interested in reggae either (well, maybe now he is), but a friend of his is deeply into it, so that's really the source of the concert.
The music reminded me of salsa and rap music, both styles I'm also not overly fond of.  The venue was so crowded that it resembled standing in a crowded elevator for 3 hours.  But other than that (if there was anything other than that), it was fine.  I think I'll hold out for summer concerts in parks for my next concert experience, or at least ones with chairs... (In fairness, there were a couple hundred chairs, all occupied by the time we got into the venue).

Feb. 6
I heard on the radio the other day, that James Lovelock, who helped put forth the Gaia hypothesis that the world is like a living organism, now thinks humans have, like a disease, damaged enough subsystems that the stability of the system is in jeopardy.  Unless one takes a mystical view of the Gaia hypothesis, it is only a model, and a mostly untestable hypothesis as well, which may put it out of the realm of science.
My son has a computer program that can simulate natural processes, such as the predator- prey relationship, in which populations (such as rabbits and hawks) rise and fall in undulating rhythm with each other as one or the other gains temporary advantage.  The more factors (such as food, climate) etc. that are added, the more stable the system becomes (which points to some of the inadequacies of modelling).  In some of these computer models, one species wipes out the other species, and as a result overpopulates (in the case of rabbits) or starves (in the case of the hawks, and  also then eventually in the case of the rabbits who without predation would eat all food resources).  Again, this is only a model. But it's a good visual representation of the need for diversity on our planet.
I am not convinced that the survival of the world is currently at risk, though I have no doubt we've altered the environment such as to trigger global warming not seen in a relatively long time (though short, geologically speaking, and probably not extreme by that same token).  The same program said the melting of the ice caps would take hundred of years, during which time cities would clearly withdraw from the flooding shores, although that might include large parts of lowlying coastal areas...
We are also seeing increased side effects of modern transportation through the exotic species and diseases that now spread rapidly around the world, that formerly might have died in passage, such as tiger mosquitoes that survive in ship containers...
In truth, nature abhors a vacuum (both literally and figuratively), such that any environment that can harbor life will, although the surviving species may not be to our advantage.  As we overfish the oceans, the "useless" bycatch species are left to fill the niches of the cod... In the same way our US western range becomes rapidly converted to plant species inedible to cattle, as toxic exotic species rush in to fill the available niche created partially by overgrazing.
I once saw a video on the Nezperce people, that started off with a picture of knapweed in bloom.  I'm sure it was chosen naively by the filmmakers as an easily available flower when the filming was being done in midsummer.  But I had to chuckle to myself that a Eurasian invasive toxic weed should be featured benignly on a film on native peoples.  Like native culture, native plant species are threatened by exotic invasive plants and animals.  Knapweed is rapidly taking over the range, with an ability to poison the soil for other species, rendering it more suitable for its own.  But like Pandora's box, once let out of its own native range, there is no going back--it's here to stay...

Feb. 7
Spirit Lake still has about 3 inches of snow, but every direction away from here the snow is gone within a few miles, at this elevation. This has allowed for good travel on the highways, as today when I did my weekly skiing.  The ski resort has gotten 20 inches in the last week, and has stayed cold enough that there is great coverage.   As a mediocre skier, I prefer the smoothly groomed slopes to the thick powder, and today there was no fresh snow, so the powder lovers stayed home, and I enjoyed swift descents down sparsely populated corderoy machine groomed slopes.  Meanwhile my son and a friend were risking various bodyparts sliding down rails, fake picnic tables, and other wonders of the Terrain Park.  This was another good day for me ("a good day" being defined as no falls).  I'm hoping I have an innate sense of self preservation, in spite of the rather risky nature of the sport.  The evidence so far is pretty good--no broken limbs yet in my 52 years...
 

Feb. 8  Since my day has been uneventful, I'm posting a reaction from Linda Lander in Australia to a recent blog entry:
G'Day Brad,
                 I just read your comments from feb 6th. Australia has a very poor track record of preserving its environment and native species as well as flora. Isn't it a pity that the appropriate people don't always have the foresight to see what their wonderful ideas could create when they try them out. Our first settlers created untold damage when they introduced rabbits, foxes, rodents, insects, etc, etc. and then starved because they would not or did not know to eat the local flora and fauna. Animals with hooves were also not known in Australia and their introduction causes erosion and damage to the ground and water systems which are very delicately balanced. But I am a meat eater so I'd better shut up about that! also in this area we have a huge problem in our rivers here with carp. Kind people in the past have set their goldfish free in the rivers and they lay millions of eggs, grow huge, eat the native species and stir up the mud when they feed making our rivers into little more than muddy gutters.  People won't eat them, there is a local business who collects them and makes a fertilizer with the catchy name "Charlie carp" with I reckon is pretty cool.
Locally we have a plant that some bloke down near Albury decided looked nice in his garden, when it turned feral it spread every where through farm and bush rendering it unusable for stock and choking out native species, the man who planted it had it named after him, its known locally as pattersons curse, you can however buy it in the city flower stalls as riverina bluebell. Its pretty well all through the temperate areas of the whole country nowadays. I suppose that sort of stuff happens all over the world, I heard that our eucalyptus are a very successful though invasive species in California and new Zealand has a huge problem with the introduced Aussie species the ring tail possum.
An advertising campaign in Australia has a logo :Think Globally, Act Locally"

Feb.8
My son took along a tape measure to the ski mountain the other day.  He measured the gap in a jump he and some friends built out in the back country over a cat track.   He said it was 35 feet wide.  He cleared the 35 foot gap on his second jump.  The first landed on the cat track...  They figured out they couldn't have a curve in the run-in to the jump, so they made a path that cut very closely between two trees. So, in other words, using a snow shovel, some powder snow, and guts, he's learned to fly on the mountain.
I tried going over a small jump one day when I was feeling frisky about 10 years ago.  The jump was actually a rock covered with snow, and I managed to catch one ski on a finger of rock projecting off the back side of it, which ratchetted my knee sideways, and told me while I was still in the air, that things were not good...   Although it hurt considerably, I was able to get down from there mostly on the one good ski, and hobble to the car.  I remember later barely being able to walk for quite a while..  Since then I've avoided jumps studiously.  At the same time that happened, Birrion was just learning to ski, and seeking out all the jumps he could find.  He still is...

Feb. 9
I've got  a theory that the more one expresses one's inner self, the fewer the people who will identify favorably with that person.  It's kind of like the lovelorn ads in the paper: Gemini biker into guns, psychoanalysis, chain smoking, and glue sniffing seeks same, only probably different sex, for walks in the park, more...  If they'd only stopped after the first couple words, they might have gotten lucky...  I guess we all need editors.
Of course the theory comes from my sharing my many interests on my webpages.  I'm quite sure there is no one else in the world who shares all of my passions, and if they did, they'd still disagree with me on several points.
This comes up because I've got a webpage dedicated to the McGee Brothers, an early string band from the Grand Ole Opry that apparently didn't have anyone making them a webpage so I made a fan page for them.  About one of their albums, done with another band, I expressed my opinion, after admitting to being prejudiced, that the other band wasn't as enjoyable as another band of the same era employing the same instrument (harmonica).
So I got an email this evening suggesting that the McGee Brothers would be offended at my "sly" comments.  As a result, I removed the line that offended the writer.
It's an example of how the web is, to a certain extent, edited by those interested.  The extreme example of this, of course, is Wikipedia, which, as I understand it, is where anyone can expound on any subject, and if anyone else disagrees, they can edit it.  The amusing current stories, related to Wikipedia, center on Congressmembers editing out facts they'd rather the people forgot, such as their promise to quit after 4 terms, while now in their 7th...

Feb. 10
    I started building new wareshelves today for my expanded pottery workshop.  It's a 30 mile drive from here to the lumber yard, so I like to use lumber at hand in projects.  In this case the two-by-fours for the shelves came from the wall I removed to create the new pottery space.  In spite of the new room being twice as large as the old one, due to window and door configurations, there's only room to expand the shelving by 25%.  Most of the time the shelves are only about half full, fluctuating with the flow into and out of kilns.  But there are a few times when demand is high, that if I had more shelf space, I could produce more pots, so hopefully this new space will make the move worthwhile.  Also there will be more room to store clay and glazes without bumping into them continually.
    Aside from the pottery work, I made apple sauce today, which happens about weekly, but it occurred to me that a lot of people don't make applesauce, might never have made it.  The apples from our trees, which were picked 4 months ago, are still in good enough condition for eating fresh, but applesauce has a variety of uses that fresh apples don't  (including feeding to my wife's mother, who couldn't eat fresh apples unless they were diced).  There's no elaborate tricks to making applesauce.  Without a colander, you need to peel the apples and core (or cut off the cores of) them.  Then steam them with a little water in a covered steel pan until soft.  If you use a rotary colander, you can leave the skins on, as they don't go through the sieve.  I think I learned to make applesauce as a child--at least I remember the Foley food mill rotary colander, which is a relatively fun device as kitchen equipment goes, with a handle in the middle of the top mashing fruit through the perforated bottom...
I think, because a wide variety of fresh fruits are so easily available, that few people think of eating canned or otherwise home processed fruit, including applesauce any more.  Indeed, the California strawberries and asparagus are in the stores now, and hard to pass up...  So it mostly remains to the subset of people who grow their own fruit and preserve it to continue this culinary tradition.

Feb. 11
I continued work on the new pottery workshop today.  For every glaze which I use a lot of, I have two buckets. When one bucket gets too low for dipping, I mix a fresh batch up in the other bucket. Then, as it gets low, I add in the leftovers from other bucket.  As a result, although I mostly only use about 6 glazes, I have over 12 5 gallon buckets in my glazing area.  I actually have them stacked 3 high, partially due to space, but partially also to raise the bucket higher so there's a minimum of back bending in the work...
So for my new pottery space, instead of stacking the buckets, I'm setting them on shelves, to make it easy to get at the buckets underneath without having to shift them.  Hopefully this will be a small improvement.  I expect to finish the work there within a week, if I don't have too many interruptions.

Feb. 13.
I've been busy enough updating my volunteer webpages that I almost forgot my own...  Today was the CAGNI potters group meeting, so I spent some time getting their website going better, with a bulletin board.  I also ordered the granite counter top I alluded to here about a month ago, and bought some electric heaters for the newly enlarged pottery studio for $10.00 at the local Habitat for Humanity store, which is a great place for hardware bargains.
Not being totally oblivious to Valentines Day (although I'm leaving my wife at home to go skiing tomorrow, which actually says more of our tagteam life taking care of her mother than it does about our relationship) I made lemon flavored heart shaped cookies this evening with red sugar sprinkled on top.
Since I had to figure it out for the Clay guild, I've decided to add a bulletin board to my webpage as well.  Here it is, ready for you to try it.  http://sondahl.com/phbBB (Update: now disabled--it was not used, and then it got taken over by spammers and worse).

Feb. 14
So while I was enjoying myself skiing on Valentine's Day, my wife went to the dentist.  Life's sometimes like that...
Anyway she said she waved me my Valentines' gift, as she had to hurry home after the dentist.  Waving was an ancient practice where expensive gifts were waved at (for example, apparently possibly) the baby Jesus, instead of outright giving them, on the part of the Wise Men  (don't ask me why they'd do this--it was a Middle Eastern culture...).
I asked what it was she would've gotten, but she didn't know as she hadn't anything in mind.  So I wisely responded that whatever it was she might have gotten, would have been just what I would have wanted.  We were well below the US national average in Valentine's Day expenditures...
And the skiing was good--no falls and blue skies...

Feb. 15
Dateline: Washington
Today in reaction to the accidental "spraying" by Vice President Dick Cheney, President Bush appointed another Supreme Court Justice.
When it was pointed out that there were no current vacancies left to be filled, the President responded, "Look, how many of them are there now?  9 you say?  That's not biblical.  There ought to be one for each of the commandments, or is that the disciples..."  When it was pointed out that there might be a lot of tied decisions with an even number of justices, the President responded, "Look, if I appoint 3 of them, that's not too likely, is it?"

I suppose I'm posting this to help prove my theory that if you blog enough of yourself, you'll alienate everyone...
The other day I mentioned to some friends that I don't own a gun.  When they elicited surprise (this is the West, after all), I responded by saying, "Well, I'm unarmed so there's someone to rob in Idaho--everyone else is carrying..."

The last time I went hunting I was about 14, tagging along with my brother and his friends, road hunting in South Dakota.  I had an old family owned single shot shotgun.  I'd been through the obligatory hunter safety class.  So after driving around a lot without seeing much, we finally spotted some by the road, and piled out of the car, forming a line.  After everyone else got off a shot, I stepped forward to take mine.  In my mind, it was my turn, and I forgot that others in the group had pump shotguns that quickly reload.  I discovered my error when one of them  (John S.) yelled at me that he'd nearly shot me.
So that was the last time I went hunting.
Since that time I've had little to do with hunting, except listening to friends' hunting stories.  There are lots of hunters in Idaho.  One boy in my son's class shot his brother in the foot with a deer rifle.
I won't even start about how I feel about shooting quail, except to include this photo, shown in the blog previously. But  I  don't think there's "lots of good eatin' on" a quail...

Feb. 16
Talking about guns reminded me of the other time someone pointed a gun my way, on purpose.  Back when I was in college, in the 70's, a friend talked me into hopping freight trains, which I soon found to me a more fun adventure than hitchhiking, which was the other cheap way to see the world.  The town of Northfield had its own railroad, the Minneapolis, Northfield, and Southern, and for spring break one year a friend and I decided to see where "Southern" was...  It actually ended up taking us into Chicago.  As we sat in the moving box car, slowly rolling through the urban decay into the Chicago yard, suddenly a guy hoists himself into the box car with a large gun pointed in our direction.  "Railroad police--end of the road," or something to that effect he said.   I said, "Sure, you don't have to point that thing at us."  He obliged us by putting it away, having determined we were students on a lark rather than desperadoes.  He didn't want to arrest us, just told us to stay out of the rail yard.
So, suddenly we were at sunset in a depressed part of an unknown city.  Not being urban in nature, we started hitchhiking again, and got picked up by a couple guys that liked driving around listening to Star Trek audio tapes.  They drove us off into the night, finally leaving us off in the middle of nowhere, as they decided to turn around.  I think we ended up as far south as Cairo, Illinois, where a black truck driver who claimed to be a medal of honor winner gave us a ride on a  road covered with 6 inches of water from the Mississippi flooding.
The problem with freight hopping is it's easier to get away from somewhere than back to somewhere, so we mostly hitchhiked back to college.
In retrospect, it was a chancy enterprise, and we were fortunate it ended well.  Neither freight hopping nor hitchhiking are prevalent any longer, for good reasons.  The last hitchhiker I picked up was a few years back, when I saw a man waving a gas can and holding a cane by the side of the freeway in Montana. It turned out the can was essentially a prop to get people to stop for him, as perhaps was the cane, which showed a degree of cleverness, if not duplicity.  Shortly after we started going again, I figured out he had mental problems (though nonviolent in nature, fortunately).
Perhaps tomorrow I'll tell about the last time I hitchhiked...

Feb. 17
Okay, the last time I hitchhiked relates to canoeing on the Clearwater River in Idaho.  A fun part of growing up in Iowa was canoeing on the Skunk and Des Moines rivers.  So when we moved to central Idaho, I was drawn to the beautiful and aptly named Clearwater River.  I first talked my wife into trying a short jaunt on the river in the Spring when the water was high.  As soon as we put in, it was like merging on a freeway--we shortly zipping along at a fast pace, which on a smaller river would have made navigation hazardous.  As it was, there were lots of telltale swirls and eddies speaking of the power of the flowing water.  In a very short time we reached our take out point.  As it approached, we realized getting safely stopped to shore from the speeding canoe might be a challenge.  As I recall, we swung around and paddled upstream to reduce our relative speed, and managed to get out without getting wet.  This was important, as the Clearwater is always cold, but dangerously so in the Spring.
I think it was a year or so later that I built up my courage to try it again, but this time in the summer when it was much lower and slower. We also had our 3 young children along and some fishing gear.  Everything went pretty well till we hit the series of rapids caused by a shallow rock strewn area.  We hit a submerged rock which left a nice dent in our aluminum canoe, and spun us instantly sideways, at which point the canoe tipped enough to fill with water.  The family and fishing tackle all set off on various trajectories.  Only the fishing tackle disappeared, along with the resolve to continue the canoe trip, as the youngsters were cold and miserable.  So I held up my paddle and flagged a ride with a Forest Service employee (who said they never picked up hitchhikers, but thought we looked in trouble).
All this goes to show that it helps to have good props when hitchhiking.
 

Feb. 18
I performed tonight in at the INBA Bluegrass Thang with bassist Jonathan Hawkins and mandolin/fiddler Terry Ludiker.  We played oldtime music, but our techniques are more modern and jazzy than imitative of old-time playing...  It was fun, and the 20 minutes alotted flew by.  Most of the other bands had members I've jammed with previously, so it all felt very comfortable.
The brief cold spell we've had (down to around Zero F) has moderated.  Two days ago our water wouldn't run for an hour or so, but started up after pointing a space heater strategically in our uncrawlable crawl space.  I think I prefer snow over dry cold--the snow is prettier and more dramatic.  Although frozen pipes can be dramatic as well...

Feb. 19
I am not watching the Olympics, as the one channel of tv which we get doesn't carry them.  I do read on the Internet of gates being hit, medals being missed etc.  Instead we have the daily drama of our son who skis daily, doing wild tricks with wild friends.  This weekend they went to another ski mountain to compete in a rails competition.  Rails, as in steel rails, are variously shaped steel rails that boarders and skiers slide along on, and try to do tricks as they exit the rail. The most imporant trick is not to hit the rail with your body.  So this weekend, due to the new configuration of rails at the new location, he and his friend won two $20 prizes, and nearly all of them hurt a finger, a knee, or a leg.  My son came home today and I asked how it went.  He said, "Fine, although I did hurt myself a bit..."  He has a good bruise on his upper leg, and can hardly walk, although the injury occurred early, and he continued to ski on it all day.
I heard an account recently of someone who broke their leg skiing, but didn't know it, and got down the mountain on their own, only went to the doctor that night when the pain was too bad to sleep.
I'm hoping my son can sleep okay tonight...

Feb. 21
I'm finishing up preparations for moving into my doubly expanded pottery workshop.  Although I like most carpentry jobs, I especially like building stuff in a relaxed manner, from scraps of wood, measured by holding it up in place and making a thumb scratch on it.  Fortunately my years of carpentry experience have taught me to do this in a way that the finished shelves or whatever don't collapse.
Today I was building shelves from 2 X 4's to hold 50 lb. buckets of glaze materials.
The most important thing I learned about carpentry came from Buckminster Fuller, who said that triangles are nature's building blocks.  I feel he went a bit overboard, trying to even have a 3 wheeled car (less stable than a 4 wheeled car, where if one wheel leaves the ground, you still have 3 to stabilize it).
Anyway, if shelves are properly braced with rigid triangles securing them, they are likely to be sturdy.

Feb. 22
Today I began abandoning my old pottery.  It forces me to recapitulate my workshop history:

1975: Graduated from college, apprenticed for 2 years with other potters who had their workshop in the basement of a paper shop.  We frequently heard about dust issues from the shop upstairs.

1977: moved onto an old farm in Minnesota with a college pottery friend, where we had a workshop in an old chicken coop.  I remember sleeping in the attic above the shop, and when it rained having to move the mattress so the leaks wouldn't hit it. Also I slept in a teepee and my roommate slept in another chicken coop.  This was primitive.  No running water, no flush toilet.  We did have electricity, and we bought our first electric kiln, used.  I also got married somewhere in the two years there.

1979: moved to Portland,Oregon, set up a workshop in the basement of a church parsonage, part of a Christian group living experience.  I was immediately informed by the church council that I could make pots there, but not sell them from the house.  I think we lasted there about 6 months, but our firstborn was conceived there.

1979: moved to 25 Mile Creek, Washington, sort of an answering service for Holden Village, a remote camp.  Set up workshop in dirt floored entry to the crawlspace under the house.  Found that isolated living isn't good for sales.

1982: moved to Spirit Lake. We bought this little 3 room house on the main street that turned out to be the first building in town.  We started out sleeping in the show room, with the pottery in the bedroom.  After a couple years of that, we added on the current space where the pottery workshop is.

After that we've always been here in the summer, but my wife went to seminary, then took a call to a church 200 miles away, so I added a workshop in the basement of that parsonage so I could work at either place.  A few years ago we moved back to Spirit Lake full time.

All this is to show that it is a big thing to disassemble the focal point of my professional life since the 1980's, even though I'm really just moving into the next room (which didn't exist until about 10 years ago).  I'll try to take pictures of my new workshop tomorrow, assuming I get done moving everything...

Feb.23
So today you can see the new studio at http://sondahl.com/studio2006.html
I suppose it really looks a lot like the old studio, only cleaner, since the same stuff is there...
I spebt a good part of the day trying to remove all the clay from the walls, floor, and ceiling of the old pottery.  Then, when installing a final shelf in the new pottery, I knocked over a bucket of glaze.  Sort of a christening, I guess.

Feb.24
There's a good chunk of brain that likes everything to be in its expected place.  This brain part allows you to walk around in your house in the dark.  It's puzzled by moving to a new pottery workshop, because it has to learn all new routines for where things are.  That means I have to use my conscious brain to find where I put everything for the new pottery.  Eventually I'll be able to do pottery in the dark...

Feb.26
I've added a couple more videos to youtube.com, although since they're only compendiums of images and music from my website, I won't bother to direct you to them.
Ever since I began doing web pages I've done things to promote them, because otherwise, it's not worthwhile to do web pages.  My initial impulse in making a web page was to view the Internet as a big potluck, and the moral person brings something to a potluck as well as taking things away.
The biblical injunction states, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days."  As an aside, that phrase always reminds me of Tom Sawyer, when they thought he was dead and dropped bread loaded with mercury in the water to theoretically help make his body rise from the deeps...  Anyway, by sharing all the things I have on the Internet, I have indeed seen many returns.
Curiously, one of my more popular pages is photos of Spokane, Washington.  Apparently there's not a lot of competition in this area, as my page is ranked high when you search for Spokane on Google.
The point of this is that someone who just bought a mansion type Bed and Breakfast in Spokane liked my photos enough to ask me to photograph their B and B for them when they take possession (and also use some of my Spokane photos on their webpage.  I like taking pictures of buildings (they don't move like birds and other wildlife do...), so it will be an interesting diversion.

Feb. 27
Mondays are the best day for me to ski without messing up my work week, so in spite of the forecast of rain and snow, I went with my indefatigable son skiing today.  Although it looked like snow coming down, it immediately turned to rain on impact with us or our goggles.  There was about 4 inches of fresh heavy snow, enough to make turning a chore on my old knees, and enough that a good deal of the terrain was out of bounds while they blasted for avalanche control.  To make things more interesting, the snow on the bottom half of the resort was extremely sticky/grabby, and each run we could notice the sticky zone moving up the mountain.
We both quit by noon, but agreed this wasn't spring skiing, since it's still adding to the snow pack rather than subtracting from it.  But it's a lot like spring skiing.

Feb. 28
This short month is one of the longest, due to the wintery nature of it.  Also, the year is now a sixth gone, and I haven't even started on last year's taxes yet...
My Shimpo RK-2 potter's wheel, purchased for me as a college graduation present in 1975, is showing signs of age.  The linkage between the foot control and the motor is getting squeaky, and although I turn it on its side and grease likely places every couple years, I can never remember exactly where to grease to fix that problem.  More critical is the motor, which ocasionally makes little grindy noises when idling, telling me a bearing is starting to go bad.  So while it was doing that, I went in to get my wife, so show her that it may be time for a new wheel.  It quit making the noise just as my wife got into the studio, and hasn't since, seemingly for fear of its life.
I was always a fan of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, so I'm hesitant to give up the old machine.  Fortunately the new Shimpo RK Whisper looks and functions just like my old wheel, only quieter.  The old wheel is very nervous...


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