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October 1
    The weather continues rainy and cold--so I spent my spare time inside looking over songs for the October INBMA Showcase Sondahl and Hawkins will be opening for Oct. 19.
    I also fired the glaze tests today, so there will hopefully be something new to see tomorrow from the kiln...

Oct. 2

grapes
This is a small fragment of the many grapes we have this year.  They are smaller than commercial grapes, but very tasty and seedless.


These are the most interesting glaze tests of the 40 I made last week.  The first is a combination of two glazes that made a smoother surface and brighter color than either separately. The second "breaks" over throwing lines in a distinctive, but probably not most harmonious, manner.  The third has an expensive opacifier and enough blue cobalt to make it as blue as the ones on the right, but it came out a mottled green.  The last two were crystalline glaze recipes, the first one in combination with the last one, which is a pretty blue probably resulting from slightly underfiring it for what would be more crystalline in appearance.  I'll probably do some more tests with several of these...

Oct. 3
Frost is predicted for tonight, but it surprised us by hitting last night as well.  Fortunately most of the tomatoes were harvested last week, and actually it was a light enough frost that I collected 3 more boxes of tomatoes today.  We also dug the potatoes, and gathered the squash.  It was a great year for pumpkins--over a dozen large ones, most of which we'll give to young friends.  The squash were planted in an area which was sod covered with a couple inches of horse manure this spring.  The grass was mostly killed by the layer of manure, and with an additional layer of manure next spring it will be ready for general garden use, except for carrots that prefer deep loose soil.
    Speaking of soil, we've started some new beds just using green plant waste, covering with straw.  One was started late this spring, but grew very dark green tomato and potato plants (a sign of adequate nitrogen).   These beds are over sod as well, and will benefit from manure when we get some...
    There were still a few surprises when wandering the garden--some old spinach had revitalized itself with thick new leaves (which we ate with cheese sauce on our fresh baked potatoes for supper).  There were also a half dozen cucumbers uncovered by the frost--(note to self--plant cucumbers where other squash won't obscure them).
    I got a rush order for little mini-bowls today, and was low on them anyway, and was curious, so I found out I can throw 80 of them in 30 minutes or 23 seconds per pot.  I also made 18 medium and large canisters, nearly enough to fill a kiln.

Oct. 8
    The single mother with 3 6-8 year old girls that we've been working with for the last year found themselves homeless (it is, of course, not that simple, but I don't feel free to elaborate), so we've taken them in, changing our empty nest into a wiggly one.  I enjoy having children to read to at night, having spent thousands of hours doing so when our kids were growing up (through high school, actually)...  They like having me read Little Lulu comics, which I've been buying in modern reprint collections for several years.  Even if they can't see the cartoon panels, the stories are easy to imagine and the dialog very funny.  (spoiler alert: I did give away the fact that in the Lulu-Tubby mysteries, Lulu's father is always the guilty one.)
    A week after picking the tomatoes, it was time to sort them into those nearly ripe, those steady green, and the rotten ones, that rapidly spread.  With a little diligence, we'll have lots of tomatoes through Christmas.  The diligence is the tough part...

Oct. 22
Sondahl and Hawkins
Nothing like "adopting" 4 people to keep one's life busy and interesting.  Immediately after they moved in, I cleverly took a weeklong (preplanned) trip to Minnesota to visit family.  Getting back I've been hustling to keep up with personal life, hobbies, and the pottery business.  I led a workshop on making plaster stamps the day after I got back. That evening Jonathan Hawkins and I did the first set of the season's bluegrass showcase.  (Afterwards the only comment I heard was from a lady in the 3rd row who said she couldn't hear us, which was  mostly due to not having a sound person familiar with the system running it...)  The rest of the evening I twiddled knobs on the sound system and hoped for the best.
    On Sunday we had a harvest festival at the church, with a great pot luck including Alaskan salmon, and pumpkin carving afterwards.  

Oct. 25
When not helping with homework or reading to our new charges, I've been canning grapejuice, making pear sauce, and canning pears.  That reminds me --it's time to sort tomatoes again...
    The weather this week has been lovely--the forecast for next week much colder...  Time to finish some storm windows and Fall maintenance chores...

Oct. 28
    We got strong winds and cold blowing in overnight, with the first 1/2 inch of snow on the ground this morning.  With a low of 20 degrees predicted for tonight, we dug the main patch of carrots yesterday, and stowed both them and our apple crop in the root cellar today.  Last week the maple leaves were at their height, but I was too busy to catch the Fall colors, and with the cold and wind the trees are rapidly being emptied now.
    I'm volunteering at the library for their after-school program doing clay, both today and tomorrow.  Coincidentally our 3 new charges joined the library after-school program last week.  They have gotten to do pottery regularly in visits before they moved in with us.  The new potter's wheel is a real boon to young potters--the old one had such a stiff throttle pedal they could hardly budge it.
    Volunteering with clay is requested less often than pottery donations, but both are very popular and must be watched so that my welfare doesn't suffer...  I've agreed to visit a nearby high school in a couple weeks...

Books read and other media of note
Honky Tonk Kat by Karen Kijewski  This feels real--an old friend helping a threatened country singer.  It gets a little too deep (as in bogged down) into family relationships and back story, but is well crafted.

The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick
 Never what you expect, and what would you expect, with a title like that?   Another dystopian future, everyone living in holes in the ground, from nuclear war, except the 1 % that aren't telling that the war is over...

Little Green by Walter Mosley
I'm guessing Mosley has tired of Easy Rawlins, but I've no doubt he's the most popular detective character the prolific Mosley has created.  He bares the sins of the world in his detecting.

The Sentry by Robert Crais.  
(spoiler alert) Although the initial premise that someone-- hiding in fear of their lives with ill gotten fortune--would open a restaurant, seems a bit thin, still you hop on the sleigh and take the ride...

Dodger by Terry Pratchett.  
A compelling historical romance set in Victorian Britain, where a young street Dodger moves up into the world of Charles Dickens, Disraeli, and Sweeney Todd.  Like many of his non-Discworld books, he tempers his humor with warm humanity.  

The Watchman by Robert Crais  
Unlike Robert Parker, who inspired Crais, Crais is willing to give the cold killer detective assistant time in the limelight, to good effect, with a political thriller that is gripping to the last, with bits of history that flesh out the uncommunicative Joe Pike...


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