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Brad's Blog

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June 1,2011

bison calf
Here's a baby bison picture from Yellowstone Park, as it was just ready to cross the road in front of our car.  
    The elementary talent show performance today with my 6 year old neighbor Dahlia went very well.  I think she got the loudest applause of all, since she was better at singing (particularly on pitch)  than most of the other contestants.  The most interesting concept performer was a 3rd grader who demonstrated how to tie a fly (no one could see what he was doing, but still, what a talent!).  Most typical was the singer who could sing all the lyrics to some pop song, but without the elaborate accompaniment they tended to sound a bit silly...

June 3
    I thought I'd work in the pottery in the morning, and transplant the rest of the vegetables out in the afternoon.  But the older kiln quit working yesterday, and it was a fried connection where the power comes in, so I spent most of the day replacing the wires coming in...  The weather is inching towards nice again, even though the high was only in the lower  60's.
Currently the apple trees are in full bloom, and the pear trees are done.  The cherry trees are showing few signs of forming fruit--I'm considering getting a bee hive to improve pollination, by next year...

June 4
    I got the cabbage family all transplanted today, which just leaves some late tomatoes and peppers.  It was the kind of day you didn't need to check the thermometer--just perfect through most of it.  I did do some pottery work--two bisque loads of pots to glaze, and I hung around for pottery customers, but a watched pottery never bears customers, so half of the two sales today were when I went to the Post Office.

June 5
We went for a 10 mile bike ride today, to the end of the lake and back.  The only surprise in the flowers seen were some calypso orchids near a creek at the end of the lake--they're done at this end...

June 6
It was the first day to wear shorts from the start (and apparently the last for this week, by the forecast).   But I was able to enjoy planting out the last tomatoes, corn seeds, and hoeing the strawberries in great summer comfort.  The first corn planted is just peeking out, as are the green beans...
In the pottery I loaded and unloaded glaze kilns, and threw a complete 8 place dinnerset for a nephew getting married this Fall...

June 7
    We went in for the Public Radio blues concert.  Not having heard more than snatches of the featured guitarist, I didn't know what to expect.  I did know he mostly plays in an electric group, and it was billed as an "unplugged" concert (In fact his acoustic guitar WAS plugged in, which invariably produces a twangier sound than a mic'ed guitar).   The music was okay, but so was leaving at the intermission, and walking over to see the Spokane Falls, currently running at Awesome.

June 8
    I built another chicken coop today, which makes 3 that we have currently, and I've probably built 6 in the last 5 years.  (This is a warning to potential chicken fanciers).   We took out the one special hen when she was getting badly pecked by her 3 biddy nestmates.  She went in the coop I built around our grapevine intended for our chicks.  Then I thought I'd build a place for the chicks at the pottery.  Then I remembered our cat, who is quite good at catching mice and birds...  So the new coop at the pottery is our home for slightly over the hill layers, and their old home will soon be the chicks' new one.

June 10
Last night on the way to music practice in Spokane I noticed the rear of our van was noisier than it had been gradually been getting.  A clue!  Because it's a front wheel drive vehicle, I guessed it had a bad wheel bearing.  This was just after 5 on Friday, and we're planning a trip which will halt the blog for around 10 days on Sunday...   Fortunately a local tire shop has Saturday hours, and was able to replace the bearing today.  
    This was also the day I had 8 potter friends over for a glaze dipping party, preparing donation pots for a fundraiser in July.  After they left I had other pots and orders to deal with, and a full day getting ready for our trip.  Time for a vacation...

June 20
    Another week, another 4000 miles...   Our "vacation" included driving that distance, plus a graduation of our daughter-in-law, my birth family, and a scenic byway tour of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.   The graduation included a very funny address by Stephen Colbert (a Northwestern University graduate, receiving an honorary doctorate after receiving an "incomplete" diploma in his bachelor's graduation there...)  As I looked through the 200 pictures I took,  as usual it was the natural scenes that call to me.   I may add some other photos later this week, but here's a photo of carp swimming under a  mallard in a pond at Northwestern that hooks into Lake Michigan:
carp and duck

June 21
We walked down to the bridge after dark last night, and heard some loud splashes like a very sloppy crawl stroke on the Mill Pond--decided it had to be a moose.
    I started on throwing pottery again today, and did a lot of weeding and thinning of pears and apples in the garden. The later fruits had no trouble with pollination--just the cherries.
    The manure we get in (from the same source) every year brings a big load of weed seeds with it.  Usually the most common weed for the summer garden is purslane.  This time it's some kind of thistle--good thing I've got nitrile gardening gloves...

One highlight of our trip was revisiting Brookings, S. Dakota, where I lived till I was about 14, in this house.  There's a new  addition in back that eats up about half of the back yard, where my father had built a covered patio.  I remember the layout of our house well, from the small entry way with a bench seat that stored winter boots, to the living, dining, and kitchen rooms on the first floor.  There was a steep stairway going up from the side door to the second floor, which was very fun to slide down on in a cardboard box.  The second floor held the only bathroom and 3 and a half bedrooms (I got the half bedroom, being youngest).  I especially enjoyed the attic with old stuff in it,  and basement with the woodshop and my chemistry set...
    The changes in the neighborhood were many, and it was interesting to try to overlay my memories with the current geography.  All the houses in the neighborhood seemed to have much smaller yards than I remembered, and a lot of the fences were gone that had separated them.   My existence there was very compact--just three blocks walk to the school, the library, downtown, and church.  Gone from the downtown were the movie theater, drug store, Ben Franklin's and Woolworth's, Juel's shoe store, clothing stores, and mail order Sears store I remembered-- replaced by Walmart and other big box stores at the edge of town.  Nick's Burgers was still there, where I used to eat
 once in a while when my family was elsewhere.
    My old elementary school had been successfully converted to a children's museum, and the Cargnegie library got a larger location nearby and is now a community building.  The swimming pool, that I remember bicycling a long ways to get to, was about 8 blocks from my home, atop the almost unnoticeable only hill in town (source for the name Hilcrest Park).    Eastern S. Dakota is so flat that the nearest sledding hill was 30 miles away, in Minnesota...

June 22
    Jonathan and I had another bout at the Millwood Farmer's Market.  The weather was the first delightful day of summer--first time of breaking 80--the rest of the week reverts to cooler.  
 I trimmed pots and glazed a couple kiln loads before the trip to town.


June 23
flowers
Here's our flower garden today, with irises, columbine, and peonies.
I worked in our vegetable garden as well, weeding the strawberries and picking a gallon of them, and weeding and thinning the carrots.  We got about a quarter inch of rain last night, keeping the young plants wet enough for now...

June 24
Thanks to refrigeration, we're still enjoying carrots and potatoes from last year's garden.  All we've had from this year is spinach so far, but the peas are growing fast.
    I finished weeding our large garden today, and mowed the lawn.  The main catch up task remaining is to thin the apples in the apple trees.
    We had about 20 Baptists from N. Carolina on a church building mission  stop in the pottery today.  The results were great sales, plus an order for a dozen personalized mugs.  This weekend is the first major tourist weekend in our area, with thousands coming to participate or watch the 3 on 3 basketball in Spokane, or the Iron Man tournament in Coeur D'Alene.  Spirit Lake has a one time farmer's market for tomorrow, and I'm playing music in the park from 5-7 for our own underwhelming local excitement.
    The mugs that were ordered are for a beef cattle farm, so I asked about the cows we'd seen on our vacation trip that are black at both ends and white in the middle.  They are Belted Galloways from Scotland.  To me they resembled Hampshire pigs.

June 26
Brad Sondahl
So here's a rare picture of me taken by my son on the 58th celebration of my birth.   The cake was angel food with other layers of mousse (I think, or is that hair stuff?).  The celebration was totally adequate...  It happened after I did a two hour concert in our city park (to a very small but enthusiastic crowd)  I got a bunch of fireworks, and plan to spend the money I received on a new camera.  On Sunday we went to church, then to Schweitzer so my son could climb the mountain and ski a bit, while we climbed halfway and watched him.  The flowers were just peeping out up there--the same ones we had two months ago...  I will observe that due to our cool wet spring, some of the wild lupines are as impressive as our tame ones in the garden this year.

June 28
    We got up to nearly 80 today,  warm enough for me
nearly to  go swimming (wading only--I like my lakes warm).   The warm weather speeded up pottery drying so I had to do some trimming work this evening.  
    Every other day I'm picking over a gallon of strawberries from the new bed.  The old bed is so crowded that I don't think the bees could even penetrate, so it's time to rotate it to another crop next year.


Books read and other media of note
Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher  This is the first graphic novel of the Dresden files I've seen.  The cartoonist Ardian Syaf did a good job of illustrating, capturing the magical Dresden essence.

Going Bovine
by Libba Bray  This is next gen Pinkwater-style  fantasy, a combination of Don Quixote, comedy quest, and road trip.  A good ride.




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