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June 1
    It didn't rain today since early morning, but I should have revised up to 1.5 inches the rain we had ending yesterday, and more expected through the week.
    I went to a new jam today in Coeur D'Alene.  I've been thinking, a jam is to music like aerobics is to ballet...  But I go to jams as one might go to an aerobics class, to give my fingers and voice a workout.  It's hard to inspire myself to play for two hours steady, but at a jam that can be done pretty easily, even if the music is mostly lowest common denominator...
    I had to pay the sales tax on our "new" car today.  It came to more than I used to pay for my first used cars, back in the old days.

June 2
We went to the public radio Underwriter's Thank You concert in Spokane,  and it was very enjoyable brass music from the Spokane Falls Brass Band playing a reunion concert.  The music spanned 150 years of American popular music, and although differently instrumented than the folk style I prefer,  fine music all the same.


June 3
We got another inch of rain yesterday--today was my first chance to mow the lawn in 3 weeks, so I mowed.  I also went for a walk to check out the wildflowers--most of the spring ones are gone except phlox and lupines, but the main one up on the ridge is rock penstemon, which grows in bouquets out of the rocks, and looks particularly nice this year with the wet May:
rock penstemon picture from this year...rock penstemonpicture from another year...

    The wind blew after the rain ended last night, and our front door is a bit tricky and didn't get shut tight, so it was open this morning, letting the house approach the ambient temperature.  More significantly, we've gotten two new cats, a result of a friend's having to move away, and they are by no means acclimated to their new station in life.  So I checked around everywhere and finally located the cats in the house, breathing a sigh of relief.  
    Later I set off to the pottery, and forgot to slam the door tight.   The door came open, and one of the cats, named Stumpy as it was born with only a partial front paw on one side,  got out.  I haven't really gotten on close terms with either cat yet, but this one had consented to eat a few treats from my hand, as opposed to the other cat, Velcro, which mostly goes where I am not.  But by imitating the cat's former owner's whistle, I caught the wayward stumpy, and ascertained that the fleeting Velcro was still safe inside.

June 4

    Another day, another 3/4 inch of rain.  There's promise of a gap tomorrow, which is good since we're doing a farmer's market, including music.  It's still taking two days for the pots to dry enough to foot and add handles to.
    One would think with all the worms and bugs the birds wouldn't be needing bird feeders, but ours has been seeing a lot of use, from more varieties than we have in the winter.
    I transplanted about half of the tomatoes out to the garden yesterday, the rest will be as soon as I find time.  

June 6
    The rest of the tomatoes went out yesterday, just in time for the drizzle today to help get their roots set.  The farmer's market was a bit slow, but better than the first week.  We're committed for the season, so it's all an experiment.  Sales at the market were about half of what we sold from our shop on the same day.  We did sell all the spinach we brought, which was grown in our green house.   I immediately replanted tomatoes in their place.
    The irises are finally opening in our garden--it will be a few days till they're really photogenic.  Things are slow this year--the lilacs are just finishing their blooming.
    The main crop of carrots are just up in the garden--I spent over an hour thinning one wide row of them (3 more rows left).  Each row will yield several hundred carrots, or it would be hard to justify the time.  The time went quicker since I listened to music on headphones while doing it.  When I worked in the fields as a teenager, it was just prior to the invention of the Sony walkman, so we had to tough it out without background music.  Whether driving, working in the pottery, or gardening, I like having music or talk radio (NPR) going, although I know I'm missing some bird calls and other enjoyable nature bits when I do.  The world is full of choices...   It is fascinating to see how dependent most people have become on their own bit of electronics, be it cell phone, blackberry, mp3 player, or whatever.  

June 7
    I got back to the glazing/firing part of my pottery cycle today, and the weather got back to "very nice."  I'd left a couple loads of wash out on the line since Saturday, which included the drizzle Sunday, but they got dried easily by noon today.
    There's only one comfortable chair in the pottery compound, and it's always a toss-up who gets it, between the cats and me.  The new cat, Stumpy, has, like the others figured out this as "the catbird seat," and takes its turn on the seat like the rest of us.  There have been a few growls, but no cat fights, so that's doing well, where cattiness is concerned.

June 8
stumpy
   
    Here's Stumpy, at home on the comfortable chair.  He has a flat Persian face, not so obvious from this photo, but the first I've encountered in our catscapades.
    I got the rest of the carrots thinned out--the last 3 rows together went quicker than the first one--they weren't planted as thickly (I had a garden apprentice who figured out the proper density after using half of the 10,000 seed packet on the first row).
    In the pottery I was back to making French butter dishes, bowls, and plates, and colanders, and firing a glaze kiln.
    One of the side effects of having our van die in Iowa was that a some components for the van were still here in Idaho, such as rear seats and snow tires. I got rid of the seats last week with a free ad (free both to me the poster, and the item going free to the collector) on Craigslist.  Our new van has different radius tires, so the snow tires went on the list today, and I had 6 responses within a couple hours--not bad for summer.  We'd been storing some snow tires for 5 years for some relatives--they turn out to be the right size for the new van, so I think their storage days are over (the relatives aren't desirous of them any longer, anyway)..

June 10
    Yesterday was the kind of day where I ended up replacing a faucet that wouldn't drip, after separately learning that our kitchen faucet sometimes drains down to our sump pump, contributing a ripe odor to our basement.   I would have fixed that today, but I had two meetings and two trips to Coeur D'Alene.  
    The first meeting was the local Chamber of Commerce.  I learned that plans are on hold for the far side of the Mill Pond (till the economy improves), but the former Sedlmayer resort is undergoing redevelopment with plans for a year round restaurant and seasonal RV space rentals.  I also volunteered to supervise kids bouncing on an inflated castle at an upcoming business fair  (what that has to do with business, I don't know).  Our chamber has a new golf cart converted to a Slurpee machine, which we got  a free sample of.  I also learned that some of the area between the roads at Spirit Shores is city park land.
    The second meeting was my first as president of our local pottery group.  Due to the skills of others in the group (like a secretary who takes good notes), the meeting went well.  I'm having a handle workshop in a week and a half for members of the group.
    It rained another 3/4 inch yesterday, and a few showers today, with high in the 50's.  It wasn't bad, for a day in early May, which just shows one should keep one's sense of perspective.

June 12
irises
    The weather people assure us this has been close to record for both cold and rain over the last month.  I believe it, but we're having a couple great days currently.  This photo is how our flower garden looks currently--mostly irises and columbine.
    In my not so copious spare time, I'm converting one of those bike trailers for kids, which was given us by a friend, into a garden cart.  Mostly I had to strip off the old nylon coverings and extra gadgets, and add a plywood box and handles.  I'll probably post a photo when finished.

June 14
    It started with moving our 50's fridge to the front of the pottery, with a mind to selling our extra garden stuff, such as spinach and flowers.
I took down the current "seconds" shelf to make the fridge fit.  (This is the fridge featured in the Grandfather's Fridge video)  Then it became obvious that the fridge stands out like a sore thumb.  But now we've moved it under our tree house, and I'm starting to make new shelves for that area and repaint the front of the old pottery building (probably the first repainting it's had in 100 years).
    One of our god children came to visit, with our first "god grand baby" or whatever you might call it.  They're on their way to hang out in Minnesota for the summer, before her husband becomes a teacher in the Alaskan outback.  It sounds very adventurous to us sedate oldsters...

June 15
    I seem to have a few projects going, but the one that got done today was the sandbox for our cabin, a joint effort with our renters.  A couple years ago someone dumped off a thick plastic ring which was the sides of a cheap vinyl swimming pool, 3 feet high, by 30 feet or more in circumference.  I saved it, thinking it would be good for something.  It ended up cut up and laid in the bottom of the sandbox as a barrier between the sand and the dirt.
    We also had our book group, which discussed the Checklist Manifesto, a surgeon's argument for use of checklists in complicated tasks like modern surgery.  Being summer, with a lot of stuff happening, only half of us had finished the book (and I wasn't one of them).  I could have read it last weekend but it wasn't on a to do list...

June 16
    I worked on glazing a couple kiln loads today, then I went to town this afternoon to get wood for the new display shelves.  It was drizzly all day, so that cut down on outside activities.

June 17
    I got the two sides that show painted on the pottery building today, in spite of constant drizzle.   (The canopy sheltered me from the rain, if not the dank cold).
    This is a good time for the Maine St. report.  There are currently 4 restaurants, 3 bars, one hardware (Esterlys have decided not to sell), two antique stores, a physical therapist, a second hand store, and Sondahl pottery in the two main blocks of downtown Spirit Lake.  The woman who started one of the antique stores and the second hand store is in process of opening another second hand store across the street, making it look like she's got all the grey spaces in the Monopoly game.  This should be good for tourists wandering into our area, as well as good used stuff for locals.
   
June 18
    I built the replacement display shelves today.  Both our cars were in use, so I spent a lot of time bicycling from our home woodshop to the pottery shop and back with pieces of wood.
It turned nice during the day.  Yesterday we needed a fire in the stove all day to keep the place warm, and it rained an inch.  Today the morning fire got the place up to 78 inside, although outside the high was around 70.  The weather people assure us it was unusually cold this spring, with the same highs yesterday that we had on a couple days in February.

 June 19
    It was a fine day today, perfect for the farmer's market and the Spokane garden show, that we were involved in.  The Rathdrum farmer's market had to move to another part of the park due to all the grass in half of the park being killed by some wrong herbicide application.  Since farmer's markets tend to feature chemical free produce, the irony was not lost on us...
    For the garden show, we were to be the closing act at one of the locations, and from past experience there aren't a lot of people there even by the middle of the day.  It's a tour of local flower gardens, with a ticket which accesses all, and booths selling gardeny products and musicians.  But the day was so nice and sunny that there were still quite a few people coming through while we were there.   Jonathan the bassist brought a friend with him who played guitars, so for about half the time he sat in with us playing guitar while I played banjo guitar.  It made the time go appreciably faster.

June 20
    There was some cool and rain this morning, but it didn't interfere with most activities, including the Big Back In lawnmower races that happen in front of our shop.  We had other things on the agenda, so we only profited from the experience rather than thrilling to the action ourselves.
    In the afternoon, as a Father's Day activity, we went canoeing on Upper Twin Lake
The area looked like this old photo of the bog there, except the skies were all grey and the wind seemed to blow into our faces both ways. It's better to decide to canoe on a perfect canoe day, than to canoe on any particular day.  Still it was a nice lazy Father's Day, and my son Birrion gave me two seasons of Red Dwarf, a comedy BBC sci fi series from days of yore, so I've much to look forward to.


June 21
    I had to go to a meeting about a fundraiser for local nonprofits today, the first price paid as president of the potter's guild.  The biggest issue at the meeting was whether to sell the donated items at silent auction or use raffle tickets.   After some discussion, we voted to stick with the silent auction. Then someone noticed that on the tickets for the event we were just handed out, it specified there would be a silent auction.  There was some expression of relief that we didn't change to a raffle...
    We had another inch of rain today--greenness oozes everywhere, and mushrooms are rampant.  The natives are getting restless, making comments like--might as well move to Seattle (which is, of course, frequenly rainy).  Except that it interferes with summer activities, too much rain is far better around here than too little...
    I started cranking out pots again--we sold a lot over the last weekend.  From here on out, every weekend in the summer is some sort of significant crowd bringer locally, like the Iron Man competition in Coeur D'Alene this weekend, and the 3 on 3 basketball competition in Spokane.  We catch crumbs from those events, as well as people actually coming here for our fine lake.

June 22
    After spending most of the day dealing with the pots from yesterday, I did some weeding in the strawberries and found a few ripe ones. Our main crop of spinach is getting ripe, so it's time to clean the freezer and start fresh for next winter.  But that didn't happen today...  Meanwhile the pole beans I planted in the green house are flowering, and with warmer weather finally appearing our squash plants may quit hibernating.

June 23


These are some of the mushrooms growing in our irises.  Some of them are about 8 inches across.
    Aside from throwing lots of pots today, I spent most of the afternoon moving our lighted sign from a tree to the post on the corner of our display area.  This moves it forward about 10 feet, and will hopefully make it more visible.  
    Today was finally shorts weather, and possibly even open the house at night to cool it off weather.
    I've mentioned Stumpy the cat previously, who has adapted marvelously to our life of snoozing in comfortable chairs.  The other new cat, Velcro, was AWOL and presumed missing in action, until this evening when our oldest cat started hissing at it where it was hiding under our porch.  Before it originally disappeared, it stayed behind the washer all the time, so the porch might be an improvement--more room to lurk.  I put out a bowl of food for him.

June 24
    Another fine day--the business fair happened in perfect weather, but the bouncy castle I was supposed to oversee didn't make it, so I was just a spectator at the proceedings.       
    I have a workshop on Saturday on making handles,  so I'm attempting a once a year or so pottery cleaning.  Working with clay makes for dust and spatters, and if I thoroughly cleaned up after every spatter, I'm convinced I'd never get any work done, so the work shop is generally a little crusty around the edges.  Now it's a little less crusty.

June 25
    I had a very nice birthday celebration today, including eating dinner out at The Wolf Lodge Inn, a rustic steak house near Lake Coeur D'Alene, then after supper hiking a 3.3 mile trail up a 600 foot ridge to view the sunset from high above the lake.  I also got a new bicycle with all the features a bicycle should have--handle bars bent to fit your hands, fenders, and a comfortable seat.  It also has just one derailleur with 7 speeds possible.  That's plenty.

June 26
    I had five local members of our clay group attend my workshop on handles and slip decoration today.   We sat around and chatted after lunch for an hour or more, and I think a good and educational time was had by all.   The weather continues to be great, and sales have been quite good as well.  Ahh, summer.

June 27
    We're only doing the farmer's market every two weeks (that's their schedule), and produce hasn't done well for us there (or anything else, except maybe publicity).   But I mention this because our main crop of spinach is ready NOW, and will probably be flowering by next weekend's market, so I cut and parboiled and froze half the crop (about 18 sandwich sized Glad bags)  and gave some away to friends and neighbors.  It's planted interlaced with carrots, with the idea that when the spinach is done, the carrots will use the space.  We're still planting a new bed with potatoes--it's very late, but they grow fast.  It was also the first day to pick strawberries enough to save and eat--about a pint. With all the rain this month they're mostly looking pretty good.

June 28  
The weather was up in the 80's today, so we took our first swim across the Mill Pond.  I'm a wimp where cold water is concerned, but after 20 yards or so I adjusted and it was very pleasant.
    I'd heard on the radio last week how a young man drowned canoeing a stretch of river near here that I've always wanted to try.  Apparently the current was stronger than expected due to open flood gates at the dam, due to all the rain we've gotten this month.  That would have been the end of the story for me, but it turns out he lived nearby in Spirit Lake, and liked my pottery, so I was asked by his family to make a pair of urns for his ashes.  I do remember meeting him with his three young daughters recently.    So I volunteered to make them for free, feeling in touch with my own daughter's tragic death not that many years ago from a car accident.   And  I also felt, from my own canoe adventures, that it could have been me...

June 29
    It was another splendid day, but I have to make pots when the sun shines, since over half of my income comes from the summer, so I cleaned up pots from yesterday, glazed a kilnload, and fired two kilns, then threw several dozen pots this afternoon.  But it was nice to do it all in shorts with a nice warm breeze blowing in the workshop.
    Our flower garden is progressing out of irises and columbine, into poppies and daisies and tiger lilies.  It still looks great...

June 30
     Lately, in spite of generally warm temperatures, Moby the cat has been sleeping on a porch futon curled up in a tight ball.  So I took a photo today and posted it to the Lolcats site:  
http://cheezburger.com/View/3702055168
    It was indeed a bit cooler today, back to long sleeves, in fact, good working weather, and I'm still churning out pottery to try to keep up with current demand.
    I've mentioned previously about how one of my kilns (the newer one) resists starting, due to some problem with a little wire spring that's supposed to catch the button in that I push to start it.  So today I had the idea of looping a noose of fishing line around the wimpy spring, and pulling on the fishline when I push in the button.  If the fishline doesn't melt, it looks to be a good solution to a rare problem.

Books read and other media of note
The Man Upstairs and other Stories by P.G. Wodehouse These are totally non series short stories, of his classic, boy meets girl, they overcome humorous obstacles, and go off into the sunset style.  He usually tried for an O. Henry twist in the ending.

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande  
A well presented argument for using checklists in our increasingly complicated world, particularly in the author's area of expertise, surgery.   I use them for groceries and art fairs myself...

The Cobra Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
 I guessed by the cover this was a military SF book, and it is, in part, about a man augmented to be a high tech weapon, but it passed over most of the military action in favor of how he had to cope when he finished with the space commandos.  This is early Zahn,  employing a lot of detail to make the story more believable, but in the process making it more wordy.



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