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Brad's Blog

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July 2 2013


This photo of a parent robin and two of her chicks is given a yellow cast by being in the shadow of our pale yellow house.  The nest is built on top of the backyard light.  I think I may build some platforms under the eaves in a few places to provide robins and similar nesters a better place to nest. For now it's amazing to look at the little chicks straining for food, all mouth...
    We don't have any air conditioning,  since for the most part we can keep comfortable by opening the windows at night, and closing them and the shades in the daytime.  The current spate of near record temperatures is testing is--it's 90 inside at 6:30 pm as I write this...  Fortunately we also have the lake to cool off in.
    Our feral cat Manxome comes in regularly with our other cat twice a day to eat, but flinches from the slightest touch.  Here he is by some of the catnip that's also feral in our garden:

He has a sweet face, and he and our other cat get along well together (if they didn't we would have more actively discouraged him).   Since petting is one of the main ways to relate to a cat (besides feeding), it's interesting having a nonpettable cat...
    My son saw a bluetailed skink just outside of the pottery yesterday, and I opened the garage door to get out our riding mower, the action resulting in making a small rubber boa snake squirm where it had been against the door.  Summer is raging in all its glory...

July 5
Here's the annual 4th parade picture of me riding my bicycle playing neck-brace harmonica lighting off smokebombs with a bunch of balloons tied onto me...

It used to be that I was the only music in the festival.  For the last couple years a drum corps has been near the front of the parade, but fortunately all the police and firetrucks  and a couple convertibles gave me a goodly distance from them...
    Immediately after the parade I did a short musical set, turning the mic over to Rod Erickson, and then George Bruner, before doing two more hours to entertain the vendors till it was time for them to pack up.  I ended up with 3 park gigs in Spirit Lake this summer--a repeat in the big park as a likely ill fated "Bluegrass and Art in the Park" later this month, and a 4 hour free concert outside our local library...

July 9
    A young guy stopped by today selling Cello music door to door. I told him that was a novel idea... It seemed a bit like a Monty Python sketch... "Hello, need any cello music today?" "Arrk, no, could do with a bit of timpani. What flavor is your cello?" "All sorts--licorice, pistachio." "Ooh, could do with a bit of onion style cello." "Fresh out of onion--how about a bit of spam flavored Strauss with genuine Sousaphone accents?" "Oh, no, can't abide waltz time... What have you got in Beethoven?"
    I did buy a couple CD's and his music was very pleasant...
    The summer continues very busily.   The first raspberries have been picked, but it's only a bowlful--the next few weeks will be loaded with them.  I built a couple of tall sprinklers for the garden from old galvanized pipes, with a flat tripod on the bottom using a couple of T connections, and the hose running in one of the legs and out the top to a sprinkler.   These sprinklers will not be flummoxed by 5 foot high corn...
    Pottery sales have been brisk (and continue up 10% from last year), but an opportunity to rent the Chamber of Commerce sign came up, so I put up an ad last evening.  I'm sure it was a total coincidence that we had no customers at all this morning...  You never know how effective advertising is going to be.  I'm sticking with the closest possible--the sign two blocks away on the highway--over print or the tv ads I had running last year on a local time-share condo's cable system...  On the whole, our visibility on our newly refurbished Maine St., plus many years of building a customer base, have kept our sales growing...

July 12
We're still swimming every day, but today was cool enough (80) that it was optional...  The lake remains warm, the air a bit cool when coming out of the water.
    I've been working long hours (for me, around 6 per day) making pottery.  This is the time to "make hay while the sun shines."  (That's another old expression that probably means nothing to most people today).   
    It's also the time to eat lots of peas from the garden...

July 14
    I played our one lucrative private party of the year last night, with 3 other good musicians, and we sounded pretty much like a band, which is good, since we've never practiced together.  It does help that I've played with the bassist Jonathan for around 10 years...  Because its feast or famine with me for playing, I usually coat my fingertips with liquid bandage before playing for several hours.  I forgot to do this last night, and it felt okay at the time, but playing for church today it felt like the fingers had been meat tendorized...
    After church we went to the tiny beach by the museum at Luby Bay on Priest Lake, where the museum  had an exhibit on rum running and moonshining during Prohibition.  The display described how the whiskey was made up at Priest Lake (from cornflakes and sugar--didn't specify if it was just milled corn or breakfast cereal), then exported to Spokane, where it was sold under the counter at the premier Davenport Hotel...  That was kind of stretch, when I imagined the drab lumber mill that hid the still, and the elegant frippery of the Davenport...
    The raspberries are coming on fast, so we'll probably start selling them this week...

July  18
    The potter's wheel my parents gave me as a college graduation gift is wearing out after 37 years and at least 100,000 pots.  Some metal parts in it are worn thin, and the company no longer makes the rubber wheel that makes the wheel go.  So the same company that made that wheel have stuck with the basic shape of the wheel, but made it really quiet. So I've slowly set my eye on that wheel.  I'd heard that a Sandpoint area potter had sold a "Whisper" wheel to someone who might not want it, so I went and checked out the wheel today.  It wasn't a Whisper, but a wheel about as clunky as my current one,  although many years newer. So I plan to buy a new Whisper wheel to be my last wheel when I go over to the Seattle area for a godchild's wedding.
    Our feral but increasing well fed cat was hanging out in the living area after his meal, and found a fake mouse on a string I play with our other cat with.  Moby got interested as soon as he saw Manxome playing with it.  Moby is a string cat--can't resist playing with a string. So he played with the string end while Manxome played with the mouse...
    Raspberry update--a potter friend came and bought all the berries I picked today...  Otherwise we're mostly selling them one small box at a time...  Those that we don't eat, of course...

July 24
Six days later and we've got raspberries coming out the kazoozah.  This is partially the result of a 3 day trip we took to the San Juan Islands to attend a godchild's wedding...  
    This was the first I'd heard of "destination weddings," where everyone goes someplace exotic for the event.  It did help pique our interest in attending, since we'd only been on San Juan Island briefly about 30 years ago when we went there to register our son who was born on the next island over...  Hmm, hard to stick to one topic in a paragraph...
    We went over to the coast on the North Cross Highway State 20, which goes through the North Cascades:
North Cascades

I snapped this as we drove by this lush green mountain, with a cascade running down through the green...


    We took the ferry from Anacortes, and it was nearly sunset when we boarded.  This is Mt. Baker in the background, looking large from telephoto zoom...
Puget Sound
These are some of the small islands of the San Juan group with a cabin cruiser.


We had one day on the island, culminating in the wedding in the late afternoon. When we got to the beach at the American Camp (San Juan was dually occupied by the British and the Americans in a land dispute in the 1860's,)  We found this 4 inch eel in the dry sand where it had apparently dropped out of a bucket after being collected by a child we saw leaving as we arrived.  Here it is washing the sand off, and I think it survived.


The cauliflower like lump in the lower right is a very disguised crab...


We were fortunate to arrive at the beach at low tide, and saw this small colored sea star that we'd never seen before, on the temporarily dry kelp... We also walked around the lovely British Camp area, but had to leave to arrive at Roche Harbor for the wedding.


This picture gives the setting as the bride and groom listen to one of those inspirational readings people tend to stick in weddings...
The setting was lovely, with a beautiful garden surrounding it, and the harbor just behind the artistic driftwood wedding hoop (which they tend to stick in weddings also).
   On the way home, we picked up clay and A NEW POTTER'S WHEEL, which I've been too busy to unpack yet...

July 30
    This is the busiest time of summer...  I got the new potter's wheel rolling.  I'm not happy with the smaller sized plastic scrap catcher and table to set tools on--I think I'll make my own from plywood when things slow down...  Since the last blog, I played music for a farmer's market in Spokane in 95 degree weather, and a small outdoor concert for our community library over the weekend.  
    My son and his wife are visiting, and since Susa's very interested in bird photography, we wasted no time before walking around the Mill Pond today stalking birds.  We saw kingfishers, flycatchers, and a bunch of little brown jobbers (LBJ's) that are hard to identify.  They got some good pictures of a yellow bird (warbler, I think), and also of some hummingbirds (but they were nondescript females and thus hard to classify).
    We've sold over $1000 in the last two days, and all the boxes of supplementary pottery I started with in the summer are empty, as are some of the shelves.  So I'm also working hard producing more pots in the month-long push before Labor Day.   Summer time, and the living ain't easy...

July 31
Best photo from a canoe trip at the west end of Spirit Lake:
immature double crested cormorant
This  young cormorant found his own little niche--the only one of his kind I've seen on Spirit Lake.  The adults are black...


Books read and other media of note
Year Zero by Rob Reid An entertaining humorous sci fi "what if" about how much the rest of the universe LOVES our music.

High Country by Nevada Barr  
This was a fairly straightforward mystery set in Yosemite N.P.  Barr tends to get overly caught up in the private life of her park ranger detective--this one somewhat less so.  

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