Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Green ash glazed mug

Here's another of the large mugs in my collection. This one has a handle that is a bit of overkill, but in spite of that, it works.

Although I didn't have gardening on my schedule yesterday, and planned a whole day in the studio, as often happens it turned out to be one of those "man plans, God laughs days". I told Jim that I've had way too many of those days lately!

Our stone contractor, Chris Boone called and said he would be coming out around 12:30and although Jim thought he was only coming to go over the planned work, his crew showed up an hour earlier, which made me think they might intend to continue the project that was started last fall. So I finished the pot I was throwing, went into action, grabbed my shovel out of the pottting shed and headed down to the terraced gardens to dig out some well entrenched perennials and a small shrub that were in one of the terraces where they're raising stone walls and filling them in with more soil.

Just as I finished digging up the plants and doing a bit of weeding, Chris arrived and we had to go over the plans for the rest of the stone work and some ideas he had for my Japanese fountain. If this morning's rain forecast doesn't stop them, the crew may be back today with another couple of tons of stone and a truckload of top soil. I still have 2 grape vines to dig out of one of the terraces which I hope I can get to this afternoon. I hope those roots aren't too deep after a season of growth.

After our meeting, I headed back to the studio and threw a few things more things before I had to come in and start on dinner. I was able to get back out to the studio after dinner and work for about another hour and a half. It definitely felt good to finally be able to feel well enough to get my body working again!

I'm a bit achy this morning and hope a nice long, hot shower will ease these achy muscles. We're having beans and cornbread tonight, so I think I'll get started early on dinner so I can work uninterrupted till dinner time. I'm finding that starting some dinner prep early rather than doing it at the end of the work day is better for my energy level and gets dinner on the table early!

Till later,

Monday, March 30, 2009

Carbon trap shino mug

Here's a very nice, large, comfortable, carbon trap,shino mug that I bought at the craft show in Melbourne, Florida several years ago. I like large mugs with generous handles and this one fits the bill very nicely!

Yesterday I did make it to the studio but didn't get more than a couple of pots thrown when Jim came home with another box of plants for me to deal with. This is the time of year where all the plants I ordered in the fall or early, start arriving - often at the most inopportune times! There were some bare root plants (irises, day lilies,perennial geraniums etc.)that had to get planted after lunch.

It was too cool and windy to do any more planting than necessary. The forecast says it's going to be in the high 60's Thursday, so I'll try to get some of my other planting done then.

After dinner I went back to the studio to cut off those couple of pots and do some thick slip decoration on a bowl,throw a lid for a small jar, clean my tools and call it a day.

Yesterday morning some of my cosmos seeds sprouted. Some were older seed that I was concerned about, but the south facing window in my warmer office seems to be the ideal conditions for this latest batch of seeds. This morning, some of the newly planted tomato seeds have sprouted; and I'm hopeful that the rest will also respond to the warmer, sunnier, space (I turned the upstairs heat up to 73F!)

Well, time for morning vitamins and back to the studio. I'm getting a late start after sleeping in this morning. I should get in 5 hours of work before dinner, which is leftover pork roast. Jim can preheat the oven, so I can work till 4:30, come in and make a batch of garlic/rosemary/roasted potato pieces. They only take about 30 -40 minutes in a 400F oven, and they've become our favorite potato - super healthy, no butter. I just toss them with some olive oil, very light sprinkling of cayenne,salt,about 1 large cloves of garlic per potato, sliced thin, and fresh, chopped rosemary leaves.

Till later,

Green Stoneware Manning Jar

Here's a strong vase form that we purchased around 5-6 years ago at a gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. I don't know the full name of the maker. The signature on the pot is "Manning". Googling didn't bring forth any more information, so if anyone knows his first name, it would be nice to give him credit.

We were very impressed with the quality and volume of work in his shows.

We were pretty numb yesterday after the past couple of days, so I decided to just vegg out, read the Sunday papers, take a sea salt soak in the jaccuzzi tub, read my Gourmet magazine, and cook a nice garlic/rosemary pork roast and oven roasted potatoes dinner.

It wasn't a gardening day - too windy and cold. Today I may get some planting in if it warms up enough after lunch, otherwise I'll put it off till tomorrow. After breakfast I'm going to water water my seedlings and head to the studio, water studio plants and maybe get some work done. I'm still very tired and not feeling 100%. I have two more days to go on these antibiotics and I hope by then I'll have rebounded from this bug that I can't seem to shake.

Time to head for the studio and see if I can get the energy to do more than shuffle papers.

Till later!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Love Ash glazed bottle vase

Here's a beautifully thrown, green, ash glazed piece by a Southern Oregon potter. Unfortunately there's no discernible signature on the bottom. He was a new member of Clayfolk, the S.Oregon clay group that year (1998). All I remember was that he was living and working in the Cave Junction area.

Yesterday was spent grieving and trying to recharge our batteries after a painful and draining night and morning dealing with the loss of our beloved Shanti. I took a several hour nap in the afternoon, went to bed early and slept till 7am and still feel like I need more recharging.

So today I'm going to vegg out, take care of my seedlings (the first of the newly planted ones - lacy marigolds have sprouted over night),and hopefully feel energized enough to cook the pork loin dinner I have planned.

Till later,

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Here's a picture of our dog Shanti, taken two years ago before the Cushings and other disease began to ravage his little body.

This morning at 8:30 he had to be euthanized after a night of pain and internal bleeding. Jim and I are devastated at the loss of our beloved Shanti. We had 12 years with him and were hoping for more time; but it wasn't meant to be.

The vet thinks that the Cushings symptoms masked a far greater, life threatening, cancerous liver tumor that unfortunately did not show in the Xrays.

After being up all night with him, and feeling so impotent in the presence of his pain, it was, in a sense, a relief to know that he isn't in pain any longer.

It's a day to grieve and rest.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Juan Quezado bowl

Here's a lovely example of Juan Quezado's work, which I purchased frome him around 25-30 years ago while attending his workshop at Valley College in Southern California. Unfortunately, a cleaning lady damaged the rim several years ago; but it's still a favorite piece.

Quezado lives in Mata Ortiz, and as a young man he discovered pottery shards and spent years teaching himself the art, testing native materials, making brushes from yucca, etc. He has taught many in Mata Ortiz and as a result of his passion and dedication to re-discovering the ceramic techniques of his ancestors, many in his community are thriving.

Yesterday was a busy and emotional day and looks like today is going to be more of the same. Jim took our dog Shanti to the vets. He's very dehydrated from two days of not being able to keep anything down, so we asked them to keep him overnight. They're going to treat him for the nausea and do some blood work. We don't know what the outcome will be; but he can't go on this way, poor guy.

Then this morning we found blood on the sofa, from Bodhi, our younger dog. The universe is certainly throwing challenges at everyone lately. :-(

On a good note, I actually got in the studio yesterday and got all my cone 6 and cone 10 soda recipes sorted and did some glaze chemistry, tweeking some recipes. I also got in the garden and planted a package of sweet peas and did some weeding. Depending on how things go with the vet, I may get in some studio time today. It is definitely not a day for gardening.

Till later,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ellen Shankin Jar

Here's a beautiful jar from my collection by Ellen Shankin. She is a member of 16 hands - a group of very talented potters in Virginia. You can google the group and see the wonderful work of all of its members.

After hours of cruising the net and reading computer reviews, I finally made my choice - another Dell XPS. This time I got the 4 year insurance. The up side is that for the same price of the last one I got much more ram (4gigs) and much larger hard drive (500gig and a few other goodies like Blue tooth, wireless mouse and keyboard. It's due around April 10th, so I'll have to learn Vista which I'm not thrilled about and if the new Windows 7 winds up superior, which early reports are saying, then I might have that installed eventually. The other down side is that I might have to eventually replace some of my software for these new Windows operating systems.

The morning started before 5am with Shanti having another pee accident on the bedroom floor. After I cleaned it up and got him out to make sure he was empty, I was actually able to get back to sleep for an hour. Needless to say, Jim is heading to Walmart after breakfast to purchase doggie diapers! On top of the lack of bladder control,since yesterday he hasn't been able to keep down any food. We're feeling pretty sad about the possibility of losing our beloved Shanti.

Three yearling deer are in the garden now. Does kick their yearlings out around this time of year, before giving birth again, and the poor dears always look a bit confused, trying to adjust to their newly forced independence.

It's planting day according to my Farmers Almanac so after breakfast I'll be planting some veggie and flower seeds. Some earlier tomatoes and peppers didn't sprout - possibly because the basement wasn't warm enough, so this time I'm putting them in the south facing window in my warm office.

We're waiting for a call back from the vet, so I'm not sure how the rest of our day is going to unfold.

Till later,

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oribe mug

Here's a lovely oribe glaze over a matt gold/orange. Unfortunately,I don't remember the makers name. We purchased this at the craft show in the civic center in Asheville a few years ago, from a young woman who had recently graduated from the John Campbell school, I believe. Like most mugs I buy, this is a generous size. Since I only allow myself 2 cups of tea a day from one tea bag, I want a big cup!

I love the movement and multi color nature of the oribe over the matt glaze on this mug. If anyone knows the maker, I'd appreciate her name.

Well, the 3 1/2 year old Dell XPS laptop finally had it's last gasp of breath last night, so now I have to get serious about getting another one. Since it's a rainy day, and I'm still on antibiotics,and avoiding the studio till this thing clears,this will be a good way to spend my time today.

Last night,I researched switching to a Macintosh laptop and got it priced, but it's several hundred dollars more expensive than the comparable Dell XPS, and the Dell has a 500 gig hard drive 180 gigs more than the Mac; and with the Mac I'd have to learn their software. Also,my Windows software would have to be replaced, so back to my research. I don't need a gaming laptop like my last one. It was more computer than necessary for my needs, so I have to see if there's another, less expensive, alternative that will fill the bill. Service and reliability and value for the money are important. Any suggestions anyone?

First thing this morning I repotted a few tomato plants into larger peat pots and got my seedlings watered and took more photos of my pottery collection for the blog.

Yesterday we stopped at Walmart on the way back from the doctor's and they were just starting to unload a plant delivery truck and I was able to get a couple of larger tomato plants to fill in my own starters, a yellow bell pepper,cilantro and a 6 pack of cauliflower. A few needed immediate transplanting to large pots which I did when we got home. Then the glass people arrived and installed the new shower door which took most of the afternoon, and then it was time to prepare dinner.

This rain is supposed to continue for several days, so gardening must wait and if these antibiotics do their job I should be able to get back to work.

Jim is bringing home Chinese takeout for dinner, so I get can this computer thing settled one way or another today.

Till later,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lorraine Herman porcelain box

Here's a sweet little porcelain box from my collection. This was made in the 70's by Canadian potter Lorraine Herman.

Yesterday's play day went well. We drove up to Banner Elk, did some wine and grocery shopping (Lowe's food had a great sale on wine, so much that Jim bought 18 bottles!) :-) My favorite nursery isn't open yet, but it looks like they're starting to get ready.

We had a lunch of steamed mussels in a tomato based, spicy sauce and brought home one of their pizzas for dinner, so I didn't have to cook.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening trying to decide on a new computer and the funniest thing is that this sick laptop worked fine for 8 hours, without one blue screen of death. Jim said that my threatening to buy a new one scared it into behaving! LOL

This morning I have an early doctors appointment in Burnsville, one the way home we have to stop at Walmart and the local food store to pick up a few more things. Other than watering seedlings, which will be my gardening chore of the day, I doubt that there will be much if any studio time today, other than filing some papers and some tidying.

Tonight's a cooking night - lamb chops and caesar salad (Jim's favorite), so I'll only get a couple of hours in the studio before I start on our usual, early dinner.

Till later,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

LeAnne Ash jar

Shanti, our older, somewhat incontinent dog, woke me at 5 AM this morning and after I took him out I wasn't able to get back to sleep, so I using this time to get my email and blog done early.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, that even though this flu bug is still hanging on, I was able to get into the garden after lunch and worked till 5:30. I got a couple of beds weeded, planted around 75 red and white onions and a row of potatoes, got it all watered in and came in and made dinner. I was soooo tired afterwards but felt so good at the same time. There's something about sitting on the earth and getting my hands in the soil that is very healing for me.

We watched the finals tennis from Indian Wells and I fell asleep midway in the woman's final which Jim had taped for me.

Since this is a no planting day according to the Farmers Alamanac, which I'm trying to follow this year, we're going to make it a play day and have lunch out and do some food and wine shopping. I'm hoping one of my favorite nurseries is open for the season so I can pick up some more veggie starts.

My peonies are starting to come up and the whole garden seems to be coming alive with these couple of warm, sunny days.

Till later,

Kevin Crowe woodfired bottle

Here's a beautiful wood fired bottle by Kevin Crowe.

After breakfast I took some more photos of my pottery collection while the computer was re-booting after yet another blue screen of death. It's been taking up most of the morning just trying to get back on numerous times to read email, do a registry clean up, etc.

I'm still dealing with this flu bug and gave in and started antibiotics this morning which will hopefully shorten the life cycle of this bug. So bug, or no bug, I'm headed for the garden later. It's sunny and warmer today, so after I have my green smoothie lunch I'm going to go out and plant some onion bulbs and maybe plant some potatoes. According to my Farmers Almanac the next good day for planting root crops is Wednesday; but rain is expected, so it's today or I'll have to wait till April 10.

Till later,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

First Robin of Spring

Spring is definitely here - the first robin showed up yesterday. The photo isn't great because I had to take it through the bedroom window, lest I frighten him away.

It wound up being too cold and windy to plant yesterday. I also received another plant order - some raspberries, boysenberries and another grape vine. Since they were bare rooted, I had to get them and the elderberries which I was going to plant, temporarily into large pots.They'll have to be content in their temporary home until I shake this bug and the weather warms up a bit.

We took all the seedlings in for the night. It went down to the 20's overnight, so I don't think we'll have an early morel season.

I don't know who feels worse - me with the flu bug or Shanti whose been on antibiotics all week and had another pee accident on our bed last night. :-( I'm beginning to think the problem is not a bladder infection but a result of the Cushing's disease. Poor little guy is 12 years old and fading fast, I'm afraid.

Since I wasn't fit for planting or studio work with this fluish cold/fever, etc, I just tended my indoor seedlings, made breakfast and green smoothies for lunch, re-heated leftovers for dinner and watched a depressing movie "Only in America" while Jim watched the college basketball play off games, and worked on my huge paper pile. We also watched some of the woman's tennis semi-finals from Indian Wells before going to bed.

I'll get in the studio later to file away a lot of these sorted papers, glaze recipes,etc and maybe do a bit more cleanup in there. I'm so behind with studio work but I'm not going to angst over it. I might get around to getting my photo cube set up in the basement and take more pictures of my pottery collection for the blog.

Till later,

Friday, March 20, 2009

Michael Cardew pottery

Here's a cute little bowl that I got from the Michael Cardew pottery years ago. I always loved his work and it was a joy to visit the pottery and meet him. It was soon after Leach and Hamada had passed away - two of my other early, pottery heros, and I was determined to meet Cardew while he was still on this earth!

He was picking some lettuce in the garden when I arrived and I commented on his nice, big garden and he said he couldn't make it bigger because there would be no time to make pots. He loved the fact that I bought pots on their own merit without turning them over to see if they had his signature. There weren't many pots in his little shop but there was a new show of his work in town and we headed there after our visit.

The plan for yesterday went a bit awry when two elderberry bushes arrived in the mail. Fortunately I was feeling a bit better and it was warm, so I loaded up on vitamins and headed for the wood shed, retrieved my shovel, mixed up peat moss,mushroom compost and planting mix and headed down the hill to dig two holes. That area of our property is high clay but the only place I have left that is sunny enough for them. Elderberries need good drainage so I dug deep holes.

The bushes are soaking now, as recommended and I'll plant them this afternoon when it's warmer.
It was 28 degrees when I walked the dogs at 6:30. Fortunately we brought the more tender seedlings in the mudroom for the night. I covered my planter full of lettuce seedlings with one of my jackets; but it too, seemed to have survived the cold. We'll bring that in tonight!

Yesterday wound up being pretty productive. I did a lot of work on my sketchbook and did a lot of glaze notation and have two piles (cone 6 and cone 10) of glaze recipes I want to test and worked on the computer while watching some of the college basketball (Jim is a big fan), and then meditation before bedtime.

This morning I'll head to the studio after breakfast. I have to water the plants in there, and do a lot of tidying. It's colder today than yesterday with an expected high in the mid fifties, but not till 3 o'clock, so I'll probably wait until well after lunch time to plant those elderberries.

Till later,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hellebores blooming

Here are a couple of pictures of the Hellebores that are now blooming in my garden.

Yesterday was something of a wasted day - spent taking vitamins, drinking a lot of liquids and working on my pottery sketchbook, watering my seedlings and listening to archived Coast to Coast shows.

I sketch pots on little pieces of paper and then eventually put them in the book; and getting them into the book was long overdue. I'll probably continue that project today while catching up on my Netflix movies that have been sitting here for a couple of days. I only get two at a time and still find it difficult to find time to watch them.

I did manage to take the dogs out for a short walk, pick a few weeds (very few),and make a simple spaghetti dinner (Jim's suggestion and sauce compliments of Classico),and take these photos of the hellebores.

During the walk through the garden, Bodhi, our Jack Russell rescue dog, cleared the garden of a mole. I can't believe how quickly he heard it, stuck his nose in the soil and came up with the poor critter. What focus! I bought some organic granules to spread around the garden to repel them but haven't gotten around to applying it yet. I guess Bodhi wants to earn his keep! LOL

Shanti, our Lhasa seems to be doing well on the antibiotics - haven't had a pee accident in two days! Thank you God!

Today will be another day of quiet activity, watering seedlings and potted plants (two new tomato seedlings came up overnight), working on the sketch book and try to get some time in the studio to do some organizing if nothing else. This cold/flu bug is still hanging around but I do feel like I have more energy this morning. Dinner is already covered - leftover corned beef and cabbage.

Till later,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The New Cold Frame

Here's the new cold frame. They did a great job with it. We're expecting freezing or close to freezing temperatures in a few days, so it will come in handy for all those seedlings I'm hardening off.

Yesterday was one very busy day! Around 8:30am we got a call from our contractor and friend, Jim, that his workers would be over soon to put together and install the new cold frame. It was so beautiful and warm that I was out in the garden planting and weeding right after breakfast. I got 15 pansies planted in a couple of beds and then planted a bunch more pansies in a new, large, round planter for the outdoor table. I weeded one of the flower beds and got the seedlings and newly planted things watered. By that time it was around one o'clock so I came in and grabbed an apple and a couple of almonds for lunch and started on the corned beef and cabbage dinner.

We had a lovely dinner with our good friends Jim and Laura. I made two corned beefs so we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. Tonight I'll make linguini and clam sauce to break up meat meals. We had Irish coffee and hazelnut, chocolate, cookies for dessert while we watched our DVD of "The Three Irish Tenors". I was concerned that the coffee might keep me awake since I'm not a coffee drinker; but I guess the whiskey in the Irish coffee balanced the caffeine, because I had no trouble getting to sleep; but Jim, the coffee drinker had a bad night, so I guess the coffee, which he's not used to drinking at night, affected him.

I woke with feeling fluish again. Whatever bug I caught about a month ago,leaves with a couple of days of mega vitamin therapy and then seems to come back a week or ten days later. It's just a tad annoying! So I'll just get back on my vitamin therapy after breakfast.

After breakfast I'll get outside and do some more weeding. According to my new Farmers Almanac, today isn't good for planting or much else in the garden, so watering, weeding and cutting out dead tops of perennials will be the garden work of the day.

Time to make some poached eggs and get on with my day.

Till later,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oribe wood and soda fired Yunomi

Here is one of my Yunomis. It's Oribe glaze over #6 tile slip, wood fired with soda.

Yesterday was as I expected - no time for much else but the vets, a short food shopping trip, cooking and dealing with the computer. Shanti, our elderly Lhasa Apso is back on antibiotics for either the start of a bladder infection or the advancing stages of Cushing's disease. The vet also upped his Cushing's medicine. The poor dear has lost so much of his beautiful coat from this disease; but the saving grace is that he doesn't seem to be in pain. His appetite is good and he has gotten a bit perkier since he's been on the medication for Cushings. Hopefully the antibiotics will take care of all the pee accidents I've had to clean up the past couple of days. With all these non expected activities, I keep holding the thought that I WILL get to the studio eventually. Actually, I got in there yesterday to put some things away, change grow lights (3 had blown), and retrieve some glaze books I needed for some glaze noting I did last night.

We finally have a non-rainy morning! The contractor has already called and they'll be setting up the cold frame today! I'll probably get out there when they arrive and see if there's any planting I can do when it warms up a bit. I'm sure the soil is going to be pretty wet after a few rainy days. With friends coming over for a St Patrick's day corned beef and cabbage dinner there won't be much time for the garden even if the soil is workable. I'll probably only get to plant a few tulip bulbs which are still in the bag and sprouting and maybe pull a few weeds, if I'm lucky.

The computer woes continue. Just when I thought I had somehow solved the blue screen of death, I got it repeatedly after trying to download an updated version of my anti-spam software. I finally gave up and stopped the software from loading at start up and that seems to have fixed it to a certain degree. That software as well as the anti virus software expires in a couple of weeks so I may try the new Norton which has gotten good reviews. The hard drive is badly damaged and I just don't think the computer is worth repairing since it's making other ungodly sounds at times,after which a white screen appears and the computer shuts off.

Waiting for all these computer re-boots for days, has given me plenty of time to go through months of magazines as well as dealing with a lot of other paperwork and email cleaning,so it's been a productive, although frustrating time.

Till later,

Monday, March 16, 2009

Salt glazed sake set from Japan

Here's a nice little, blue accented, sake set from one of my Japan trips.

I don't know what happened but after I was able to download Windows SP3, and re-loading my anti virus software, the blue screen of death hasn't appeared since! After days of frantically trying to download my documents in between the blue screen of death appearing regularly, giving messages with the words "fatal error", this is quite a surprise. Yesterday I even spent time researching laptops, figuring that any minute I was going to have to buy a new one!

The universe has a great sense of humor, though. Now that this problem seems to be temporarily solved, and company is gone, our dog Shanti has been having pee accidents, probably due to another infection due to the Cushing disease he's on medication for. So today's plan to get studio time is probably going to change to "take Shanti to the vet day". After two accidents yesterday, we wound up taking him out about every hour and a half; and of course it was raining most of the time! Poor dear is 12 years old and seems to be fading fast lately.

If we can get an early enough appointment at the vets, I may be able to get in some studio time this afternoon. With more rain coming, gardening is out of the question other than watering seedlings, maybe planting more seeds. Hopefully I will be able to get in some time in the studio. I'm getting a bit frustrated at not being able to find work time!

Till later,

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Here's a yunomi I purchased on one of my Japan trips. I can't believe how thin this piece is! The glaze is the most beautiful, combination of rich colors - mahogany brown, deep ochre, and green. I also purchased some sake sets from this pottery. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the pottery but I do remember that an elderly woman potter who owned the pottery and she was very sweet and very gracious.

Yesterday was spent on the computer all day, except for cooking, eating, walking the dogs and other necessities of daily living.

I got most of my documents saved on my new stand alone hard drive and just as I was finishing the last few files, the blue screen of death came up; so I re-booted, and ran the anti-virus software and went to bed. Fortunately, on the third try, it finally worked and no virus showed up, so the problem is probably what we thought - a dying hard drive/computer.

This morning I'm trying to download XP last sofware download. I've gotten the blue screen of death once so this download may take a few tries. At some point today, I have to research some laptop reviews.

It's been raining all morning so my gardening today may only consists of watering seedlings and maybe transplanting the rest of the lobelias if time permits.Early this week my contractor should be delivering the completed cold frame they're building for me. Then I'll be able to get a lot of these seedlings housed safely in case of any late freezes.
Well, time to get back to work on this sick computer.

Till later,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vivika Heino salt glazed bowl

Here's a darling little salt glazed bowl by my late friend and glaze teacher Vivika Heino.

Our daughter and husband left this morning and Jim and I have been busy all day getting the house back in order and getting back into our nice, relaxed, quiet routine.

My friend McKenzie Smith called. He's doing a workshop this month at Penland and we're hoping we can touch base before he heads back to Florida.

I spent some time this morning transplanting a large amount of snapdragons and brought them and others upstairs and into the kitchen greenhouse window.

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with this dying laptop. I've managed to get on for minutes at a time to download important document and other files to my new, stand alone hard drive and I have most things copied now. My son-in-law the computer whiz thinks my hard drive is badly damaged and this laptop is old enough and used so much that a new one is in the offing. I just wish Window 7 was out already because I don't want to use the latest Windows operating system. Maybe I can pick up an inexpensive, small laptop with XP and then get a better one after Windows 7 comes out at the end of the year.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to have to get on line and see if I can find some useful laptop reviews.

My email is very backed up and I haven't even had time to check out my favorite blogs. :-(

In the next few days I need to take more photos of my pottery collection to share on the blog - so much to do and so little time!

Till later,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Salt glazed fish cup

This is a really nice, sturdy, salt glazed cup I purchased at a gallery/pottery in New Smyrna Beach, Florida several years ago. The only marking is a couple of initials -jr I think.

I'm back on my laptop but it looks like this hard drive is badly damaged, and dying fast. It only lets me stay on a while and then the blue screen of death pops up; but I was able to get all my documents downloaded to the new stand alone hard drive. That took all day! Now I have to decide whether to put more money into this laptop with a new hard drive or just rent or buy a cheap laptop until the new Windows 7 comes in at the end of the year.

We're going to enjoy vegging out on this cloudy, rain expected, day with our daughter and her husband. Friends are coming over tonight to join us for dinner. They're bringing Cosmopolitans and chocolates and we're supplying the burgers with all the trimmings. The family leaves tomorrow and hopefully after a day of cleaning up, I can get back to the garden if it's not raining or into the studio if it is.

Yesterday I planted a few more tomato seeds and planted more frying pepper seeds. The past couple of years I've found that I'm getting a much lower germination rate from commercial seeds. I think it's because many companies are now treating seeds so that you can's save seed and that process is actually affecting the initial germination rate. Corporate greed continues to boggle the mind!

I think I can plant my cold weather vegetable starts and peas now, as well as the onion starts and leeks I got the other day. There are also a few packs of pansies to pot and plant. If the ground isn't too wet after a few days of rain I'd like to get potatoes planted as well. Yesterday I bought some Yukon Gold seed potatoes. I'm also planting Kennebecs this year and maybe some red potatoes like Pontiac's; but Walmart didn't have that variety so I'll have to look elsewhere.

We saw the first daffodils yesterday and it looks like the forsythia is going to bursting into bloom any minute. Spring is definitely breaking through!

Till later,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Soda fired covered jar

Since I'm still in computer hell, I'll keep posting some pictures of some of my pots which are the only ones I can access at the moment. Here's a covered jar from a recent firing.
With house guests it's difficult to find time to blog. Between company and dealing with the blue screen of death, and dinner in Asheville, the day just flew by yesterday.
My son-in-law did his magic and got past the permanent blue screen of death, but we're still getting it periodically, but now we're able to get back into Windows.
We drove to Walmart and I got a huge stand alone hard drive which I'm using it to first, back up important files. Every half hour or so the blue screen of death comes back up and I have to start over. It looks like the hard drive is dying and I'm trying to get as much off there before it finally keels over permanently!
Well, that's it for now. Time to get ready to go out to breakfast and then to do some shopping. We've decided to just hang out at home for the next two days and eat in; so I have to pick up some steaks for tonight and everything for tomorrows barbecue.
We had a great Tapas dinner at Zambras in Asheville last night but we're all ready to vegg out for the next two days before Erin and Sven head back to Germany.

Till later,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

June Perry Soda fired jar

Here's another of my pots. I'll post some of my work until I can get to the other computer or get my camera working on this computer.

The blue screen of death still waits for my son-in-law to either fix it or declare it's demise.

I'm a bit dragging this morning after a full day of gardening yesterday but I have to perk up soon because I have corn bread and shrimp gumbo to make for the weary travelers - daughter and husband, who'll be arriving this afternoon.

Other than watering seedlings, I'll probably stay out of the garden today. One new tomato sprouted this morning; but the rest of those seeds are sure taking their time!

Till later,

Monday, March 09, 2009

Soda fired cruet

Here's one of my pieces from my last firing. Silly me got the background paper upside down, but due computer problem, I can't access the photos of my pot collection which are on my sick laptop.
When I turned the laptop on this morning I got the blue screen of death and every attempt to get in to the computer was to no avail, so after an hour or so I gave up and went on to watering my seedlings and spent most of the rest of the day outside gardening. I had a helper for four hours in the afternoon and we did a huge cleanup.There's still more to do, but I feel a lot better to see the progress I've made this past week.
I tried to get to my email on this old desktop but the Anti-virus software had expired so I've spend the last hour downloading new software - anti-virus and anti-spam. Then I had to remove the old anti-virus software.
Our daughter and son-in-law are coming tomorrow afternoon and I'll see if my son in law can solve the blue screen of death problem. If not I'll have to call Microsoft; but I'm not even sure they're still servicing Windows.

Till later,

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hank Murrow faceted shino chawan

Here's a Hank Murrow, shino chawan that's been faceted with his special twisted faceting wire, which he also makes and sells. Hank is a wonderful potter from the Pacific North West who has the most beautiful blood red shinos.

Today turned out to be a lazy, vegging out Sunday. Yesterday, I overdid the gardening, working from late morning till 4:30 non-stop, with just a glass of water that Jim brought to sustain me. I got one asparagus trench dug and planted and I hope I didn't plant them too early - should have read the instructions again before planting, especially the part where they said the soil should be 50F before planting! I'll wait a couple of weeks before planting the rest of the crowns. I also got the apricot tree planted, dug up and re-planted a couple of perennials and I had my helper start on weeding one of the beds. She's thorough but worked very slowly, so I helped her to almost finish that bed until my lack of lunch headache begged me to stop and get myself an aspirin.

Before breakfast this morning I loaded the garden cart with the day lilies that I'm going to be dividing and re-planting along with bags of compost and planting mix, shovel and water, then realized I was too wiped to wheel that heavy thing down the driveway 200 -300 feet and too tired to dig holes today. So that will have wait till tomorrow, when hopefully, my 69 year old battery is re-charged.

I did manage to get enough energy to take the dogs for a walk down to the creek, clean up some small broken branches in the meadow, check the fruit trees (some look like they're going to come into leaf any minute!) and do an early search for morel mushrooms; but none were to be found. Maybe after a few days of rain later this week, followed by a few over 40F evening, they should begin to come out of hiding.

The rest of my afternoon has been spent doing some reading about Etsy, which totally confused me and sketching pots.. Now I just have to find time and energy to make them; but with our daughter and son-in-law arriving Tuesday for a five day visit, both gardening and pot making will have to wait. Their visits from Germany usually include a lot of shopping and eating out which I'm looking forward to. The Etsy project will have to wait till my brain isn't as tired and after my next firing and the TRAC tour.

I've got a new, simple, garlic shrimp with basil and cherry tomatoes recipe to make for dinner along with some garlic, butter and olive oil linguine. Pasta is definitely my main comfort food - perfect for how I feel today! Cooking dinner and watching a Netflix historical, foreign film will be it for the rest of the day.

Till later,

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Here's a luscious yunomi that I bought at a little shop near Mt. Hood in Oregon several years ago. If anyone knows whose work this is, please let me know. I love the buttery quality of the glaze on this piece.
It's a gorgeous, warm morning here. Not that I'm not going to enjoy it; but these overly warm days this early in the season, brings to mind what happened two years ago when a similar warm spell was followed by several days of hard freeze and we didn't get a single piece of fruit from our fruit trees and lost a couple of Japanese maples and some perennials.
Yesterday I woke up feeling awful but by late morning I was feeling better and after lunch I went out and got my hands in the dirt and did some garden cleanup and dug the hole for the apricot tree. The sun and air were healing. They always are for me.
I'll be planting today and got started yesterday on the trench for the asparagus crowns. I did some research on planting them and the new wisdom is to only plant them 5-6 inches deep for better yield. That is going to make my job a lot easier!
Before breakfast I got at least 30-40 trailing lobelia seedlings and some Italian flat leaf parsley transplanted. They're so tiny, but they were so crowded I had to get them out of the seed starter mix into a potting soil mix. I hope they do OK, since I can't find this variety in local garden stores so I usually start my own. My first tomato seedling sprouted two days ago but the rest are taking their time. I put those peat pots in the greenhouse window this morning, hoping the direct, natural light may wake them up!
The painter is coming to finish up the last of the painting this afternoon and she's bringing her daughter to work in the garden with me for a couple of hours. It will be nice to have a bit of help catching up with the garden cleanup and planting.
Well, time to plant that apricot tree and do more garden cleanup before lunch.

Till later,

Friday, March 06, 2009

Craig Martell porcelain bowl

Here's another Craig Martell piece. I purchased this bowl at the Oregon potters spring sale in the early to mid 90's. It represents the beginning of what became his later more controlled, decorating technique. At another time I'll post a couple of his pieces that were created a few years later. I'll have to find time to take more photos of more pots.
Wound up staying home yesterday afternoon instead of touching base with John and delivering the test tiles. I had to be here because of some construction problems and needed to make sure they were corrected; and Jim was totally wiped after getting back from our shopping trip and wound up taking a long nap.
I got some of my organic planting mix at Walmart, for transplanting some of my veggie seedlings and some bagged perennials and onion starts. The local hardware store had their delivery of potato seeds and I bought 6 lbs of Kennebecs. Hopefully I'll be able to plant them in the next week or so. Once I get those planted I'll get some Red Pontiac potato seeds and maybe some Yukon Golds or Yellow Finns to try.
When we got home they contractors were here and had finished laying the bathroom floor. There was a fit problem with the vanity which we're still working and a few other little glitches to deal with. After putting away the groceries I went down to the basement to water seedlings and saw that one of the begonia bulbs I was over wintering was sprouting, so I go all of them planted and then spent a little time in the garden doing a bit of weeding and cleanup; but there's a great deal more to do when I have the energy and time. I also removed everything from the kitchen greenhouse window and cleaned it and put the plants outside for the day and brought them back in after dinner. Jim washed the inside of the window where I couldn't reach and that did not help his back!
I think I've caught whatever bug Jim's been fighting the past few days. Either that, or the one I have a few weeks ago has come around again. :-(. Last night I had chills and this morning my throat is scratchy, glands swollen and still having chills. Oh joy! I'll load up on the vitamins again and try to get outside when it warms up and get some sun.
If I perk up I'll try to do a bit of garden work on this mid 60's day we're expecting. At this moment, I feel like I just want to be a couch potato; but I have to water my seedlings and get the lettuce and leek seedlings outside for the day. It's going to be warm enough overnight for the next six days so they'll be able to stay out as long as the nights stay above freezing.It was 30F this morning. It wasn't supposed to get that low and I left the cabbage, broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts out; but they seem to have survived.
This morning we got a good laugh about how these old bodies of ours go from one ache and pain to another. You gotta laugh!

Till later,

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Faceted copper green bottle

We bought this elegant, ovoid, faceted, oxidation fired, copper green bottle ten years ago at the Oregon Potters Ass spring sale. I think the signature says "Yhadi, or Shadi???" If anyone knows which of either of these names is correct, let me know.

Yesterday we were busy driving dogs back and forth to the groomers in Micaville, grocery shopping, temporarily potting the bare rooted asparagus and bleeding heart perennial that arrived ,cooking and watering seedlings. It's been so cold that the leftover bag of potting mix was frozen and I had to chip away to loosen it.

There wasn't any time to do the seedling transplanting I had planned. I think what I need is a wife - you know, one of those people who plans menus, grocery shops, darns, mends, cooks, cleans, plans, plants and maintains gardens, preserves food, supervises the construction projects, feeds the pets, etc. Then I would have more time to make pots! LOL

Today will be something of a repeat of yesterday - breakfast out, a Walmart run for a few grocery fill ins that Ingles didn't have, and potting mix and potting soil for the seedling transplanting and outdoor planting I'm going to try to get done the next few days before the rains come. If John is in his studio this afternoon, I'll deliver the finished test tiles.

I'm not sure it's going to be warm enough for me to start digging the trench for the permanent asparagus bed. That may have to wait till tomorrow when it is going to be in the 60's. If I put it off, then I'll try to get in some studio time before I have to start tonight's dinner - simple grilled salmon, baked potatoes and fresh spinach or asparagus.

Till later,

Michael Rutkowsky coffee pot

Here's a very nice stoneware coffee pot by another local potter, Michael Rutkowsky.
Yesterday did not pan out as planned - not in any way. We were both feeling totally wiped and on top of it Jim had pulled his lower back shoveling snow the day before and spent most of the day with a heat pad. He was going to drive me to John Britt's to deliver the test tiles, but when I called John, he was in Asheville. So we spent the day vegging at home. I made Fettucini Alfredo for dinner - heart attack, comfort food!
Today will be a "running around" day. First we have to drive the dogs to Burnsville to the groomer, then have breakfast out, do grocery and other shopping, pick up the dogs and come home. That will probably take most of the day. I hope Jim will be OK. He's still feeling fluish this morning. By the time I get home I'll have to think about starting dinner and don't have a clue what it will be tonight. Maybe I'll do a simple herbal, roasted chicken with oven roasted potatoes and peas. Sounds good!
I probably won't even try to get in any studio time but will use any spare time to re-pot more seedlings. The snapdragons are getting a bit crowded in their starter pots!

Till later,

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ruggles and Rankin wood/soda bowl

Here's another wood/soda fired bowl from Ruggles and Rankin.

Yesterday I spent all morning re-potting seedlings. The afternoon was spent in the studio batching and applying more soda slips and glazes. I have over 50 tests of slips and glazes ready to go with more to make this morning. I worked till 8:30 last night and will get a bit more done some time today.

I have to drop this current batch of tiles off at John Britt's studio for his cone 6 soda test firing this afternoon, do grocery and other shopping and have our big meal of the day at the buffet. Dinner will probably just be some popcorn while I work on glaze chemistry.

Till later,

Monday, March 02, 2009

More snow pictures

Here are some more snow pictures. Love the snow hat on the Buddha statue outside my studio. The little hats on the dormant bee balm in the other picture are lovely as well.

Seed transplanting took longer than expected, so I'm an hour late getting into the studio. Maybe I can make up the time after dinner.

Snow covered morning

We got just enough snow to be pretty and only a minor inconvenience. Jim shoveled the walkways so our little dogs could get to their first morning outing without too much discomfort, and he cleared an area where he puts out the bird food every morning. The birds just dove into the food without the usual bickering and territorial behavior they usually engage in. I guess they were too cold and too hungry to waste energy on anything but feeding!

I had to cancel my doctors appointment in Burnsville this morning. The roads haven't been cleared yet and we're not seeing any car traffic yet, so the road may be a mess.

Yesterday I took a break from the studio since I had to start tomato and pepper seeds. I also had a lot of seedling transplanting to do. The kale, basil, and some perennials are now in larger peat pots with potting soil replacing the seed starting mix they were in. This morning I'll be transplanting the cool weather veggies which are definitely pot bound in those tiny containers. I also have some annual flower seedlings (snapdragons and lobelias) which are ready for transplanting as well.

My studio time will be a continuation of batching glazes for the cone 6 soda, test firing in John Britt's new, soda, test kiln.. I have 29 tiles done so far and have more to go.

Doesn't look like any of our construction crew will be here this morning. One has already canceled and I know two of them live at much higher elevations which got a lot more snow than we have here.

Till later,

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Gordon Ramsay and our grandson Brandon

Here's a photo of our grandson Brandon with Gordon Ramsay during the taping of his show "Hell's Kitchen". Gordon is our son Sean's client, so our grandson was privileged to have Gordon cook and serve him Steak Diane yesterday! Lucky boy!

We had steak as well, cooked by our good friend Jim and those rib eyes were huge and cooked perfectly on the grill. They were so big we brought home the leftovers and will have them sliced cold for tomorrow dinner, along with a salad and maybe with rosemary, garlic, roasted potatoes. It was a fun night with good friends.

I got a bunch more test glazes and slips batched and on to tiles yesterday. Today, the Farmers Almanac tells me is a good day for seed starting, so after our bagel, smoked salmon and cream cheese Sunday breakfast I'll spent some time planting tomato and peppers seeds and then get to the studio to batch more glazes and slips.

We're expecting a bit of snow later today or tonight but you wouldn't know it right now. It's pretty balmy out there.

Till later,