index

Brad's Blog

  Click here to zoom down to today's entry (after clicking, you can bookmark this page and it should always take you to the current date).

March 2

  We got another 4 inches of snow yesterday, making the beginning of March seem totally average, neither like a lamb nor a lion (lacking strong winds, this storm was, as Yoda would say).  
In my free time yesterday, I recorded a few more videos for Youtube:

Hymn tune for Tis So Sweet to trust in Jesus
Beneath the Cross of Jesus tune  
Sondahl's G Slide Rag played by Brad S… 
I mostly do the hymns without vocals so people around the world (including non-Christians)  can appreciate the beautiful tunes.These qualify as High Def videos because I didn't run them through my outdated video editing software, but just converted them from .mov to .wmv format and posted them.
    I started building a window frame for another faux bay window for the last bedroom that needed one for the yellow house.   The project started with buying a used double glazed wood window at the Habitat Store  that was larger than the opening.  What I'm working on is the large rectangular donut of insulated wood and plywood that will form an alcove to hold the window.  This will be the fourth one of these I've built...
 March 3
    We went walking at sunset on the ridge, and went high enough to see two deer, around 50 yards away.  (I took some photos but the light was too dim).  They were soon aware of us, and the larger one snorted at us a few times, then lifted first one leg, then the other, stamping it down.  From my extensive knowledge of bull fighting, I deduced this was an aggressive act ;-).   We'd never heard a deer snort  before, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and it mentioned that white tailed deer make a variety of sounds including snorting.   (A google search also details plenty of deer-human attacks, more common during fawning season in June...).
    The foot of snow we got in the last week is swiftly compacting with the 45 degree weather, and the lake was reflooding under the snow load, but we were able to walk across part of the Mill Pond without getting wet...

March 5
    We walked about 4 miles yesterday along  Priest Lake, from Luby Bay to Kalispell Bay.  We saw a lot of deer prints, but no other wildlife signs.  When we tried a short cut up to a road, the snow was well over knee deep, so we stuck to packed trails.
    On Monday I loaded two bisque kilns and started throwing again.  In the afternoon I reinstalled a toilet that I thought I was going to replaces.  It turns out that more modern toilets require another inch of space for the rough-in, so it was easier to go with the old toilet than locate one that would fit.  I also installed a new (used) sink in the bathroom.
    The weather has turned rainy and windy--excellent March weather.  I'd like to see the snow pack dwindle a bit in our orchard, so I can get back to pruning in the warmer weather predicted later this week.

March 6
  It barely got above freezing today, but Spring was in the air... It must have been the clear blue skies that started the day...  I saw a varied thrush  (relative of the robin), mostly seen here in migration.  When we walked to the Mill Pond, there were over 30 ducks and 6 geese in the two open spots of water.  A lot of our foot or more of snow has melted and refrozen into an inch or more of ice on trails and flat areas.   The unpaved city streets are full of potholes, and the paved portions are breaking up in the annual ritual.

March 7
    I spent about an hour refilling the ink in my printer and doinking with it.  It seems like by now some company should have made a reliable hassle free printer with reasonably priced inks.
    Then I spent most of the day glazing pots.   I'd mixed three buckets of glaze yesterday in anticipation of the two kilnloads I glazed (and fired).  New buckets of glaze always represent a potential for failure, since materials and glaze consistency vary from batch to batch, and there's always the potential for measuring error.  So I'll often just test a few pieces with a new batch while the old batch is getting low (yes, I use two 5 gallon buckets for each of my glazes).  This is particularly true of my crystalline glaze, which I've loved to hate over the years for its fickleness...
    It was frequently sunny today, but I didn't get out to enjoy it...

March 8
Idaho is kind of different. We went to a Bible study where after we were done the hostess told us how she's doing a hunter safety class, looking forward to filling her freezer with venison, then proudly brought out her new Ruger .357 handgun and passed it around, and then the talk was all about shooting wolves...  The claim is they're eradicating elk, and elk is the favored wild meat in our area...  It makes sense--elk are herd animals compared to deer, so wolves can follow the herd and cull them.  It's possible that with the long absence of predators the elk have lost some learned responses that would help protect them...  Obviously over the long term wolves and elk had a balance, or at least a fluctuating survival curve...

    The weather is stuck at lovely  currently--highs near 50 and blue skies.
   We had a CAGNI meeting with the venue where we have our Christmas sale, hoping to work more cooperatively this year for mutual benefit...

March 10
    I spent 6 hours today at a kids carnival benefit for a local art for kids program with two other CAGNI members.  We had up to a dozen kids coming and playing with clay for 5-10 minutes each--probably 150 or more for the whole time.   There was minimal instruction involved--just give them a ball of clay and have some tools sitting around.  Considering the average age of the kids was about 5, that was all that was needed...  We did decide in advance to not let them take their work home--in most cases it just looked like a lump anyway.  A few of them did get quite attached to their work (and we let some take them home in that case).   By not letting them take them home, we were able to recycle the clay immediately and only used about 25 pounds of clay.
    Then after I got home I unloaded a glaze and a bisque kiln, and reloaded a glaze and a bisque kiln, so it was a long pottery day...

March 12
    We're getting a lot of slush all day today, and I have a cold, so it's pretty blah in general.  My nose stopped running this morning, so I was able to glaze a couple kilnloads of pots, but I didn't feel like working on the wheel...  So in the afternoon I started organizing for taxes.  Good thing I made some peanut butter cookies and pizza to cheer me up...

 March 13
We got 1.5 inches of slushy rain in the last 24 hours.  Today it was mostly graupel storms and wind.  During one of those storms we went for a walk up on the ridge and saw a few deer.  The  grass widows are popping up on the sunny slopes, but not near blooming yet.  We followed a runoff spring from its source down to where it sinks away into the gravel.  It was about a 3 mile hike with hundreds of feet of elevation gain...

March 14
    We got a very tasty apple caramel pie for Pi day today...  The day was fairly nice in a 40ish sort of way, until late in the afternoon when the next long siege of rain has started.  I did manage to prune one apple tree in the afternoon...
    The other day I adjusted my kilnsitter slightly, since the kiln was overfiring.  There's no way to visually check how much the adjustment is, so it's move the sliding bar a little bit and hope for the best.  In this case, it wasn't the best--the next kiln underfired, so I adjusted it up again and fired it and another glaze kiln today...  I prefer boredom in my firings, but seldom get it...

March 15
    For our area, this rain is taking on biblical proportions--2 and 5/8 inches in the last 24 hours and still going strong.  Surprisingly there are still snow piles around but they're mostly ice piles, and disappearing as quickly as the ice on the Mill Pond...
    This time the kiln was back to being slightly overhot, so I plan to use a lower cone in the kiln sitter (the cone is a specially designed pyramid of clay which melts at a specific high temperature, triggering the shutoff of the kiln).

March 16
The final rain total from yesterday was  3 inches.  This morning it rained again-- 4/10 inch...  Spokane was bragging of a record 1.18 inches yesterday (wimps)...
    I threw large bowls, French butter dishes, and small cups today, a nice mixture to fill kilns quickly and all the shelf space fully.  Besides a two week trip planned for next month, the garden and nice weather will hopefully start taking up more of my time in April...
    I found out yesterday I've got a root canal in my future, but for the next two weeks I've got a sensitive mouth and course of antibiotics to take.  I've been down this road a few times before, and it never gets passe (accent grav over the e, or perhaps I mean blase, with a similar accent)...  

March 19  
    It was my turn to watch the art gallery in Sandpoint today.  It's between seasons there, so it's very slow-- maybe a half dozen lookers, no sales.  I bring lots of stuff like guitar and Kindle to keep occupied.  They could use a softer chair, though...  On the way home I threaded my way along the river, hoping to see some eagles on a nest.  I saw the nest, but no eagles there.  But I saw turkeys, a blue bird, a golden eagle, some tundra swans, and a great blue heron (what a versatile bird--at home standing in the ice water or in the Florida everglades)...

March 22    
    After a couple blah and rainy/snowy days, March got serious and gave us 3 inches of snow overnight.  But we all know March is just funning us at this point.
    One of the early things I learned about loading a kiln is that if you put a shelf right where the kilnsitter pokes into the kiln, it can affect a firing, particularly if it shifts over to lean against the kilnsitter.  I've never had much trouble with that, so I've tended to ignore it, until just that shifting happened today.  So the bisque kiln I opened up this morning went at least to cone 10, judging from some of the deformations that occurred in some of the pots.   The lowfire cone 05 that I use for the bisque firing was a melted blob that dropped to the bottom of the kiln...  It was the timer that saved the shelves...  Anyway, the pots were still quite hot when I unloaded them, so I dipped them in glaze and set them back on their shelves, since vitreous clay doesn't absorb the moisture that regular bisque clay does (but the heated pots did help in drying).  A couple hours later I was able to clean off their feet and decorate and stick them in a firing.  Chances are they'll mostly be seconds, but at least sellable...   

March 23
It snowed again overnight and most of the morning, but didn't add up to much, and the afternoon is sunny and 40...
The pots I dipped from the overfiring came out thinly glazed but sellable (as seconds), as expected.  
   Anything you don't learn related to making pottery will come back to haunt you...
I'm continuing to add hymns to Youtube as time permits:

Munich (Oh Jesus I have promised…)I  am thine (the tune for Fanny Crosby's hymn)
They don't get much listening, but as instrumentals I always hope some non-religious people will appreciate them for their music (as well as Christians)...

March 25
    It broke above 60 today for the first time, which coincided with the first day since last Fall we didn't have a fire in our woodstove...  It would have been a great day to spend outside, but we had tickets for the Symphony and took two ladies from church with us.   I slept through the Sibelius, and felt the other two were also sadly lacking in melody...  Classical music is not a good fit for me--I only like the classics they get tired of trotting out all the time...  
    Two days ago, hiking around on the ridge, I found a grass widow flower with the long bud clearly blue and ready to open.  Usually we expect the buttercup to be first...  This week promises a lot of rain, which should help remove the last several inches of snow that we have (up at Priest Lake there's over a foot still just outside the church).  The level of Spirit Lake is shooting up fast, and I expect it's flowing out over the dam soon if not already...  We drove across the Monroe Street bridge, and hoped for a view of Spokane Falls, but you've got to walk that bridge to get the best Falls view...  I think you can get  pretty good look off the Maple Street bridge, but we didn't go that way...

March 26
    Some neighbors invited us over tonight to help break in a toy potter's wheel their 6 year old purchased with some Christmas money.  I've seen these toy wheels before, but this was my first chance to instruct on one.  The clay, sealed in plastic bags, was so dry we had to soak it in water and wedge it a goodly amount... The wheel itself turned clockwise, which is fine if you're left handed, or (for some odd reason) from Asia (where this originated), and actually two siblings are left handed, but it was my first experience throwing in reverse...  Anyway we all had fun, and they had another big people's toy that makes frozen yogurt, so we had a nice treat as well.  Then the 6 year old read us a well voiced version of a Brer Rabbit story...  Classic...

March 27
 One advantage of a multi-year all accessible blog is that I can look back and see when I started seedlings from year to year...  Unfortunately I didn't take advantage of that the last couple years so I'm guessing it's time to start seedlings.  I filled all the little pots with dirt today, and planted the large bed in the greenhouse with spinach.   I hope to plant a lot of the seeds in the pots tomorrow.  The ground is still frozen in many places, so it will be a few weeks before serious garden work begins, and usually whenever the early things like carrots and peas get planted, the weather remains cool enough that it's the middle of May when everything starts growing...
    We had one customer today--he'd never been here before, and kept bringing in pots saying he wanted to get $200 worth...  These are the kind of new customers we like....

March 29
    We had a half inch of rain yesterday, and 1.7 inches today.  It was already a record rainfall for March without this ending onslaught, predicted to continue to the end of the month and beyond...   In the Inland Northwest, too much precipitation is generally preferred to too little, so we'll take it... By tomorrow our 6 foot wide water tank should be refilled (I drained it earlier this week), to be be siphoned onto our fruit trees...
     I planted tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cabbages today in the green house.  I'm theorizing that the tomato seeds will wait for some sunny warm weather to start sprouting...
    Since it rained all day, I mostly stayed inside and brooded, as is appropriate...

March 31
Since last report we've had another inch of rain, and little green things are rising everywhere from the earth...  The rain stopped (mostly) long enough to walk down to the lake, where the ice is almost all gone and the lake is at full pool.
    Our entertainment yesterday was a Univ. of Idaho law professor who gave a very coherent lecture on Lincoln and the Constitution at our library, then fielded a lot of questions mostly related to states' rights and presidential war powers, which proved interesting as well.  He made it clear that states do not have the right to secede from the union, nor disavow federal laws that they don't like (a current issue with the National Health Care law), nor do presidents have the power to declare war (although every president except Eisenhower since WWII has presumed that right)...
   
Books read and other media of note:  (unless otherwise noted, books are free Kindle books)
Jill the Reckless by P G Wodehouse  This is a 1920's stand alone novel on backstage life on Broadway, with the inevitable mixed up romances and hilarious situations... I'd put it much higher in the canon than Psmith and Ukridge,  with prototype of the Uncle Dynamite character in Jill's uncle...  Although there are plenty of strong female characters in Wodehouse's work, this is one of the few that features a woman protagonist, and  it coincidentally more closely resembles the romance novels he was no doubt paradying...

Talents Incorporated by Murray Leinster  
A fine and funny use of psi talents to conquer the Empire...

A Matter of Importance  by Murray Leinster
A routine space cop mission, to save a hijacked space liner and avert an interplanetary war.  Priceless (and free for Kindle) humor.

Attention Saint Patrick by Murray Leinster  
A bit of Irish stereotype humor in a world far in the future and far away, where the snakes are needed instead of driven away..

Sam, This is You by Murray Leinster
A very funny short story based on a phone repairman inventing a time travelling phone while trying to just split a party line so it would be private.  By the time we got our phone in Spirit Lake, the phone line splitter had been invented--it just didn't go forward or backward in time...

The Hate Disease  by Murray Leinster
  Leinster was an early SF writer.  This novella explored a planet wide pandemic fought by one medical inspector...  Nothing in it felt too dated...

The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (paperback).
 For better or worse, this book shows one of the great cultural divides of the 20th century, frequently over-- babbly, over-- hyped,  but only in keeping with the happenings that spread from this small flame across the US by 1970. 

Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard
 Any book over 100 years is bound to seem antiquated in some aspects.  This one was prone to long speeches, and fits in with the Utopian Lost World type genre, with a dash of Great White Hunter thrown in.  Meh.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  
For a pulp fiction writer, there was clearly something catchy about the guy that invented Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.  I've loaded a couple more of his Martian novels, and Tarzan, to see how they are for reading as well.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
(hardbound, 2011) Although this young author was basically retreading the Lord of the Rings cycle, his grounding of the saga in a family gives the whole series a warmer feeling than the Ring series.  I read the series over too long a span, with too few remainng gray cells, to keep track of all the action and actors, still it was a very enjoyable read...

Small World by Dominic Green
A very satirical Sci Fi microcosm--a tiny world formed around a very heavy core, enabling atmosphere and life and a microcosm of the universe's misfits to live or appear there...

The Artist (film) We went to a private showing of this Best Picture award winner last night (we were the only people in the theater).  The movie keeps one off balance--not sure why it's silent, why HE'S silent, why the soundtrack music is almost continuously overly lush...  The plot is reminiscent of many films of the silent era--an over the hill actor is saved by the love of a young woman.   Although enjoyable, Hugo was a much easier movie to warm to...



Sondahl blog index
January
2017
February
2017
March
2017
April
2017
May
2017
June
2017
July
2017
August
2017
September
2017



January
2016
February
2016
March
2016
April
2016
May
2016
June
2016
July
2016
September
2016
October
2016
November
2016
December
2016
January
2015
February
2015
March
2015
April
2015
May
2015
June
2015
July
2015
August
2015
September
2015
October
2015
November
2015
December
2015
January
2014
February
2014
March
2014
April
2014
May
2014
June
2014
July
2014
August
2014
September
2014
October
2014
November
2014
December
2014
January
2013
February
2013
March
2013
April
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
August
2013
September
2013
October
2013
November
2013
December
2013
January
2012
February
2012
March
2012
April
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
August
2012
September
2012
October
2012
November
2012
December
2012
January
2011
February
2011
March
2011
April
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
August
2011
September
2011
October
2011
November
2011
Deember
2011
January
2010
February
2010
March
2010
April
2010
May
2010
June
2010
July
2010
August
2010
September
2010
October
2010
November
2010
December
2010
January
2009
Febr.
2009
March
2009
April
2009
May
2009
June
2009
July
2009
August
2009
Sept.
2009
October
2009
November
2009
December
2009
Jan.
2008
Febr.
2008
March 2008
April
2008
May
2008
June
2008
July
2008
August
2008
September
2008
October
2008
November
2008
December
2008
Jan.
2007
Febr.
2007
March 2007April
2007
May
2007
June
2007
July
2007
August
2007
Sept.
2007
Oct.
2007
Nov.
2007
Dec.
2007
January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006Sept. 2006Oct. 2006Nov. 2006Dec. 2006



April 2005May 2005 June 2005 July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005
index