Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Man plans God laughs - one of those days

Two days ago I thought today would be a studio day; but an ad in the Sunday paper for a sale on a comforter that appealed to us, got us motivated to change plans and head to Asheville and the mall this morning. Now, I am not a shopper, at least a mall shopper, so I have to be intrigued to drive an hour and twenty minutes or more to buy something. Going to Asheville is always with a destination in mind - usually two or three actually. So we headed first to Earth Fare where I could pick up some ingredients for recipes I want to make in the next week, and then on to lunch at the Indian restaurant and a quick stop at TJ Max where I picked up a small Le Creuset casserole for half price and a new non stick frying pan. So good, so far.

After that  we headed for the mall for the new comforter only to find that the nice red, paisley comforter in the newspaper ads, was actually more brown than red. Although it was a bit disappointing, I was thrilled with the rest of the day. So we headed home and on the way back I stopped at the local Grassy Creek Hardware and got some metal roofing that I'll use to protect the burners on the small test, gas kiln, from blowing out when I get around to firing it.

Tomorrow I'll see if Jim and I can deal with the weight and take the kiln apart. I want to get the base to someone who can weld some casters on it so I can wheel it in an out of the kiln room garage and fire it in the driveway.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Perogi burnout

Yesterday was a day of being deep in potatoes. I spent the entire day making perogis. The freezer is now maxed out. We had boiled perogis for lunch and fried perogis for dinner. I'm not saying I was tired, but last night I slept 8 hrs which is unbelievable for me since a good night's sleep for me is usually 6 hrs! 

So today is going to be a total vegging out day other than cooking and opening the studio and gallery for one out of town visitor coming mid afternoon.

I signed up for the December TRAC tour, so I need to get a soda firing in before then. First thing I need to do is slip and decorate the last small batch of pots and do more throwing. There's enough leftovers in the freezer - everything from gumbo to mushroom bisque, that I'll be able to get in some decent studio time this week.

Tomorrow I'll be making stuffed cabbage-the only meal I'm planning on cooking this week.  I finally found a savoy cabbage big enough for the job. I have a great recipe from an old neighbor in New Jersey which is the best I've ever tasted and I promised our friend Jim, who loves stuffed cabbage, that I'd make it for him. This recipe has an amazingly tasty broth made with tomatoes, white raisins and fresh grapes, instead of the typical heavy, tomato paste type sauce often found in stuffed cabbage recipes. My family was never big on cabbage, so I usually only made it once a year for my own pleasure. I devoured every bit of it while I watched everyone else cutting away the cabbage. :-(

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thank God it's Friday

Tonight is porch sitting with friends so I'll be tidying up the living room and spending a bit of time in the kitchen. Jim is bringing out one of his good Bremer Family Cabernet's to go along with the steamed pork dumplings, pate, cheese and fruit tray, raw veggie dip, and Japanese crunch munchies (I don't know what else to call them!) and mixed chocolates for dessert (they go so well with the wine).

On the pottery front, I got a reply from Olympic kilns and they suggested that I find someone local to weld casters on the small gas test kiln. After digging the last of the potatoes yesterday and putting in some heavy duty weeding time as well, I was too tired to head to the hardware store for some casters and corrugated material to go around that gas test kiln. I'll try to get out there tomorrow. Now that I've got the kiln ready to go I'm eager to get a bisque and soda firing some time by the end next week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Juggling the day

My intent was to do a bisque in my little Olympic gas kiln to set the ITC 100 coating this morning, but since the weather report said chance of showers this morning and the sky seemed to agree, I decided to just get the lines attached to the propane tank and test the burners. I was a bit concerned that I may have gotten some of the ITC in the burners when the metal pieces I covered them with moved during the spraying, but they looked fine.

I emailed Olympic to see if I can fit some wheels on the legs and get the kiln off this rickety cart. Their newer, small gas kilns are now on casters and I'm hoping I can get some for an existing kiln. It would make loading and maneuvering a lot easier. Now I have to find some corrugated metal sheeting to protect the burners from the wind.

With the weather changing the days plans, I  decided to get the dried, harvested potatoes off the front porch and get them cleaned and stored, which took about 5 trips us and down to the basement. Then there was weeding to do and before I knew it, it was time to start on dinner. I had enough plum tomatoes to make another batch of sauce for the pasta to go with the leftover eggplant parmesan. Now I'm just going to relax and watch Master Chef followed by Top Chef.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cooking day

Thought this was going to be a day of rest for me but I've been cooking instead. There were a lot of ripe plum tomatoes in the garden so I made a double batch of pizza sauce and got that all in the freezer and now I'm making a double batch of Michael Chiarrelo's  marinara sauce. The deer seems to prefer eating my big round, beefsteak and other eating tomatoes and are pretty well leaving the plum tomatoes for us. Next year I'm going to hide those beefsteak tomatoes in the flower beds in front of the house, since the deer avoid coming this close to the house.

I also harvested some pole beans and a large eggplant so I think we're going to be having eggplant parmigiano in another day or two. Our ancient apple tree is dropping apples and I have half a basket full that I haveto use for something. If I have any energy left I'll make an easy apple dessert to go with tonight's pot stickers. Needless to say there was no time or energy for much rest or studio work today.

Ignore ball clays disappearing message from yesterday.

Yesterdays message was me, misreading Highwaters notice on those ball clays. What it is, is: The plant will be closed June 20th - July 11th.
Stock up now!
Guess these old eyes only saw "stock up now". :-( Good thing I didn't buy a ton of each! LOL

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Some ball clays on the way out

Jim just helped me move 600 lbs of raw materials. Two days ago I checked Highwater's web site and found a notice saying that after June (they didn't specify what year!), they won't be carrying the following ball clays: OM#4, XX Sagger, and Tennessee #10. So I figured I'd better get several bags of OM#4 and a couple of bags each of the others. If this 70 year old body wasn't as badly worn I'd have bought more! I also bought a small amount of Mini Spar to test as a replacement for the Kona F-4 soda spar that is no longer being mined.

Time to cool down a bit before going back out to sweep up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Power out, time to make ratatouille

Ground is too wet to garden, power is out in studio (generator only powers the house), so I'm making ratatouille instead, while I wait for the power to resume. There are some porcelain pots that need trimming and handles that I hope I can get to at some point today.

Yesterday I got the results of my MRI. Bottom line is my body is a bit of a mess - large hiatal hernia, a bunch of bulging and arthritic disks (overall major mess in my spine) and a marble sized non cancerous tumor in my left, upper jaw (the probable cause of the droopy eye lid). At least I now know the cause of all that back and neck pain, constant headaches, reflux and droopy eyelid. The good news is that there's nothing that's life threatening - just the results of a well used body, old whiplash injury, and arthritic family history from my maternal side. I'm glad we only took pictures of the upper half of my body. Lord knows what more they could have found in the lower half! LOL

I think it's time I rethink how hard I've been working this obviously well worn body,  which means cutting the garden way down next year and maybe limiting  studio time or at at least make some changes in how and what I make.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

West Coast visit

We got back from our west coast trip a few days. Here are a couple of pictures of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon.

The first part of our trip was a couple of days in California's Napa valley buying some great wines (8 cases), and having a couple of wonderful meals at Bouchon, and Botega, etc. We were thrilled to find that you can now send wines to North Carolina. One case of Cake Bread chardonnay arrived the other day with the rest soon to follow. Before we bankrupted the family coffers with all the high end wine buying, we headed to Southern Oregon to our son and daughter-in-law's gorgeous vacation/future retirement home on the Rogue river for a fabulous family re-union.

We watched the salmon jumping, fished with the grand kids, enjoyed the company of old and new relatives, enjoyed great meals, and found time for a couple of visits to old haunts and restaurants in Ashland and Jacksonville, with  a half day trip to Crater lake Monday, after the re-union festivities.

Since we've been home I've been digging up potatoes, doing a bit of weeding (they took over while we were gone!); and  just getting settled in with our animals. I took a rest from the garden yesterday and got some studio time cleaning up, doing some glaze chemistry, and getting some of the Helios porcelain that was re-hydrating while we were away, on to the plaster wedging table to dry out.  I should be able to get the rest of it dried enough to wedge and store for throwing later this week. While it's drying I'll weighing out some test batches of the glazes I created yesterday.