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Brad's Blog, August 2005

Through an error I made renaming and saving files,  half of August was lost, but here's the part I've been able to resurrect:

Whoops, the days are whizzing.  I'm trying to keep up with pottery sales, but this is the one time of year I can't.  But it was also cooler in the last two days, so I began baking stuff like granola and pizza and bread and potatoes, since we made the instant switchover from cooling the house every night to trying to keep it warm.  I also finished upholstering the kitchen chairs, a project I began last month.
Just now I had a chance to view the pictures from Crystal lake, and when we were nearly back to the freeway, we saw a doe with two fawns.  This fawn picture came out the best, as shortly after it was taken we spooked them by stopping to watch them...  You can tell he's already alert by the waving of that white flag tail.

August 14
Today being Sunday, I let the electric company fire my kiln, the customers serve themselves, and my son Forrest and I went to a bluegrass festival in Medical Lake, Washington.  Forrest feared he might be bored, so I encouraged him to read Crazy Weather, a one-work-wonder novel set in the Southwest.  So he read it all day while listening to the songs and groups that appealed to him.  I've made another web page in honer of the festival:  http://www.sondahl.com/bluewaters2005.html

August 15
A pullet laid her first egg today. This marks an economic turnaround for the hens, now able to be more than hungry mouths to feed (as well as cute chicks).
The air was smoky, reportedly from fires in Alaska.  Idaho have the dubious distinction of leading the lower states in forest fires currently, but they are mostly in southern and central Idaho.  At this time of year, if it weren't forest fires, the farmers start burning their wheat and grass fields, so it seems an inevitably smoky time.
The rest of my family went huckleberry picking. This is a competitive sport, as the spot we picked out on a hike last week was being picked by others on their arrival today.  The three of them were able to pick about two gallons, taking several hours to do this, and driving about 80 miles each way to get them.  I spend about a half hour picking berries from our garden each day, so I was happy to stay home and make pots.

August 17
The daily, weekly, and yearly rhythms of life generally help to make life functional, albeit sometimes mundane.  I try to make daily blog entries ( though I miss some, such as yesterday, conceding some days to be too typical to comment on. For the record, yesterday I made pots, went to the library and musical jam in Spokane, as I do most Tuesdays.)

Weekly, the church service makes an attempt at providing an other reality to the rhythm of work and homelife.

Yearly we commemorate birthdays, anniversaries, and special days.

Today is the tenth anniversary of my daughter Rose's death in a car accident.  We all, her family and friends, carry that wound, invisible to most.
But I can't conceal it today with the blib and banal episodes of daily life. They'll return soon, I hope.

August 18
While glazing pots today I could hear the regular and fairly annoying chit-chit of the little western squirrels we have, who make up in irritation for what they lack in size.  A year or so ago one filled up an area in my packing room with what later proved to be two large boxes of pine cones, then chewed various entrances into the room to make sure it could find them anytime.  I always say no rodent is truly your friend...
Then I heard a different chit-chit, and went out to see what was making it.  A covey of qual had wandered into the yard. I grabbed my camera in hopes of getting the definitive quail photo.  This is one of the ones I got, a bit too blurry and impressionistic, but in a better setting than them crossing the street, which was one of the first photos I shot with the new camera.

August 20th
This was another perfect confluence of busyness today--pottery sales, two sets of relatives for lunch and the afternoon, a blues festival just down the block, and an infant craft fair in the park a block away.  Tonight it resolved itself into our going for the fifth annual juggling show in Coeur D' Alene.  Here's a group of 5 young women from Edina, Minnesota, called the Swing Sisters:

Juggling routines resemble ice skating  routines in that they require intense choreography and skill, and are usually done to music.  The performers included an M.D. and whife who wish to quit the medical business for being jugglers (their parents dispair, and a German woman who teaches architecture when not performing as a juggler.  It made me happy not to be a juggler so I'd be tempted to quit my own lucrative day job... (;-)

August 22
The first corn from our garden was eaten today.  With things being as busy as they are, it was actually a bit overripe.  Fortunately it was from my first planting, which germinated poorly so I mostly wrote it off.  The second and third plantings now need closer scrutiny, and they are abundant in prospect.
These days summer's hold has become tenuous, with hot days in the 80's but cool nights in the 40's.  IT only takes a good push from the north and the frost will be upon us.  There have been years we've had frost around the 4th of July, but for quite a few years corn has been reliable.  I think most of us northerners don' t view global warming as all bad...

August 23
I received acceptances for 3 musical groups for the Fall Folk Festival in Spokane today (in addition to selling pots there).  They include the duo Sondahl and Hawkins (I haven't seen Jonathan for about 3 months...), Musicians Anonymous (I just got back from jamming with them.), and myself solo doing traditional Christian hymns on the guitar (I never seem to excape myself...)  I'm looking forward to the Fall Folk Festival a lot (it's the first weekend in November). The weather has turned cool and rainy to make one's thoughts turn to Fall, as well.

August 24.
Althea and I attended the groundbreaking for the enlarged grocery store today.  This is a fairly mundane topic, but it reflects the growth our area has received.   When we moved here in 1982, about half the houses were for sale, and there were many vacant lots where housed had been moved or burned away.  The town of Spirit Lake has approximately doubled in that time (to around 1500), but the real growth has been in the 5 and 10 acre hobby farms in the surrounding woods.  When we came here, only the elementary school was operating, with one or two classes per grade. Now a large almost new high school and brand new junior high are filled.
So the grocery store has decided to expand 4 times, which will make it more than the convenience store it has mostly been.
For us long-timers, it means fewer walks along empty beaches, more motorized "fun" vehicles, and greatly enhnaced (for better or worse) property values.
I rode my bike around town this evening and saw the many new houses going up, and few for sale signs without "sale pending" or "sold" on them.  On the whole, the changes are for the better, but change always has an air of sadness as well.  So often we photograph the new house when it's built, only later to wish we had a photograph of the old shed that stood there previously.

August 25
At this time of year Labor Day begins to loom large in the minds of vendors whose business relies on tourism.  That, of course, includes me, and a couple places I wholesale to as well.  So in the last couple days I've gotten a couple of pressing orders needed as soon as possible.  For most potters, that's two to three weeks, but since I use small kilns fired frequently, I can get an order done in a week if it's not massive, assuming the weather (or at least my shop) is hot and dry.  Sales are beginning to taper, but the shelves are looking empty as well, so I continue to push on production, looking forward to Labor Day.

August 27
I sold over $100 in orders today.  Orders are always a bit chancy--my order shelf is crowded with orders, some of which are never picked up.  One of the orders was made last August, but they said they'd be back this August to get it.  I could do something business-like like requiring a deposit for orders, but the system works well enough, that if the orders aren't picked up after about a year, I just return them to the shelves.  I try to avoid totally custom orders, like the woman today who wanted me to make electrical outlet covers colored to match her kitchen tiles.  I limit myself to wheel-thrown work, and leave the flat things like outlet covers and tiles to specialists.
My son made me a custom order-tracking program so I can keep the orders straight in my computer, if not on my order shelf.

Besides orders, there are also those people who ask me to hold some pots for them "until Tuesday."  I've got a bag with a name written on it currently, rapidly turning into "unlikely to return."  It's another variation of the order gamble, which only hurts if someone else comes after them and wanted just that decoration themselves.
Some potters don't do orders, but since I have a fixed sales location, it's a lot easier for them to reconnect than if I were selling at art fairs.  So I've got an extra $100 today... 

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