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June 1

Here, as promised yesterday,  is the Mountain Lady's Slipper, named after the white part that resembles a slipper.  The interesting thing is that I've never seen one before, yet it was right along the road I bicycle on, only two blocks from where I mostly look for wildflowers.  The leaves resemble false solomon's seal, so I guess I just overlooked them previously.  Many wildflowers have a short bloom as well--the Lady's Slipper orchid cousin Calypso is long past bloom now.

June 2


native honeysuckle vine from English Point
I got to visit English Point natural area today.  There are a couple miles of trails through very natural woodland (with few invasive species).  It wasn't different enough from our local woods to inspire me to go there again. But the significant thing about English Point is that it is on the list of Forest Service sites that the Bush administration has put up for sale.  When they made the announcement several months ago, the spin was that these sites are marginal and won't affect anybody.  This site is actually prime view property of one of the elite lakes of North Idaho, and the only public park available in the area.  Presumably it will bring a good price at market, but the public's loss will be forever...
There are other unsettling events of today...  Our newest cat has not been seen for 24 hours.  Our other cat has laid on a shelf in the display room all day, without any obvious distress, but oblivious to its favorite sound, the can opener opening tuna...
While I was circling our neighborhood looking for our lost cat, a low rider type pickup truck started down the hill by our house, laying rubber in its acceleration.  The problem with that is that the road curves at the bottom.   I heard a thunk and silence indicating a crash.  The driver apparently figured out that to turn would be to roll, so went straight instead.  I rode down the hill after them on my bike, and saw a 4 inch diameter tree snapped off but no car, as it had taken to the air and landed rightside up 10 feet lower over an embankment.  While calling 911 to report it, I saw the 3 occupants had gotten out of their vehicle,  and they assured me they were fine and not to bother about them.  In my opinion, the truck was going at least double the speed limit, and obviously driving recklessly.  I presume the tree left its imprint on the car, and hopefully the accident will leave a lasting imprint on their minds, that cars are not just fun machines...

June 4
One cat still missing, the other staying at the vet with diabetes...  The car that broke down in S. Dakota with a bad alternator had the alternator light come on again.
In counterpoint to the downer day, I recorded some banjo-guitar videos which are posted at my video links (at top).  It was a lovely day in spite of it all...

June 5
Today it drizzled continuously, with about an inch accumulation.  I went to the Bluegrass Association picnic (wetnic) and jammed for about 3 hours this afternoon, which was considerably better than watching the rain...

June 6
One cat is back from the vet, now with instructions and insulin to treat it for diabetes.  At least it's not as costly as I imagined...
A person stopped by offering to sell me firewood today.  Early June isn't the time you think of getting firewood for winter, but it beats doing it in the snow in late November, so I told him to bring it on...  Our area is growing so fast that I think firewood will become scarce within a few years, although it's still amazing how much gets burned in slash piles.  As fossil fuels become more scarce, eventually anything that burns may become a commodity.  I do feel badly that corn is changing from cheap food to cheap fuel, including stoves designed to burn it, as well as the ethanol plants.  Back when farmers used to dry their corn, on the cob, in cribs, the cobs were used for fuel sometimes--burning hot but briefly.  I remember visiting a friend's cellar in Brookings that had some corn cobs in the (by then) deserted coal bin...  In this rambling reflection, it reminds me of the way heat sources have changed fairly frequently.  I remember liking to sit on the metal grill in my grandparents farm house over the coal stove, and I'd look at the bucket hanging there which supplied a bit of humidity when filled with water.  We were "modern," having the green tank of stove oil in the basement, with a furnace.   The dog and I would share the living room heat register on cold mornings, and I'd play cards with him--games like Crazy 8's and War that need no real thought on the dog's part to play...

June 7
Or mine either, to finish the thought from yesterday...
Today my son and I went to a Woodie Guthrie tribute concert put on by the local public radio station.  Woodie and Leadbelly were the start of a lot of folk musicians, myself included, in spite of neither of them having made any high quality recordings.  Leadbelly took a song from the 1800's and made it into "Irene Goodnight."  Woodie heard Leadbelly's song and made it into "Roll on Columbia."  Nowadays such things are frowned upon by lawyers so it's harder to pay musical homages without lawsuits...  Woodie was more of lyricist than a tunesmith--as Arlo said in the movie accompanying the concert about Woodie's work with the BPA--"In the mystic crystal glitter of its magistical spray, men have fought the pounding waters, and met a watery grave"--where did that come from?

June 8

I'm not a fanatic birder, but this year for some reason I've been more aware of birdsongs than previous ones.  As I stepped out back to go to work this morning, I heard a new song about a block away, so I grabbed my camera and went to look for it.  This was about the best I could get of it, as it was high in a big tree.  When I saw the orange I thought it might be a Bullock's (or Northern) Oriole.  The orange splotch on the back of the head is confusing.  Paging through the bird book later, I realized it might be a Black headed Grosbeak, though it doesn't show the splotch.  I've posted a short movie of it singing at Youtube.com.

June 7
It rained a half inch again today, postponing serious watering for another few days...  The lake remains at full pool.  There were more geese hanging around the mill pond when we walked there this evening than are typical.   For my Minnesota relatives--the mosquitos came out finally last weekend, but I have yet to get the first bite--our mosquitos are not as bloodthirsty as the Minnesota ones...

June 10
I added 5 more guitar videos today, some of which won't show up until tomorrow. The active ones are available off my video page...  It rained just enough to curtail outside activities--hence the videos.  The rain was also good for our local retail sales.  The best order I've gotten recently was for a tiny teaset for a neighbor with two toddler children who like to have tea parties.

June 11

The weather was good for orchard and garden work today--thinning apples, and weeding and picking the first strawberries.  The rhododendrons and peonies are faded, irises are at their peak, the flower fireworks of summer continue.  These wildflowers are nice right now--we call them mariposa lillies because that's the closest we've found in the flower books...

June 12
Because we put up signs asking the city not to spray our areas adjacent to the road for noxious weeds (which are plentiful whether they spray or not), I've felt some compulsion to keep the grass and weeds near the street trimmed low.  Since there are lots of rocks mixed into that area (partially as a result of the city grading the gravel streets), the regular mower complains mightily if used in that vicinity.  So for the last year or so I've been struggling with weed wackers.  Yes, I did get 3 of them from Ebay, all with important defects.  The last one, though, has finally come through for me (that means it runs for 10 minutes without a major meltdown).  Today was a milestone--I bought 10 heavy lines for it ($6.00), and went to work with the Death Ray.  It's a curious thing about weed wackers--they're heavier than the scythes that they replaced, and since you have to hold them pretty steady, it's fairly strenuous to use them.  We still have two of the old style swinging manual weedwackers, and I began to wonder if they weren't really faster and easier.  But there's no trigger to push...  So I got the weeds wacked using only two of the 10 lines ($1.20).  That much money spent on gas would mow our whole lawn...
I know it's a weird world because my shorts were wearing out, and I went to the store to buy shorts, and all the shorts there were more worn out than the ones I was replacing...  I guess guys are too busy sitting around to wear out their own shorts anymore...

June 13
It's two days now I haven't picked up our 3rd car at the mechanics, since he starts late and closes early, and I've been caught up with other things.  It will be nice to temporarily have all 3 cars working again.  So instead of picking up the car, I was glazing two kilnloads of pots this morning, and watching the shop while making quiche and rhubarb pie this afternoon.
One disappointment occurred in opening the kiln this morning.  I'd made a rather large thrown sculpture in the shape of a chocolate chip, but I forgot to poke a little hole in the bottom and it blew up in the firing.  I was planning to glaze it with a gloss brown glaze, then wrap it in aluminum foil.  Maybe I'll try again--maybe not.  I'm not sure people would like a large chocolate kiss in their yard or living room, might make them too hungry...

June 14
The key word about cars yesterday was "temporarily."  After driving one car 50 miles for its 1 week checkup for the transmission, it wouldn't shift into high gear on the way home tonight...  Kind of went with the weather today--over an inch of rain in steady drizzle...  Actually the rain takes care of watering the garden for this week...  And it brought in customers in a steady trickle as well.  It's an ill cloud that doesn't have a silver lining, or something like that...

June 15
A blah day.  Happens sometimes...

June 16
We had a gullywasher today-- 7/10 inch of rain in 10 minutes.  Our old house had about 4 leaks in it, that only open up during deluges.  Some of the leaks were related to windows, as the rain came with a strong wind.  It's turning into a very wet June.
We came up with another idea for the new outside display area, mostly related to how one adds a roof without needing to get a building permit.  The trick is to build it unattached, 10 X 12 feet or smaller, which is okay by local code.  We've been debating how to roof this area for months, so now maybe will move forward on it...

June 17
We've never been ones to buy new furniture.  This is a corollary of the artist vocation... The only new furniture we've bought was a  mattress and box springs to fit a bed frame we were given...  But America is so full of stuff that it's easy to accumulate it.   Our new house has been almost totally stocked with furniture from friends and relatives.  The latest shipment came the other day, of various bedroom furniture.  Interestingly enough, because of its age and style, a lot of the furniture, sorted into rooms, creates an eclectic but similar ambience, such as the Oak room, the Danish Modern room...  This is good, because our property tax valuations came out last week, and we're suddenly a lot richer than we used to be, so the interior decorations reflect this...  Valuations went up an average of 40% in our county last year.  Of course this sense of wealth will be diminished in December when the taxes come out again.  Long time locals are up in arms...   I choose 6 months of smugness--the despair can wait to December...

June 18

It being Father's Day, several nice things related to that happened.  My oldest son always sends me a line drawing card of mountains and trees.  Usually he's here, and my two sons and I go canoeing.  This year he's in grad school, so I just called him by cell phone from the lake, where I took this heron photo in the evening light.  These two annually occurring events (card plus canoe ride) help create the illusion that, like the Mayans, I am living in a cyclical universe rather than a linear one with death at the omega point.
When we got home, there was a cake with "Happy Father's Day" scratched on it.  I had a second piece, and noticed the part I got for seconds said "Fat."  Hmmm.
Earlier I spent two hours playing music at a garden tour party with my bass playing friend Jonathan.  A fine way to spend a nice summer afternoon.  It being Paul McCartney's birthday, we played two Beatles tunes. Or we might have anyway...

June 19
I spent a couple hours today waiting to hear that they didn't know exactly what was wrong with the transmission, but I could throw a couple hundred dollars at it and it might work.  While waiting I walked around an older part of commercial Spokane, and made a webpage to commemorate it.  http://sondahl.com/spratrent.html

I used  two hours weeding and thinning carrots in the big garden today, and was surprised at the time when I was done--it was an hour later than I guessed.  It wasn't exactly fun, but the time flew.
This evening I went to photograph common sunflowers--wild ones, which I only noticed around this area last week.  They're different from the ones grown for seeds in having smaller centers, and the leaves are not as heart shaped...  The photo caught them backlighted near sunset, which accentuates the hairs on their stems.  For some reason they were all turned to the east, perhaps anticipating the morning sun, although that seems implausible to me...

June 22
Things are hopping now as the weather begins to heat up.  Today I set the posts in concrete for the new pottery display area, as the brick patio and rock walkways are approaching completion.  Orders are coming in to keep the pottery flowing as well.  Temperatures are still in the 70's, but expected to hit high 80's in a few days.  Usually by now most of us are swimming (I'm a hold out, not liking cold water too much).  My son went swimming in cold Lake Pend Oreille today, which was the first for any of us.

June 23
The Lady's Slipper orchid  pictured at the June 1st entry is still blooming.  Some orchids have a long bloom life--others are gone in a couple days, like Calypso...  I sanded and linseed oiled my funky display shelves today, and built a couple oak surfaces for one of our kitchens from the leftover oak flooring, in addition to the normal pottery activities.  This weekend is the first big influx of tourists, with the national Ironman competition in Coeur D'Alene, and 3 on 3 basketball Hoopfest in Spokane.  Traffic becomes an issue, so it's a nice weekend to stay home at the lake.

June 24
I got the new shelter done today--pictures will await having the pots on display.  I also took my first swim after roofing it, in the 80 degree afternoon.  This evening I noticed the burn pile behind the hardware had a lot of dimensional lumber, so I loaded our van up with it.  It was mostly 2 X 6's, either good for burning or rough carpentry...  Some of it was redwood--weathered but serviceable.  Then I  recorded two new music videos and uploaded them.  They're the 2nd and 3rd ones on my video page...

June 26
I had to replace a kiln element today.  When I got the kiln new, many years ago, I had someone pick it up for me in Seattle, and in loading it they (totally unfamiliar with it) broke some of the soft brick which lines the interior of the kiln and holds the heating elements in place.  So in one area of the kiln the wires get unruly and end up hanging down into the the main part of the kiln, where they get hung up putting the shelves in and out, and finally break.  When I put in the replacement, I followed my own advice which I dispense on my kiln maintenance page and added some ceramic "roofing nails" to hold the element in place.

June 27

So the new pottery addition is done for now--it's the area on the left side of the photo.  The shelves aren't very deep, so it doesn't add a lot of capacity to the display (I can make deeper shelves another year), but it adds spaciousness to the display, so two groups of people could conceivably shop at once...

June 28
I added a new harmonica solo at Youtube today, called Swedish Rhapsody.   This weekend is usually a big one in our area.  When the 4th falls in the middle of the week, as it does this year, it makes it hard to have a 3 day weekend, so I guess it will be a four day weekend for those who can take it...  I'm still in denial as to what I'll do for the parade this year...

June 29
Today our cat, who is old and diabetic, slept out in the pottery display room and greeted customers, all of whom petted her and commented on what a nice face she has.  As I type, she's in my lap, watching my fingers wiggle.  When she was diagnosed with diabetes (this month, actually), I figured it was all over for her, but we've all adjusted well to the shots, and she seems to be enjoying life more...
I'm still cranking out pots, but am beginning to think there ought to be something more summer related in my life...  Perhaps longer swims, and trips to the mountains or other lakes, are appropriate responses...  I usually get this way when the shelves are full, which they are.  The next month will make deep inroads in them, and I would benefit from continuing to make lots of pots, but it's hard when there's no immediate need...  That's why I slow down in the winters as well...

June 30

I'm ending June with a photo of our garden.  Currently we're enjoying strawberries, green beans, broccoli and spinach.   In the photo you an see a little bit of green beans on the left, 2 1/2 rows of carrots (the sparse half row is lettuce that was interspersed with now-removed spinach) .  Behind the carrots are the cabbage family, and behind them the raspberries, ending at the trees.

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