Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mesmerizing, is the best word to describe this visual delight, thanks to Russian potter Mikhael Sadovnikov.

As for me, it's the usual morning of email, animal and husband feeding, seedling care and other chores. While out to dinner with our son and his family last night I lost one of the lenses in my prescription glasses, so I'll be off to Costco after lunch to make an appointment for an eye exam so I can order new reading glasses. These are two years old so it's probably time for new ones.. Then we're off to the lawyers to sign some papers. So, it doesn't look like there will be any time for the studio.

Yesterday I did get into the studio just long enough to put a few things away and decorate a small test cup. I spent more time having to laboriously mix up and sieve a couple of under glazes that were a lumpy mess after sitting for a while.Some company must make a mini hand blender that would fit in those small Amoco under glaze containers. In fact, come to think of it, I used to have one like that, so I'll have to dig around the studio and see if I still have it tucked away somewhere. It felt good to finally be back in there even for just a short while.

There are only two no rain days in the current ten day weather forecast, so it looks like I may be getting a lot more studio time after today. It's about time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NCECA Photos

After bemoaning the lack of NCECA feedback and photos early yesterday, a couple of more digest emails arrived from Clayart with a few more members sharing their experiences; and I found the above slide show video on you tube this morning. I have two suggestions to make before watching it. Turn off the sound. It was as irritating to these ancient ears as the sound of fingernails running down a blackboard.

The video is a rapid fire slide show, so my other suggestion would be to keep your mouse arrow pointed to the pause button the whole time, so you can stop it and get a better look at the work. There is a very generous amount of photos on this video and to really appreciate the work, you may want to use the pause buttom periodically.

We are on day two of a week of rain in the forecast, so my gardening will probably be confined to indoors. Today is the last day with the family before they head back to California tomorrow morning.  We're all getting together again for dinner so I have a good part of the day at home before we head out for dinner.

With all the rain in the forecast,  it looks like I may get in studio time in between seedling care, cooking, computer and other chores this week. Being optimistic, I turned the studio heat on a few minutes ago and it should be warm enough after breakfast to get in there and make a decision as to where to start again, after I  put away some recently purchased clay and other items. There's a small group of bone dry pots waiting for some sgraffito work and that's the most likely place to start. It's a good sit down job that my aching, arthritic hip will appreciate in this cool, damp weather.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nceca musings of the day

Read my Clayart digest this morning and it seems that there is so little information being shared on peoples experience at NCECA this year. Only two attendees had anything to say and that was only after someone remarked about the absence of information and asked for some members to please share their experiences. Even then, only two people in this group with over 3,000 members, replied.

In years past there was an abundance of shared photos on Flicker, as well as video clips and enthusiastic run downs of peoples NCECA experience; but this year seems to be a very different story.

With increased costs of the event, travel, hotel accommodations and costs of eating out, attendance was way down. Even sellers cut back on the number of booths. Someone mentioned that many schools are no longer funding their instructors attendance at these events. If that trend continues it doesn't bode well for the future.

In my 40 or so years in clay I've never attended NCECA, mainly because it's my time of year to tend to my seedlings and do spring garden work; and the cost and time away from home, family, studio, just never seemed to make attendance a priority; but I have to admit that I always enjoyed feedback from the returning attendees who were always so generous in sharing their experiences.

Maybe some news and photos may be forthcoming in a couple of days. It will be interesting to see what if any changes those in charge of NCECA may institute in the next few years. Perhaps they could start streaming some of the lectures, and demos for a fee. Now that is something I would be happy to pay for an watch at home.

After rain all morning, the sun has now appeared; and thunder storms with possible hail are forecast for this afternoon. My gardening chores were indoors this morning, other than moving a lot of leek seedlings outdoors, bringing other trays of more vulnerable vegetable seedlings back indoors and making a couple of trips to my outdoor potting bench to get some potting soil so I could transplant a bunch of tomato and pepper seedlings.

It's an early, wood fired pizza night at the Perry Horseshoe Falls Ranch tonight, with our son manning the pizza oven, so I get another night out of kitchen duty. With the bad weather coming in, Jim and I may eat and run, since sitting under an out door pavilion in 50 degree weather, in the middle of  wind and thunderstorms may not be the best thing for this body, which is just getting over an upper respiratory infection. I will bring my appetite and a heavy, hooded jacket and keep my fingers crossed for better weather than is forecast.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lovely video of Dough Fitch and Hannah McAndrew slip decorating

They do make it look sooooo easy! Love them and their work. Both have such lovely energy!

As for me, family is in town - son and eldest grandson arrived with the new puppy last night and daughter-in-law and the twins arrive later today, so the next several days will be just for gardening and family.

Next week, starting Tuesday some cool, rainy weather is arriving, so, other than indoor seedling care, I'll get time away from gardening for a few days and maybe even see if I can my way back into the studio. No promises, just hoping that my chest wheezing will stop before the rains come.

Meantime, I'm going to enjoy this sunny day and get some planting done this afternoon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Done Reitz video

This three year old video of Don Reitz, who just passed away, shows him working on a triptych. I just love the spontaneous decorating - spontaneous, yet still with the ability to make those right choices almost instantly.

As for me, still waiting for my bronchia to clear of this upper respiratory crud before even looking at clay. Meantime the seedling care, planting, cooking, and lots of reading are keeping me out of trouble.

This morning after during the usual seedling watering, I planted a bunch more leek seedlings that had sprouted. Not sure what the rest of the day will bring since the weather has gotten a bit cooler. I covered my other raised bed with remay last night since the first potatoes have come up and we were due for temperatures in the high twenties. It's a real juggling act with the vegetable gardening this time of years. Some seedlings are taken out for the day and brought in at night; and other are still doing well under grow lights in the house.

I may just drive over to our sons place and transplant a few more things in their vegetable garden. First I have to check the weather report to make sure it's not going down to freezing again. My supply of remay is down to the last sheet, so I can cover whatever I plant if a freeze is in the forecast. I just need to feel perky enough by mid afternoon, when the temperature is as high as it will get for the day, to get over there and plant. Yesterday at that time I nodded off and didn't wake up till 6 o'clock. Guess the universe decided I needed that more than planting time.

Time now to think about breakfast. It's corned beef hash this morning.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sad news

Just heard that Don Reitz has passed away.  We have lost some of our best potters and teachers this past year. So sad.

Here's another photo of him and his work:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top of the morning to you all on this St. Patrick's day

After doing some 6am work in the plant nursery, transplanting some seedlings, I pulled out my corned beef and cabbage recipe for tonight's traditional St. Patrick's day dinner, while watching "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. It's the one time a year I can get Jim to eat cooked cabbage!

It rained overnight and more is due this morning; but I'm hoping there will be a respite at some point, because temperatures are due to go a hair below freezing so I need to get out and cover some of my tender veggies and then drive over to our son and daughter-in-in laws place and do the same in their vegetable garden.

It doesn't look like it will be a day for outdoor planting. This is the first day of the moon cycle for planting root vegetables again, but that can wait a couple of days till we're past this cold spell.

Time to get dressed and look for something appropriate for this "wearing of the green" day. In the meantime,

“May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand”

An Irish Blessing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's all about gardening these days

Been feeling a little bit better the past couple of days, with this virus/upper respiratory thing starting to break up, so I've been able to get in some more planting and other garden work at our son and daughter-in-laws place as well as ours. I over did it a few weeks ago which brought this virus thing back, so now I'm pacing myself a little more wisely.

Today has been one incredible day - calm sunny and in the 70's. All the outdoor furniture is in place, and the decking around the pool is pretty clean for the moment, but will be getting messy again once I start doing a more extensive cleanup in all the containers; but that job will have to wait a few days till we get past the cold and rainy spell arriving tonight.

I've been picking asparagus for over a week, the first beets have come up and most early plants are looking very good except my one cauliflower which looks like it's been discovered by slugs or some other leaf chewer.  I protected all cucurbits from early moths, using remay and didn't think those high raised beds would have slug or other similar critters in residence. I may have to go out there tonight with a flashlight and see if I can find the guilty party and send him to another dimension, or at least to another neighborhood.

 I also filled another new window box sized planter and planted cilantro, dill  and a few other things, hand watered and transplanted a couple of seedlings in the house nursery. There's more of those to do but it will be raining in the morning so my gardening will be indoors unless it clears. A cold spell is arriving tomorrow night with below freezing temperatures so I'll be out there covering some things in both gardens; but all in all I feel that even with losing so much time with a viral thing the past six weeks or so I have really gotten a good start on this years vegetable gardening.

All the lovely flowering cherry trees, forsythia, Bradford pears and daffodils are blooming in the valley. I do so love this time of year here in the Southern Oregon. Now that I've cleaned up, it's time for a margarita and some Mexican food.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Sunday morning cup eye candy

Some nice work to enjoy at Artcetera gallery cup show.

Another rainy morning, so transplanting may be out for today. Made another trip to the garden center for more compost and potting soil yesterday and the plan was to do some transplanting when I got home; but after unpacking some groceries and unloading those heavy bags and newly purchased plants, and checking the beds,etc.etc.,  it was time for a break before starting some early dinner prep. After dinner it was time to update my garden notes, do my last seedling check and watering, and vegg out for the night with PBS and some Ric Steves and Doc Martin shows.

These days all my time and energy is going to planting two gardens, seedling care and cooking, which is not a bad thing and pretty much typical for me for this time of year.

After breakfast I'll get these cold weather seedlings out from under the grow lights and outdoors under the eaves till I can transplant them; and maybe prep the new box planter I got yesterday. I have so many lettuce volunteers, some of which now have to be re-located before I can plant some of these other things in my raised beds. Other than cooking, email, reading the Sunday papers perusing my newly purchased Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley, and watching some of the tennis tournament at Indian Wells, I'm going to re-charge my battery a bit on this lazy, rainy Sunday and hope tomorrow brings renewed energy and a clearing of the weather for the planting marathon to continue.

Dinner tonight is a plain cheese pizza and margaritas. My dough and sauce are already made, so dinner will be easy.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Rain and worms in the pool kind of a day

After several intense, laborious days in our son and daughter-in-laws garden as well as my own, the universe decided I should have a lazy day by bringing in an all day rain. I can't say that it isn't welcome other than, perhaps, the fact that this rain may wash away a row of newly planted carrots seeds.

Today was to be an easier day for seedling care and planting some of the newly sprouted beet and leeks seeds in my raised beds, and dealing with a lot of catalogs and magazines that have been piling up while my focus has been on doing my imitation of an urban farmer in between the usual cooking, shopping and other household and life chores.

I must say, I don't feel one iota of guilt sitting here in bed in my lounging jammies and shopping on line for unglamorous things like vitamins, a new hose nozzle, a meat pounder and a set of 9 measuring spoons. The shopping spree, may continue since I have a few more garden catalogs to go through. I see the King Arthur flour catalog has a recipe for sourdough pretzels which is very tempting after a light breakfast of banana bread, and a planned, kale smoothie for lunch to offset the calories to come, in tonight's experimental pizza.

Hoping to get a bit more flavor in my New York style pizza dough recipe, I decided to add some freshly fed sourdough starter to it, and lower some of  water in my original recipe, to balance, it; but the consistency after partial kneading wasn't as tacky as I wanted so I started adding water till it felt a bit better, but not as wet a dough as my regular recipe.. Now, if it come out great, I have no idea of how much water I added, after the initial mixing; but I did redo the recipe last night and if this batch is a miss, I can try that one next.

Meantime it looks like the rain may have let up. Time to rescue the worms that are now swimming in the bottom of the pool. I don't know if this is the group I saved two days ago and put in the raised beds, or new visitors. Just what I wasn't looking forward to on this lazy, resting day - worm, lifeguard duty. False alarm, rain continues, so the worms are on their own. Could this be a version of worm suicide - like lemmings jumping off of cliffs? Inquiring minds need to know; or did they really think they could do a back dive off the edge of the pool and find their way back up. Guess they never bothered to notice we don't have a pool ladder.