Thursday, July 29, 2010

This crazy week

It's been a busy, animal drama filled week with Bonnie kitty getting badly attacked by the feral cat Tommy, needing a couple of visits to the vets for both (stitches, shots for Bonnie), and shots, alteration, for Tommy so he could be put up for adoption. Bonnie finished her antibiotics yesterday and her leg is healing nicely and she can now get some outdoor time.

We had one heck of a storm come through this week and had another lightning show last night, with the possibility of more rain today.

John Britt came over yesterday to check up on the bees and seems the bees are very happy here. The sexy queen has made a LOTS of new bees and there's about 60 lbs or more of honey in there, so John has to expand their living quarters.

The garden harvest and maintenance, cooking and other chores have taken a lot of time between the  animal drama - lots of beans and the last of the blueberries are in the freezer, a crock of pickles is brining away, and a trip of Johnson City, TN resulted in  new, smaller, travel friendly laptop which I've been setting up in my spare time. I figure have another day or two in between other daily chores to get the remaining software installed and documents transferred.

Everything is going at slower pace since my good hip hasn't been acting good at all and neither has my back. My MRI shows deterioration in my spine (not surprising news to me!). So I'll have to wait till my next appointment to see what, if anything can be done other than taking Tylenol and staying away from studio and garden, which I've been told is only making things worse. And, I'm not ready to give up those activities; but I am willing to moderate them.

Needless to say there's been no time for the studio, other than the odd couple of minutes to make some sketches and "to do" notes for when I can get in there. Crazy, busy, week!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Part of the day's harvest

The plan was to get a bit of studio time after morning chores, but when I did a quick garden stroll, I found out there was a lot to harvest. Here's a photo of some of the harvest. I also dug some early red potatoes which I didn't have room for in the photo; and there's more harvesting to do after dinner, when it cools down a bit. It's in the 90's now, time to clean, blanch and freeze some beans, unless some friends and neighbors read this and call me to save them some cucumbers, beans and cherry tomatoes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unloading the pallet kiln

Here's some pictures of the pallet kiln getting unloaded. It was a successful first firing with some really great pots, and info garnered to helped tweek future firings.
Mark Peters, the designer and kiln builder of the pallet kiln.

I'll get a few more photos up tomorrow. It's been a long day with kitty dramas, etc.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More kitty drama

I managed to lure Tommy our feral (not so feral these days)cat into the studio yesterday; but he freaked out once in there, and started climbing along the window edge where I have some throwing tools. He freaked again when he knocked down some of the tools and ran to the back of the studio and hid under one of of my raw material bin tables. So I decided I'd better tidy up and make the studio more cat friendly and moved some of my unfired and bisque pots high up on ware carts, made sure all glaze buckets were well covered, etc.

After that I sat at my desk doing some paper work, while talking to him and trying to coax him out from under the bin table, but he wouldn't budge. After an hour I put some food in front of the table and he peeked his head half way out, so I left the food and gave him some alone time.  Later when I went back in the studio, I saw that he had climbed on top of one of glaze bins tables, then up on the shelving and then higher along a narrow shelf where I had a lot of pots displayed. From there he settled on top of the bathroom ceiling as you can see in the picture. That's about 11 feet high!  He knocked down a bunch of jars and other containers, as well as a favorite shino piece which of course wound up on the concrete floor in pieces. Fortunately that was the only pot casualty. So I got Jim to help and we removed all those pots.

This morning Tommy was back under one of the glaze bin tables and I was able to lure him out with petting and food. Once I had him in front of the studio I opened the door, giving him the opportunity to go outside, which he did, but he came right back in twice! He was more interested in being with me and getting petted. So, I'm going to spend a lot of time in the studio today and hope I can get him to use the litter box.  I can smell male kitty in the whole studio from his having sprayed.  I'm beginning to wonder if he's ever even seen kitty litter! Jim is going to get a bigger litter box today and hopefully the new box and fresh litter without Bonnie's smell, will get him to figure out what he's supposed to use it for!

I've got some re-constituted porcelain to spread on plaster, wedge and get bagged and a few other studio chores. I dare not turn on any machinery for a day or so because I think that will freak him out even more!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our daughter Erin Perry Kosmic Blue Janis Joplin tribute concert

I think, with friends help, that I finally learned how to get a video to show on the blog. Here's a promo video of our daughter Erin's Kosmic Blues Janis Joplin concert. She's has great reception throughout Europe with this tribute. She also has a couple of other bands, and is a good songwriter to boot. Do I sound like a proud parent!

Cat Jarosz booth

Here's Cat Jarosz's booth at the Asheville craft show this weekend. We treated ourselves to a set of her lovely, extruded, salt and pepper shakers.You can get some better looks at her large body of work at her web page:

After breakfast I'm going to get my cucumbers in the crock for my small batch of pickles. Then I need to get over to Johnson City to see if they have any dill heads, since  no one around here carries them. Some critter ate the ones I planted so next year I need to plant a lot more (maybe in pots next time, or definitely in another, safer spot).  It looks like the peaches will be ripe soon (some are falling off the tree already) so I'm going to be busy with getting those processed. We have a huge crop of very tiny freestone peaches on the one tree, and not so many, but larger ones, on the white peach tree. I see peach pie and peach jam in our future!

I'm limping along with either a pulled groin or my good hip is now going the way of the other one, so I'm staying out of the garden and studio for a couple of days in hopes that I just pulled something and some rest will take care of it. Otherwise it could be that in my near future I'll have a matching titanium right hip to match the left one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New pallet fired wood kiln at the Energy Exchange

Here are some photos of the new pallet wood burning kiln that Mark Peters designed and built for the Energy Exchange. The kiln was started around 6am and at 1:30, when I got there, it was at cone 08. Earlier they were cutting the pallets in half but just after I arrived they started loading full pallets.

I can't wait to see the results in another 4 days or so.Opening a kiln is always done with great anticipation and more so with a new kiln. Fourteen of the fifteen pots I brought to help fill the kilns, 40 cu ft setting space are in this maiden firing. All my pots have either Linda's Yellow or Randy's Flashing slip on the exterior with two  my celadon based liners. Some have oribe accents in the leaf and fish designs.

In my soda kiln I try to position the oribe pieces at the front to protect them from reducing too much; but I wasn't there for the loading, so it will be interesting to see their placement and the results. When the oribe is reduced heavily you can wind up with an unpleasant liver red instead of green. Sometimes I get an interesting combination of the green and red which I kind of like on some pieces.

English breakfast

I promised Jim a big English breakfast this morning - kippers, sausage, eggs, pan fried tomatoes and the non English blueberry muffins. Needless to say my plate was a lot smaller!

As soon as I get the photos on the computer, I'll post them on the blog this afternoon; but first I need to finish getting my veggies prepped and cheese grated and margaritas mix made for tonight's nachos dinner.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Warren McKenzie video

Here's a link to a recent video interview of 86 year old Warren McKenzie - still, joyously, potting away!

Can someone please tell me how you get those video links to show up on your blog posts. I need the idiots, step by step guide on how to do this! The only thing I can find is a button that wants me to link a video that's stored on my computer.

Our Asheville play day really trashed my one good hip and knees and this right hip is starting to feel like the left one did before it was obvious I needed a new, titanium hip. I'm hoping it will quiet down, because I have way too much to do this time of year!

I've got a batch of blueberry muffins with streusel topping in the oven and the house is smelling soooo good! They're going to go great with this morning's boiled egg breakfast.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kyle Carpenter at Southern Highlans show

Jim and I had a play day in Asheville yesterday. Our first stop was the Southern Highlands craft show at the Civic center. Here's a couple of pictures of Kyle Carpenter and his exquisite salt fired pots. 

After the show we joined Jim's niece Andrea for a delicious Indian lunch at Chez Pani and then headed to the Fresh Market to pick up a few groceries and sushi for dinner.

This morning I dug up some perennials for friends and neighbors, did a bit of weeding and picked and cleaned more cucumbers. Jim is off to the store to get some dill and dill seed and when he gets back I'll make a small batch of Jewish, deli style, crock pickles. They're made without vinegar - just salt, lots of garlic, dill and some some spices. I also put a little bit of dried hot red pepper to the mix. In this weather I'll be munching on them in three to five days. I like them best when they're mid way between a fresh cucumber and a pickle, which is they way I've had them in some of my favorite Jewish deli's in New York and L.A.

I'm hoping I can get into the studio for a couple of hours before getting together with friends later for porch sitting. There are still a couple of pots to decorate and a few other studio chores to take care of before I start another throwing cycle next week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The saga of Tommy the feral cat

Here's Tommy, the feral cat who's been visiting for a couple of months. As you can see he's certainly gotten to the point of making himself at home on the front porch during feeding times, and he's fattened up quite a bit. Initially he'd run away when we approached, then he graduated to only running a few feet away while I put down the food. Eventually he sat on the top of the porch steps and that quickly accelerated to him coming right up to me and the food.

Well, this week I decided to put my hand out for him to smell, which he did, and the next day I touched the top of his head. He recoiled a bit; but didn't run away. Well, yesterday we made great strides. He not only let me touch his head and rub it, but it was as though he had memory of this being a good thing. I'm now thinking that he was at one time someone's pet, who was dumped and went feral.

He's a massage junkie! I'm now giving him head and back rubs every time I see him. I think he wants a tummy rub too, since he rolls over on his back, but I think I'll stick with the head and back for a while. Trust takes time to develop!

Yesterday I delivered a couple of small boxes of pots to the Energy Exchange. Mark Peters pallet wood kiln is most impressive. I peeked into the clay hut but didn't check more of the site. It was pouring rain and Jim and Bodhi were waiting in car. I'll try to get back there during the maiden firing on Friday and check out the rest of the facility.

Today I'll be cleaning out the reclaimed clay in the mixer and  dumping it down the hill off the back side yard where there's some erosion. Some of this clay must have had a piece of sponge or something similar that got broken up in the clay mixer and didn't show up until some of the pots were bisqued. I wound up with a few ruined pots where this stuff burned out and let gaping holes - not fun.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Salad Nicoise

Here's the salad Nicoise I made for dinner last night. It's a great summer, main dish,  meal. I picked the yellow wax beans and tomatoes from the garden and got the potatoes, beans and eggs  cooked earlier in the day.  Before serving I poured my garlic, honey, ginger vinaigrette dressing all over. It looked like we'd have leftovers, but there wasn't a speck of food left when we finished!

I managed enough studio time to press out the other version of the stamps I made the day before, and dug out a badly settled celadon based blue liner glaze that I'll be straining this morning.  First I have to unload the bisque kiln and get my regular celadon liner mixed and sieve both glazes. I think mixing and straining settled glazes is probably my least favorite studio job.

The plan is to finish glazing and decorating today or by tomorrow morning and then get the pots delivered to the Energy Exchange for the maiden firing on the 15th of the new wood fired pallet kiln that Mark Peters recently built for them.

Time to water some of the potted plants and head to the studio.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New stamps

Our house guests (Jim's sister and husband), left after breakfast yesterday and I managed a full day in the studio. I made these new stamps after I finished slipping and decorating pots and getting the bisque kiln loaded. Over the years I've amassed a collection of antique, wood carved stamps that are used in India and other places to print fabrics. These stamps were made by impressing clay into small sections of some of the stamps. After they're bisqued, I'll impress them again so I'll have both positive and negative impressions to play with. I may even test impressing them again today if they haven't dried too much from the over heated studio overnight from the bisque firing.

The was done by 7am. I'm hoping to get into the studio around 11, hoping it will be cool enough to work. I need to mix up some liner glazes that have been sitting unused since November. It's a job I'm not looking forward to.

We finally got rain yesterday. It was heavy at times and rained for about 3 hours. This is the first day in over two weeks that I don't have to hand water, other than a few seedlings left on the front porch.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

I was going through some old photos and found a bunch where I reversed the background paper. It took a while for me to realize what I had done, and some of the pots got sold before I could redo the photos.

Husband and house guests are all napping, so I snuck out to the studio, vacummed the bisque kiln, re-mixed some flashing slip, dipped a bunch of pots and filled 3 half shelves.  House guests leave after breakast so I"ll get a full day in the studio to finish slipping and decorating and will be firing a bisque over the weekend.

I've been busy this week with the garden, getting the house ready for house guests and getting software on to the computer that should work with my Windows 7 upgrade to Windows 7 pro. My other 7 version would not let me load some of my old XP program but this upgrade seems to be working. 

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The blueberries keep coming

Jim and I picked more berries after watching the woman's Wimbledon final. There were some very annoying, flying and biting critters who were nipping away at me the whole time and not bothering Jim at all.

I've got dinner covered - took meatballs and sauce out of the freezer yesterday, so it will be a pasta comfort meal tonight. Since dinner is covered, I need to get my hand watering done, then get into the studio and see if I have some decorated pots that I can bisque in case they need more pots to fill the new wood kiln at the Energy exchange. I also need to look for some other blueberry recipes. There are way too many to use in a day or two so I'll probably be freezing the majority of them and keeping some for my morning cereal and maybe some for making another batch of muffins or something else.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Blueberry muffin morning

Made blueberry muffins to go with the boiled eggs for breakfast. The crunchy top was delicious. I think I'd like to try this topping on a lighter recipe. These muffins were tasty but a bit dense which did keep the berries from dropping to the bottom, so I guess there's a trade off.

Looks like we have a bit cooler weather which should make it comfortable for some weeding after these women's semi finals Wimbledon matches. With no rain in the forecast for a week or more, it's time to get those water stealing weeds away from my corn, squash and cucumber patch today.

Yesterday I spent the morning having an MRI - 1 1/2 hrs in the machine. The only down side was a bit of nausea on the last section from the intravenous dye. Now I wait for the results. In the meantime, I have to pick out a pot for the TRAC fund raiser auction, and then there's some hand watering and weeding, computer and paper work to deal with today, and an early dinner with friends.

I'm planning on some studio time tomorrow - finally!