had another meeting related to the potter's guild show next weekend.
I'm also committed to making cookies for it, along with 30 mugs
for the musicians. It occurs to me that the sales events I like
best (this one and the Fall Folk Festival) I end up giving enough in
monetary and other support that they aren't really very profitable.
Oh well. They're fun anyway. It
rained in that steady monsoonal way today. After the meeting I
went and watched Monday Night Football and the end of the World Series
and an NBA game all at once at some relatives. How delightfully
American... I expect it was an American that invented the remote,
even if we don't make them anymore...
I forgot to mention yesterday we gathered several boxes of pears from a
tree by the lake, which we've watched go ignored through the fall,
until they dropped on the ground. They were amazingly pest free
winter pears, although pretty small since they were never thinned.
They do require some ripening...
Also a Spokesman-Review photographer came out and got some more
pictures of me making pots, which makes 3 different groups of
photographers this last year, more than in the 25 years previously...
Being in charge of this group pottery sale is a bit nerve
wracking--previously I've only been in charge of the music, which is
fairly straightforward. We're a small group, and some chose not
to be involved this year, so we're spread thin. Our treasurer,
who is very good remembering details, has been gone for several weeks
to Italy, so it's left a few questions as to who had paid to be in the
show. Just yesterday we realized we'd missed one set of
exhibitors, and before I got the web page updated, I got an email from
them upset because they were not included in the show (but was
fortunately able to mollify them). The
weather was so fine and clear today, that I did some outside work
besides making a hundred or so pots, and took a walk in the late
afternoon, to catch the gold leaves with blue sky background.
More days of pleasant blue sky afternoons. But I spent this one
driving around getting snow rims and snow tires for our sort of new
van. It wasn't my favorite thing, but snow is possible by Monday,
and we're planning a trip to the Seattle area to get more clay and
visit Lopez Island, where one of our sons was born.
Nov. 5 We're
still in the act of shutting down the garden before the subfreezing
cold arrives, as it's anticipated to do by Tuesday. Today I
pulled the corn stalks and cut the heads from the sunflowers and pulled
them as well. There are still a lot of potatoes, near enough to
the surface to be hurt by a severe cold snap. We're
trusting the carrots to overwinter, but don't expect so much of the
potatoes. I used the last of my clay up making
bowls and mugs today, aside from the clay needed to finish them
I had a lot of pottery work today, but I also enjoy watching college
football. So I combined high tech and low tech, and put the Boise
State Hawaii game on my computer, set a baby monitor by the
speakers, and listened in the pottery while glazing a couple kiln
loads. It reminded me of how my father used to like to crack
walnuts while listening to Iowa State games on the radio.
(coincidentally, I later caught the last moments of Iowa State
losing to Nebraska by going for two in overtime instead of just
matching Nebraska's touchdown). It was another nice day before anticpated rain and cold, coinciding with our trip to the Puget Sound...
We had a great trip over to the coast--900 miles total. We took
the North Cross State Route 20--slow driving but empty of
traffic--particularly since snow was predicted and this road is closed
by snow within two weeks of this time every year. We stayed
overnight in the western themed town of Winthrop, which was also on the
verge of shutting down. Early the next morning we set off through
the beautiful North Cascades National Park, with snow only alongside
the road. We walked to a mountain lake, and stopped by Diablo
lake for some beautiful cascade waterfalls.
Although the weather had been predicted to be wet and cold, both days
on the Puget Sound were better than advertised, as the photo taken on
the day we left for home attests, of a ferry with Mt. Baker in the
background. There were lots of waterfowl on the
Sound to guess at their identification, and we also saw seals and sea
otters. Here's a photo of an otter that had just emerged with a white fish in its mouth:
friends, who invited us to their cabin, also transported two tons of
clay back to Spirit Lake for us, so I'm ready to hunker down to winter
pottery making, after a couple craft fairs.
I spent the morning setting up for the pottery show tomorrow, spent the
afternoon unloading and loading kilns, and spent the evening making
cookies for the pottery show. I made about 170 cookies, using a
system I worked out when our kids were little for making the most
cookies in the shortest time. I made gingerbread cookies and
oatmeal cookies, and with 3 cookie sheets turned out a dozen every 6
minutes. First I mixed up a large batch of dough, using lots of
good ingredients and no particular amounts. Then I would dab them
on the cookie sheet, and stick the first tray on the top shelf in the
oven, which is the hottest. After 6 minutes on the timer, I would
insert a second sheet on the bottom shelf. Then in six minutes
the top sheet is done, and I would remove it and move up the bottom
sheet, replacing it with a fresh sheet of cookies. A new sheet
would go in and another out every 6 minutes... I did this through
the whole Boise State-- Idaho football game, which I only got to
listen to, but it was a blow out from the first plays, so I didn't miss
The Clay Arts Guild sale was a big success, with a groundswell of
support for making it two days next year. This doubles the cost,
and generally results in a weak second day of sales, so we'll see how
it looks financially, since the group already supplements the funding
from other fundraising... The music, that I was in charge of was
all great. The fiddle group added about 8 step dancers, making
quite a spectacle. Two of our potters, including me, got articles
in the Spokane area papers, which probably contributed a bump in
attendance we might not have had otherwise. If we settle into
staying at this venue, it may become a stable annual event...
This was a cold dank day which was good for recovering from the sale
yesterday... I made a list of things to do on Monday, which has a
lot of leftovers from the fair...
I'm back to throwing, dinnersets and pitchers, after glazing yesterday.
Our display is very thin in most areas, but not out of anything.
Walk in traffic has dropped off, but I'm getting quite a few
orders. We had a mild windstorm last night,
compared to farther south in Idaho and Washington where a lot of trees
and powerlines went down. We're supposed to get a series of
storms this week, each one ratchetting down the temperature towards
snow on the weekend (which coincides with the Fall Folk Festival,
I spent an hour or two replacing the glass in a couple storm windows
that blew over last year. I recycled glass from other old
windows to do it. I'm watching for nice used wood replacement
windows on Craigslist, but finding ones of a similar size is a slow
process, requiring patience.
We had our first sticking snow today. There is still a little
broccoli and spinach in the garden, soon to be frozen...
The tomatoes keep ripening, so I made some sauce from them, simmering
it on the wood stove, then on a kiln that fired yesterday. We had
it with elk burger for supper...
After our sale in Post Falls last weekend, members of our group were
invited to display our work in the gallery at the art center for a
month--they had the opening this evening. It seemed to me like
most of the attendees were the artists and their families, but it was
still well attended. This marked the first time since college
I've had pots in an art gallery short term display... A number of
them sold. I brought my guitar along and played it, mostly
swallowed up by the conversations, but it gave me something to do, and
some practice before the Folk Festival this weekend...
A big weekend at the Fall Folk Festival, as always. Sales were
up 75% from last year, the recession receding... If I had a
pedometer, I could accurately guess at how many miles I walked trying
to photograph every act at the 8 different stages. Having
sampled every stage at every point, I do feel sorry for the small stage
musicians, including myself, who look forward and practice fairly
diligently, to only receive a very modest audience. There was
very good attendance over all, but the three larger spaces attract 80 %
of the audience. Thqat said, there are, among the sparse
audience, other musicians, whose appreciation is more appreciated than
that of the common throng... It may be a couple days before I
choose and edit from the 400 photos I took at the festival and get them
We're supposed to have our coldest night tonight, with a high of around
8 today, and low of -15. It's been very dry cold, not too windy,
so we've been out walking about and shoveling quite a bit. This
evening I made beef stew with our garden tomatoes, carrots, and
potatoes, and apple crisp from our apples for dessert... The stew
cooked totally on the woodstove.
Nov. 24 It
hardly got below zero, so I was tempted to edit out the expected low
from yesterday, but that's a little too Orwellian for me. It's
definitely safer to talk about the weather in the past tense than the
future, as many a weather forecaster has learned...
Cold and snow puts one into a survival mindset--throw another couple
logs on the fire and do some more shoveling. The trip into the
dentist's today was fraught with sliding possibilities, with the road
generally four narrow strips of mostly bare road in the chalky compact
snow, but I negotiated it successfully.
Winter, emerging fuul grown from the head of some Greek God, with 3
storm systems predicted to hit in the next few days, does take a little
adjusting to. Here's a link to a winter song on Youtube I wrote when I was about 20 in Minnesota, with scenes from N. Idaho...
We got another 4 inches of snow today, with a high around 24 degrees,
so winter is settling in. We drove into Spokane to celebrate
Thanksgiving with relatives--the roads were mostly snow and ice
covered, with average speeds of 30-40 mph. We're thankful
to have gotten home safely...
Our snow stick reads 8-10 inches, depending on which side of the stick
you're looking at. We've had well over a foot of snow, but it
settles. A fellow Maine St. businessman (Mark Kroetch) came by in
a pickup with a plow and volunteered to plow our our parking lot, used
by us and other Maine St patrons for the most part. We
usually shovel by hand, pushing the snow to the side, and lifting as
little as possible. If it gets to the serious snows of two and
three winters ago, we'll need snowplowing on a regular basis...
I lifted the lid on the kiln today, and the folding support that holds
up the lid pulled loose. Then, since it put unusual stress on the
hinge that holds the lid, half of the hinge popped off. So I
spent some time replacing the screws that slowly rust away with more
The snow stick is at 15 inches--a lot of settling takes place--it
probably represents 2 feet or more of snow... We're getting a
little break before the next storm, expected on Tuesday. Getting
4 or more inches of snow per day makes shoveling serious work--we spent
probably two hours a day on shoveling, and my back was sore enough that
after the last 6 inches we hired a local day laborer to help at both
our places... I'm hoping to work on another kid's CD this week, more folky type songs than religious.
I have one kiln looking forward to retirement, which is missing quite a
few chunks of what separate the heating coils from each other.
When they touch one another, they short out, wrecking both of
them. So I bought some fire clay the last time I was at the
pottery supply, and mixed it with my sloppy scrap clay so I could roll
it out and cut out some shapes with coil ends that I could stick into
drilled out holes in the kiln wall and get the kiln through another
winter. I also put myself on the email
list for the pottery supplier's sales, so I can buy a new kiln when a
sale comes around... It was apparent from the amount of fixing I
did today, that the kiln really does want to retire...
Djibouti by Elmore Leonard I
wish at my current age I could keep track of the plots of master
storyteller Leonard, who must be getting on in years. He managed
to bottle the zeitgeist of our current era--Gulf pirates and
terrorism--and make a thriller out of it. A good share of the
middle told the action from a retrospective of material to make a film
documentary--an odd perspective, but it worked.
Bertie Wooster Sees it Through by PG Wodehouse The
titles tell nothing, and make it hard to distinguish it from the other
Bertie and Jeeves tales, but then PG Wodehouse himself acknowledged he
had only one plot, and like The Return of Jeeves, that plot included
breaking and entering for the best purposes of love and honor...
Savage Run by C.J. Box Box
can take an environmental theme and work it both ways, from the point
of view of economically affected locals, and the larger environmental
issues. A good series set in the modern west, inspite a name that
sounds more like a western bodice ripper...
The Return of Jeeves by PG Wodehouse. This
is a rare volume in the Bertie and Jeeves series, in which Bertie makes
little appearance, but Jeeves accepts the employment by a young
man, esulting with the usual breaking and entering for the
best purposes of love and honor.
Robin Hood (Film 2010)
An interesting version, for someone used to the Howard Pyle/Disney
archery contest stuff. I liked it better than the Prince of
Thieves version. I really should see the Flynn/DeHavilland one
sometime. There was lots of arrow piercing sword slashing gore,
but it was countered by the complex intrigue of the plot. I was
surprised to hear them reprise Women of Ireland, which was used for
Barry Lyndon, which I never saw, but liked the Chieftains album made