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Brad's Blog

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Nov. 4
    I've been gone for nearly a week to visit my mother and help her celebrate her 90th birthday on Halloween.
Marion Hvistendahl
She liked to be photographed with these 45 roses from her gentleman friend Bill.  She is doing very well entering her 91st year, living independently, and even driving across Minnesota by herself recently.  She was the life of the party held in her honor, with around 100 family and friends in attendance.  My sister and I entertained briefly at the end, with her playing ukelele and me playing the new resonator guitar purchased for the occasion...  My brother also joined in for "there's a tavern in the town."
    My mother avidly feeds and watches the birds in her yard, and we were rewarded this week with a pileated woodpecker eating from her suet feeder.  There are a lot of different species from the ones in the west, and I enjoyed walking along the Cannon River, getting nice photos of eagles (like the pair below), herons, cedar waxwings, and red bellied woodpeckers.  
bald eagle pair


Nov. 9
    You can tell when winter starts here--we got 4 inches of snow overnight.  The weather guys estimate this to be an average winter--we should get over 80 inches of snow...  Up till now we've been wearing light jackets and heating in a perfunctory manner...
    I mixed a new batch of lavender glaze this week--it came out more shiny and bluish...  I'm never sure what causes changes in glazes, but there are a number of ingredients I have to measure in two lots since the weight exceeds the limit for my scale.  My mind tends to wander, then to wonder how many of those I've put in the bucket...  Anyway it's a nice shade of glaze--hope it's not too popular since I can't repeat it...  The regular lavender glaze tends towards a matte finish, so I decided to combine the remnant bucket of lavender with the new blue.  You can see what a science glazes are...
    Tonight I thought I was going to play guitar and sell pots at the First Friday Artwalk.  I learned late yesterday the music thing wasn't going to work for them, so it's just sell pots.  I feel a bit sad about it--if I'm going to pretend to be an artist, I'm happier pretending to be a musician at the same time...
    We have a friend who is a real musician--principal oboeist with the Spokane Symphony.  Currently they are on strike to try and maintain their "starvation wages (around $18,000 per year).  Even though it's a part time gig (my friend is also the Catholic cathedral organist), he has to practice hours every day to stay on top of his instrument.   The Symphony is a nonprofit, and not profiting in recent years, so it's a tough bind, but I support the players...

Nov. 12
    The Folk Festival was a great way to send the evening.  We had our second best pottery sales there, and Jonathan and I had a nice set in the middle of Saturday afternoon.  Usually I'd be editing the 400 pictures I took to put on the folklore society website, but we've had several boxes of tomatoes getting riper every day, so I pressure canned 14 quarts, saved some to freeze in pints, and made the last of our grapes into grape jelly.  There was still a box of tomatoes to take to the food bank on Wednesday.
    I also started throwing and firing again today, and we restored the 8 or so boxes of pots left over from the sale to the shelves.
    We got more snow all day today--only some warm forecasts for the rest of the week make it likely that we may see bare ground again before Spring...

Nov. 15
    I'm back cranking out pots, and in my spare time edited the 400 photos I took at the Fall Folk Festival and put them up at http://www.spokanefolklore.org/FolkFestival.html
    The days are steadily gray, so it's good to be busy inside, although the melt may allow us to get more fall work done, like patching a few leaks...

Nov. 18
    Jonathan and I played for the Showcase last night, and I took photos of everyone who played but us--
http://www.sondahl.com/events/INBAOct2012.html
    Today it was only a 30% chance of rain, so we started off on a rambling walk, and the rain started right up with us.  We still had a nice time wandering the 4 wheeler trails behind the Mill Pond. We saw an eagle, kingfisher, and many mergansers and goldeneye ducks, as well as a golden crowned kinglet...

Nov. 20

The mushroom is a curious one from our walk on Sunday--usually the gills don't curl up into view like that...
It's rained the last two days.  I'd already taken in the rain gage for winter, but I'd guess we got over two inches of rain--very good for recharging our aquifer. North Idaho is mostly like a big bathtub of bedrock filled with gravel from ice age floods, so it has a large capacity to store water in the aquifer...  The aquifer flows towards Spokane, where part of it emerges in springs, and where it provides ample water for the urban population there.      I've started making a Free Little Library, which is a glorified bird house for books.  It's a movement centered in Wisconsin, and I saw one at a friend's house in Northfield, Minnesota when I was there, and had the memory jogged by a newspaper article after I got back.  So I'm building one out of surplus pallet wood we've been getting for firewood...  The idea is a free honor system book exchange, which goes well with our honor system pottery sales...
    Yesterday I worked another Monday at the gallery in Sandpoint.  There were no sales for the whole day. Even though I entertained myself with guitar and a book, I was glad to be done, and glad to be leaving the gallery at the end of the year...  We set up our honor system because we didn't want to be tied down to watch the shop all the time--something about doing that is very draining...
   

Nov. 21
    It rained at the start and end of today again as well..  Good thing it's Thanksgiving tomorrow to take our minds off the weather.

Nov. 22
    It was partially sunny for Thanksgiving, and we went in to relatives in Spokane over the Blanchard pass.  We saw 3 groups totalling around 30 wild turkeys, and 4 doe deer on the ride...  Also one middling boring NFL football game, which is about par for Thanksgiving.

Nov. 23
I played background music for 4 hours (less one 15 minute break) at Autumn's Loft gallery at Priest Lake today.  The challenge for me in playing that long is not a lack of material (I only got halfway through my lyrics book) but sore fingers, since I don't practice regularly...  I got around the sore fingers by playing harmonica and tin whistle to give my fingers a break... (one of them is a little sore as I type, but I just realized it's from throwing mugs after I got home--if you're not careful the wheelhead can work like sandpaper on your fingers...)  It was snowing when I left Priest Lake, but it's just back to rain here in Spirit Lake...

Nov. 26
    I've nearly finished the little free library box, and at the same time I varnished a new storm door I made for a door that lets in the cold from the outside to our bedroom.  I just need to let the caulking dry and attach them...  I also cut a piece of glass to fit a little extra window adding another layer of insulation in the bathroom.  (It got down to about 15 last night, so cold is on my mind).  
    I'm firing a lot this week to get more pots for the Mud and Spirits sale this weekend.

Nov. 29
    I started making cookies for the sale this weekend--finishing up around 8 dozen ginger molasses cookies.  These are serious no recipe cookies--just poured everything in and quit when it felt right.  They taste like ginger snaps.  
    The monsoon is back again, thumbing its nose at the rest of America that's still under average for the year...  Still, rain through the weekend of my last big sale is better than snow, which is more typical of this time of year...

Books read and other  media of note: 
Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer Archer is a master storyteller, and makes the story of a poor lad from the early 20th C England rising up to aspire to the upper class more interesting than it sounds...  Does resemble Horatio Alger, although he isn't rich at the end of this first of a promised trilogy.

Why Call Them back from Heaven by Clifford Simak.  
An extended vision of the then current fad of freezing bodies against a possible resurrection, made into a dystopia where everyone puts all their efforts into saving up for a revived eternal life.

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
 Charles Stross is quoted on the cover admiring this novel.  For the most part I admire Charles Stross, and this novel does seem to imitate his style--high tech SF written by an extremely science-based writer.  I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to handle all the alien concepts, groups, and subplots, but it is no doubt brilliant.

Voodoo River by Robert Crais  
I'm guessing the title was suggested by a publisher, as it had nothing to do with the book besides the Louisiana ambience.  Elvis Cole is getting more ethical in this book, probably as a result of hooking up with a lawyer :-)

The 13th Story by Sid Fleischman.   He's one of my favorite juvenile adventure writers, weaving in history with strong young protagonists and interesting plot--in this case a spooky time travel to 17th century New England...

Bushman Lives by Daniel Pinkwater  This is my FAVORITE juvenile adventure writer, although this novel is more in the Young Adult section.  This meandering plot involves a portrait of a young man as an artist in Chicago in the beatnik 50's.  The book ends in a way that begs for at least a sequel, or better, a trilogy...  References to his other fine novels are frequent...

Badge of Infamy by Lester Del Rey.  This 50's novella carries the trend towards certification to its logical extreme--a doctor is banned from his profession for saving someone outside of the hospital.  He catches a tramp freighter to Mars, where he's more welcome in the frontier, and is in the vanguard to fight a space plague, still at odds with the medical community...

Jim Ugly by Sid Fleischman  Another western story with a diamond mystery, entertaining juvenile fiction, but not his best...

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