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Sept. 2, 2011
Floating Crowbar
Here's the best pseudo Irish band in the area, playing Sept. 1 at Pigout in the Park in Spokane, with my friend Don Thomsen on mandolin...  They're pseudo because I don't think any of them are Irish, but they clearly love the music.
Then I got to see Charlie Musselwhite with a fine blues band.
Charlie Musselwhite band


Charlie Musselwhite
He is a really fine blues harmonicist.  I think he's technically as good as Paul Butterfield was, but never assembled as fine a band as Paul did at his pinnacle.  But Butterfield died young of drugs, and Musselwhite's still chugging...
    The morning started off with a Least Weasel running across our cement patio.  I've only seen them a couple times---they look like a drawn out gopher, but with white below and dark brown above.  They feed mostly on mice, so I was happy to see it.  They can even catch rabbits, according to Wikipedia, but mostly babies... 

Sept. 3
    The kiln that I rebuilt the kiln shutoff on successfully fired today (always a concern after a rebuild).  The weather remains pleasant and sunny, and customers streamed in all day, while across the street several canopies were removed from Maine St. businesses in preparation for sidewalk and street work starting next week.  There are lots of colors of spray paint indicating where various pipes and cables lie under the concrete.  It should be interesting to observe...  I'm also considering a dusty pottery sale, anticipating that things will get.... dusty.

Sept. 4
    A relative of one of our church members decided to put on the one woman play "Zelda" in the small community building in Coolin by Priest Lake, and we attended the performance this evening.  It was a capacity crowd of around 30, reminding me of the small theater in Paris where I saw The Bald Soprano (in French) in the early 1970's.  (The Bald Soprano was written in English, which was Ionesco's second language--I saw it in his native French, which I had no comprehension of whatever.  It seemed fitting for viewing that Absurdist masterpiece).  Given the astonishing intimacy of this theater setting, as well as the exhausting demands of a monologue, the actress Denise Paulette
 did a wonderful job with a difficult portrayal of the madness of the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald...   In spite of my literary bent, I was pretty well left out in the literary allusions to people like Alice Toklas, Gertrude Stein, and even Fitzgerald (of whom I've read Gatsby but didn't like it).  But over all it was a very worthwhile experience.

Sept. 5 Labor Day

With a minimum of critical faculties employed, I decided to be in the Labor Day parade as the Spirit of Agriculture.  This is shortly before the short parade started--I'm the one with the corn stalks and pumpkin.  To the left was a group of adults and kids who play a war game similar to paint balls.
To the right with the orange beacon is one of the town's tricked out lawnmowers--resembling an army ambulance.  The little girl was on roller blades, and the other flag was part of a disabled vets truck.   I teased the kids, who were all wearing camoflage, that they didn't know anything about camoflage...  The photo was by son Birrion.
    The rest of the day I spent quite a bit of time playing music in the park, some solo, and some with a group of musicians most of whom I'd never played with.  In an instance like that, I went with Hank Williams and some household old time songs like Golden Slippers.

Sept. 6
    I made the round trip to Seattle for clay again today--took about 12 hours round trip, including an hour and a half walking the waterfront downtown.  There I was lucky to see a fireboat spraying out its hoses:

It was behind the breakwater, so it appears to be coming out of the moored boat in the foreground...  It was a lovely warm day, no clouds in any of the 650 miles I drove.  I stopped near Ellensburg and got 5 boxes of peaches for canning.  It seems like canning always happens when the weather is hot, as it's expected to be through the weekend...

 Sept. 7
    Back to the pottery business today, and watching Maine Street get stripped to the gravel with the road resurfacing.  I fired a couple kilns and threw a lot of canisters and chicken cookers.  The weather is varying from the mid 40's to the mid 80's, so it's easy to keep the houses cool with judicious use of windows.  It's so dry that the cats crackle with static when you pet them.  

Sept. 8
    The corn is at its peak, so I picked a five gallon bucket full of cobs today, cut the corn off and froze it (without blanching).   There's still probably 3 times more still awaiting use or freezing--you wish you could eat it all, but it's great to have in the winter as well.   I also tried freezing some small cherry tomatoes whole, then putting them into a bag--they were as hard as marbles after freezing.  I'm not sure how we'll use them this winter--probably soups.

Sept. 9
    I settled in to throwing again today, and made over 100 pots, so I know what I'll be doing tomorrow--assembling and trimming them. The weather continues hot, but with the longer evenings it's easy to cool off overnight.

Sept. 10
    We spent too much time watching the men's semifinals in tennis today (after I dealt with the 100 pots).  When I watch tennis it reminds me of the myth of Sysiphus--the guy who always pushed the rock to the top, just to start over again.  In the case of tennis, they play a bunch, and then one of them wins a set, then they play another bunch, and another...  There's more variety to football, but tennis has the same kind of excitement as baseball--all in the anticipation of what the next swing will bring...  I liked some of the long volleys particularly...
    The hot weather continues to bring lots of people to the lake, and coincidentally to our pottery shop.  So far the construction hasn't affected us, but I'm sure it's been harder on the businesses where the street is all torn up...

Sept. 12
    It's cornucopia time, so I spent the afternoon freezing broccoli, cauliflower, and corn, and we spent the evening canning 5 canners of peaches.  I also managed to catch the end of the US Opens tennis match (we felt it was Djokovic's turn to win, and he did).

 Sept. 13
This is our new shower at our main residence.  The white disks are tiles I'd thrown on the wheel and used for a fountain in front which was later demolished.  There are stones and seashells also imbedded in the grout.  The sliding doors were from the Habitat for Humanity store.  The project worked out very well.
    We were swimming at the Mill Pond tonight (wondering which day of this week, with a 5 degree drop predicted per day, we'll stop) when one of us pulled this lost snorkel out of the water with this weird blob on it:

The blob is attached to the snorkel, and is a sac full of (apparently) water.  The short stick- like appendages are growing out of it.  I'm going to link to it on Facebook and see if social networking can identify it...

Sept. 15
    No luck on the mystery growth pictured above...
Today was a busy day, with a Chamber of Commerce meeting first thing, and a pottery group meeting in the late afternoon, and a scheduled performance at the Spokane Valley Elks this evening. My bassist friend brought a childhood friend from Indiana with him who was an excellent guitarist and sat in on the jam that followed our performance.  All events were worth attending, but the day went fast.  This was also the first day the weather only reached around 70, probably ending the swimming season for me...

Sept. 17
    Now that the highs are only near 70, we had our first fire in the woodstove at the pottery today.  First I had to sweep the chimney, which only takes about 15 minutes.  The stove had built up lots of scrap paper in it, so it wasn't a real long fire.  Fall  makes one think of using the oven more.
    I also fired two glaze kilns today, which in the winter can provide some heat to the adjacent pottery workshop, but I didn't try to get any of that heat today, since I won't be working there again until Monday.
    I walked around the Mill Pond today.  I noticed a house had burned in the Spirit Shores development sometime this summer.  Also there had been logging on the back side of the Pond, and for some reason a lot of young trees got their lower branches sawed off.   I stopped at the prominent rock on the far side, and thought about how natural the rock had looked for many years, but currently it's been used for campfires with a lot of charred wood lying on it.  I attribute a lot of this to 4 wheeled ATVs that have made a wide path to that rock and throughout the back woods area.   That's progress...

Sept. 20
Roman Nose Lake number 2
We drove about 90 miles to hike around the Roman Nose Lakes near Bonners Ferry Idaho today.  The drive took about 3 hours, due to construction in Sandpoint and getting lost trying to find the access road.  Then we had a few hours of beautiful sunny warm afternoon to explore the area, which has 3 high mountain lakes.  When we arrived there were about a dozen serious huckleberry pickers with 5 gallon buckets and special comb-scoops to pick the small berries as fast as possible.  The berries sell for $35 or more per gallon, and some of them picked 5 gallons in the morning, so there's a small subculture of people who earn a reasonably fast buck at picking them for profit (but it's a long drive to most berry areas).   We picked a few berries, grazing as we hiked.
    High mountain lakes have different trees and shrubs than we have (including, unfortunately, the huckleberries).  I could see a lot of columbines gone to seed, which we have in the garden but not locally as well.   It was great to get out to new surroundings for a day...

Sept. 21
    It was back to glazing work today, after the nice walk yesterday.   It was in the 70's today, warm enough to take a walk at dusk without a jacket.  I think it will be one of the latest frosts on records, since there's warm weather predicted through the weekend.
    Since we've started making videos of sermons at our little church in the woods, here's the first one of my wife.  It happens to be pretty long--around 27 minutes.  It's in 3 separate videos:
Pastor Sondahl's Sept. 18 Sermon part 1
Pastor Sondahl's Sept. 18 Sermon part 2
Pastor Sondahl's Sept. 18 Sermon part 3


Sept. 23
It was 85 and I went swimming today--probably the latest I have ever swum in the lake.   The cold nights have the lake mostly suitable for plunging.
Besides pottery I made some spaghetti sauce with onions, zucchini, and green peppers, and cooked it slowly on top of a cooling kiln.  Then I put it in pint jars and froze it...

Sept. 24
Another day in the 80's, and the swimming seemed more tolerable as well.   We hated to see the day end, it was so nice...

Sept. 26
Okay, it's finally Fall--long sleeves all day, and a chance of frost tomorrow night.  I started on the raspberry patch, which looked like a jungle at the start, with 10 foot tall new canes, and the short row I worked through finished looking  like a tame little patch of 4 foot canes (and old ones cut out).  Our old tame chicken has been spending her days laying around in the raspberries--it won't be so private for her now.  When I came out to the garden she had about 20 quail around her--apparently they regard her as a big mama quail.

Sept. 27
    I saw an interesting glaze recipe online today so I added it to my glaze database, found a couple similar ones on there to test as well, and mixed up 3 glaze tests today, plus their various combinations.  With luck a reddish brown glaze might emerge, or something unexpected.  I don't do a lot of glaze testing in recent years, because I've got so many patterns already it's hard to add another, or even another glaze bucket, but once in a while I get the curiosity working again...
    I mixed the glaze tests after trimming a lot of pots from yesterday and glazing a bisque load for firing.
    It sprinkled all morning, maybe totaling 1/4 inch, but enough to keep the dust settled.  As I write this evening, it doesn't feel likely to freeze, so I'm not spreading plastic on the tomatoes...  Life is a gamble...
    This evening I recorded a couple music videos:
Skillet Good and Greasy    And  Hobo's Lullaby

Sept. 28
    One of the glaze tests I included in the firing yesterday proved to be a matte purple, a color that has been requested enough that I might mix a batch.  I'd rather it was a gloss glaze, but the other combinations of that test that were glossier lost the whole purple effect...
    The frost held off last night, but tonight it's likely, so I've covered the tomatoes to extend their season a few more days.  If it doesn't achieve that, at least the ripening tomatoes won't be damaged by the frost so they can ripen after picking...

Sept. 29
    The day was spent dealing with the 100 or so pots made yesterday, and going and playing music for a farmer's market in Spokane.  They both went fine--but I'm pretty busy getting ready for a family visit trip so no updates till next midweek.

   
Books read and other media of note:
Wicked Apetites by Janet Evanovich.  Although she's a gifted writer, she writes from a formula, that she reapplies over and over again.  This one smacks of "similar characters, similar plot style."  PG Wodehouse could carry off the same plot over and over with panache.  This one is not so alluring.

Darling Buds of May (Granada TV series on DVD).
I've read the H.E. Bates books, and really enjoy this family comedy series about an amoral but lovable family of English rural characters, especially enjoyable was the young Catherine Zeta Jones...

Enigma (film).
 It's always hard to know how true to life an historical film is--this one on the British codebreakers who broke the German code in WWII.  With screenplay by Tom Stoppard, it was delightful if challenging watching, and as much a love triangle story as a spy thriller.

The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer.  
Another engaging bit of juvenile fantasy...

Schooled by Gordon Korman  
This book is clearly for middle schoolers, but I've always enjoyed Korman's clear writing, humor, and clever plots, this time involving a time capsule hippie kid, nearly the last resident of a commune, forced to attend public school when his caretaker breaks a hip.   It had shades of Napoleon Dynamite...

She wouldn't Say Yes (film, 1945)
Rosalind Russell.  A too serious female psychiatrist meets a smitten Army cartoonist, with classic comedy complications...

My Sister Eileen (film, 1942)
Rosalind Russell.  Another very funny screwball comedy, about the antics around a pair of sisters taking on the Big Apple.  I thought I'd seen most of the great screwball comedies, but this Icons of Screwball Comedy rescued some fine old films.  I also see this one was reworked in color in 1955.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
 Although Butcher's juggling too many characters this late in the series to make a totally coherent story, I really enjoyed Harry Dresden exploring his own murder.

If You Could Only Cook (film, 1935).  Released on a DVD series called Icons of Screwball Comedy, which I secured through our local library, it was a funny plot with truly screwball elements (lovable gangsters, millionaire pretending to be poor).  I liked Jean Arthur better than Herbert Marshall, who doesn't have the film presence of Cary Grant or even Fred MacMurray.  

Too Many Husbands (film 1945)  Jean Arthur, Melvyn Douglas, and Fred MacMurray.  Great chemistry in this comedy based on a story by Sumerset Maugham.  Accidental bigamy was a popular theme back then...



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