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Brad's Blog

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Feb. 2
       Now that our house is "ours" again, we have a few major projects to accomplish, like laying hardwood floor and replacing some doors and windows.
Last Fall we became worried that our bathroom wall was getting damaged by moisture, which led us to tear off a 4 X 4 feet area of sheetrock.  There was no rot, but we then discovered there was a 4 X 4 foot hole in our sheetrock :-).   We decided to use some old oak tongue and groove to fix the wall.  There's quite a history to that wood...  We bought it about 30 years ago from Brown Lumber in Spokane to use as a divider in our tiny bedroom.  It had been oak lavatory stalls in some classy old building.   At some point we tore down the divider, and used it for some other projects, but always could reuse it with some sanding and varnishing.  So now it's back in the bathroom again.
    This morning our old kiln suffered the same fate as the new one had a couple months ago--having the main switching area burn out.  So I'm awaiting parts, but it's still fairly fresh in my mind what I need to do to fix it...

Feb. 3
Gaiser Conservatory Spokane
At any time of the year it's nice to visit the conservatory in Spokane, but particularly so in February, when everything seems white or gray.  The people who care for the plants are frequently making new displays, such as mixing these spring bulbs in with their perennials...

Feb. 6
    


We went walking along Lamb Creek yesterday after church.  I found out the snow is still up to my knees there (it's only about 4 inches deep in Spirit Lake).  The combination of freezing temperatures and running water makes for the globs of ice on the branch, and ice encrusted mossy rock as well.  
    The kiln I fix managed to have one loose wire, so the last firing was partly underdone...  Fortunately it was in the bottom elements, which are the easiest to service.  I fixed that today and refired the kiln successfully, as well as loading a bisque and throwing a bunch of pots.
    In the afternoon I worked on insulating near the ceiling of the basement of our house, where I figured out a couple years ago there was only a 1.5 inch piece of 2 X 8 between the basement and the cold cruel world.  So I added 6 inches of insulation, then started the process of containing the insulation in a way that mice won't colonize...
    This evening there was a really great sunset as we walked on the lake, but I didn't bring a camera...   As we walked back towards the public access in the dark, we saw a doe with a yearling fawn  crossing the ice in front of us...

Feb. 7
    We made a point of walking out on the lake at sunset tonight again, this time with camera.  The days seemed identical--clear skies both days, but this evening there were no high cirrus clouds to catch the sunset colors, and it was almost colorless.   It just shows that each day is unique...  I'm making caramels this evening, just to make the day a bit more unique (and of course because we really like caramels).

Feb. 8
    I'd heard that the robins returned a week or so ago, and cleaned out our mountain ash berries in a hurry.  But today is the first I'd seen of them--50 or more, perching in fruit trees eating the shriveled up fruits hanging there.  It's hard to imagine they will find enough to make it to Spring, but then the snow cover may be gone in a few weeks. It doesn't seem that way this evening, since we're getting more than a light covering of snow.
    After the usual pottery work and some work on the other house, I decided to continue recording hymn tunes on the guitar.  I uploaded 11 of them to Youtube, will probably do the links tomorrow...

Feb. 10  Here are the latest video links.
There's a Wideness in God's mercy
On Christ the Solid Rock
Rock of Ages (Toplady tune)
Love Divine All Loves Excelling (Hryfrydol
Land of Rest (Jerusalem my Happy Home…
It is well with my Soul …
I know that my Redeemer Lives …
All Hail the Power (tune Coronation) 
Who is this host. arrayed in white? 

I had the pottery group meeting yesterday, otherwise just working and playing...

Feb. 11
Orders are coming in, and pots are selling--not necessarily Valentine's Day related, but it's nice to see business pick up...
The weather has turned to drizzle, with a forecast of drizzle, and drizzle.  Drizzle...

Feb. 13
    Yesterday I went to see the film Hugo in 3D.  I'd read the book when I found it on the shelves when I was a children's librarian... It's a remarkable book--all black and white drawings with a minimum of text.  The movie breathes 3D life into the book, but doesn't really add an extra dimension to the vision of the author.  It also resonates with my own interest in the early cinema, and was pleased to see Harold Lloyd featuring prominently in one of the movie clips shown of the old cinema.
    Today I worked again at the gallery in Sandpoint.  They sent out a financial statement showing how the gallery's sales have done yearly over the last few years--by dividing it out by the number of members and figuring the average, it may be that this wasn't the most astute financial arrangement I've made.  But I can always hope that I'm above average...   With pre-Valentine sales, it was a brisk day for sales, so the time went a little quicker than on the last time I was there.  I also did remember to bring my guitar and played for an hour or so...

Feb. 15
We went walking on the lake ice yesterday, and it had a coat of frosty snow which made it generally less slippery, although at one point I went down flat on my back without warning (to no noticable harm).   So today I came back and bicycled around on it without slipping once...  
    We saw the snowshoe hare again the other day--we always in the same area  within a hundred yards or so.   We also saw a coyote standing in a field on the way home from church.  We hear them nearly nightly here in Spirit Lake, but never see them here...
I've added 3 more Grateful Dead songs to Youtube:
Black Muddy River
Ripple
Friend of the Devil

Feb. 18
    Winter's been taking another stab at existing, with over an inch of snow per day, but it's warm enough in the days to melt away off the roads, which is good. This is typical March weather.
    I've been firing two kilns a day for most of this week, and my clay supply may run out next week, so I'm hoping the weather improves for a trip to the coast...
    Tonight I helped with sound at the Bluegrass Showcase again.  I do enjoy assisting, but don't feel competent to run the board myself, not liking to feel responsible for the occasional feedback and poor miking that seem to come with the job.  After the job, it was snowing harder in Idaho, building up on the road.  I was stuck behind a car going about 20 miles per hour.  I finally found a good place to pass, and I made a point of seeing the make of auto I was following, because I thought it said "Intrepid" which didn't fit the driver.  It was indeed an "Intrepid"...

Feb. 19
The photos from the last bluegrass showcase are now up at http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBAFeb2012.html
 We got another 3 inches of snow overnight, but the roads, perhaps due to deicer, were good for driving to church... Afterwards we walked along the lake at the Woodrat area, which is nicer than it sounds.  The only woodrats we saw were squirrels.

 Feb. 21
    I started laying hardwood floor in our last bedroom to receive it today.  That room had only had subfloor particle board (after we'd removed the carpeting) which we'd painted with an accidental mixture of latex and oil based paints...  (I'd always thought something bad would happen if you mix them, but actually it just took longer to dry and was really quite durable).   The prefinished flooring is pretty easy to apply--the only innovation I do is to predrill holes in the tongues for the finishing nails, as opposed to most people renting a nail gun...  I have a jig set up on my father's old drill press to hold the floor boards at the correct angle and position for the holes.
    It rained through most of the day, so the recent snows have compacted to slush, and it really feels like March now...

Feb. 23
    We drove over to Seattle and back to get clay today.  With the 5 hour drive, it was still possible to have lunch with friends and walk along the waterfront downtown before heading back and arriving home at 9.   You get a lot of different scenery on the trip--from desert to snowy mountains to early spring flowers blooming in the Emerald City.  At the Columbia River, there's a set of steel sculptures in honor of wild horses.  On the way home, less than 10 miles from the sculpure, as the evening sky dimmed, I saw a solitary horse trotting happily along the ridge in a scrub area that appeared to be unfenced.  I doubt it was a wild-from-birth horse--more likely an escapee from somewhere, but it was fun to see...

Feb. 25
    It snowed overnight and all day today--around 6 inches of wet snow, with more expected...  Just when we were getting used to the lack of winter...
    I finished the hardwood floor project in the bedroom, and used the leftover pieces of flooring as baseboards, after ripping off their tongues and routing a smooth curve on the top of the boards.

Feb. 27
    On Sunday we went to church at Priest Lake and the Symphony in Spokane in the afternoon--these higher gas prices are hard on us rural folks... But we also went to see Hugo 3D (I for the second time) and it really is a delightful movie.
    Back home on Monday, I mixed a batch of glaze and glazed a kiln load this morning, and worked on finishing a bathroom at the house in the afternoon.
    It's about as cold as it's gotten overnight--15 degrees, and barely scraped above freezing today.  But the plus side is that the sky was lovely bright blue today, so I did get a walk in on the lake...
    Then I saw an inquiry at a folk music site for information on the folk song, "Deep Blue Sea," and was surprised to find I hadn't uploaded my version of it, so I did that in the late afternoon: Willy and the Deep Blue Sea

Feb. 29
We got 5 inches of snow last night, and this evening it's snowing steadily again.   In spite of the long hiatus in midwinter, we're apparently now back to normal snowfall for the winter.
    I glazed and fired two kilnloads today in addition to trimming the pots from yesterday.  The shelves are getting full, so I'll have to start making extras of the popular items and storing them in boxes. I also have to keep reminding myself (to remain motivated to work) that full shelves now doesn't translate to full shelves in August...

Books read and other media of note
Hugo (3D) film.  I had read the graphic novel this film is based on several years ago, and it looked like the storyboard mock-up they make for movies, and was about the history of cinema, so it was a shoe-in that someone would make a movie of it, but Brian Seltznick was lucky they made a movie this good (as opposed to Janet Evanovich, whose Stephanie Plum movie apparently was a turkey)...  It's got everything going for it--historical, comedy, romance, pathos,  and special effects.

American Fairy Tales by Frank Baum
Although not at his peak form as in many of the Oz books, he cooks up some very creative short stories in this collection.

Autobiography of Buffalo Bill
Although some of his feats such as his eponymous slaughter of buffalo seem brutal by today's standards, he makes a few efforts to show some compassion, and although always self-aggrandizing, he's a good story teller.  Know anyone else who was a pony express rider,  wagon train outrider, army scout, and Wild West showman?

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang  
An interesting mix of classic fairy tales and more contrived  contemporary ones from this old book.

River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Fascinating if brutal portrayal of the Theo. Roosevelt expedition to follow an unknown river in Brazil, nearly leading to his death...  

Midnight in Paris
(Film, written and directed Woody Allen).   I wouldn't have thought of Owen Wilson for a stand-in for Woody Allen, but I can imagine Woody delivering the lines Wilson uses...  It helps to have a good backgound in art history for this one, which I did...

Moonfleet by John Meade Falkner (1898)  A bit of The Count of Montecristo, a bit of Robert Louis Stevenson, one of the more popular free reads for Kindle.  The girl's role is a bit weak--just to keep a light in her window for 10 years or so...  It was surprisingly amoral with its toleration of whiskey smuggling and siding against the local authorities...



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