urn is a new shape. The grave marker dates from my daughter's
death (about 10 years ago)--I made two, and have kept the second blank
one for such an occasion. I installed it with some concrete mix
after the service today, buried so the top is almost flush with the
grass. My daughter is buried a couple spaces down from her
was a rather bizarre mixture. The first half was spent with a
memorial service to Birdine. Then my skiing son had been
scheduled to do ski tricks as part of a group at a downtown Spokane
convention center snow show, so most of the extended family went from
the quiet church to the loud raucous ski show. Then a few of us
finished the day watching a louder rockier ski movie, which was part of
the ski show.
I guess that's how life goes on sometimes...
We've had an inch of rain in the last day, and it's turning to snow
flurries with colder weather expected the next few days. There
was one Thanksgiving where cold hit so fast and hard that our brake
discs were frozen stiff and we couldn't drive over the river to
Grandma's house until it was yanked loose with a luckier pickup truck.
I skipped church today, but at the
church in Spokane my guitar playing at yesterday's service led the
preacher to talk about how my instrumental playing evoked the words of
the hymn, which was "I know that my redeemer lives." That's
pretty good, since I don't usually remember the words while I'm playing
The last relatives left today, thus reducing the population pressure
locally considerably. At the peak, we had seven extras to provide
I glazed a kiln load this morning, but the
middle of my day got taken up with a semi-annual visit to the dentist,
so there's still no routine to fall back upon. While I was gone I
got an order for some plates and an inquiry about making some mugs
styled after some favored originals. This last part is the least
favorite kind of orders I might take--they have their ideas, and I have
mine, and the two seldom meet.
Some of the pots I glazed today
were the chicken cookers, made with new clay, which all made it
successfully through the bisque firing, so I'm more optimistic that I
can produce them effectively. Still, the proof is in the glaze
Five of the chicken cookers came out of the glaze today. None of
them had a problem where the parts joined. Two of them had cracks
on the outer rim. Usually those cracks result from the rim being
too dry when the pot is turned over for footing, which is avoidable, so
I'm hoping that won't be a common defect. I fired two more kiln
loads today, and threw about 70 pots as well, so I'm back to
production. Orders and sales come now in irregular spurts--on
Monday there were lots of sales, whereas the weekend was quite slow.
This is the first night it might drop below 20 (-6C), so I moved in a
few boxes of apples that were in an outside refrigerator. The
Millpond has been skimming over with ice, but a cold spell like this
may mostly cover it in the next few days. We got an inch of rain
last weekend, which would have contributed to the ski mountains opening
if it were cooler.
The morning was spent dealing with the pots from yesterday, plus glazing and loading a kiln load of pots.
I had two things on the agenda this afternoon--putting up the holiday
lights, and making an apple pie for Thanksgiving. It morphed into
major cooking. To put up the holiday lights, I took down the
cornstalks and pumpkin autumn display (the pumpkin was pretty frozen).
Then, with Thanksgiving staring me in the face, I decided to cook
the pumpkin and make a pumpkin custard, in addition to the pie I'm
bringing to the in-laws tomorrow. So I thawed the pumpkin by the
woodstove while putting up the strings of lights. Then I got
started with apples. I wanted to dry some apples over the kiln
that's firing, so I peeled and sliced a bunch of yellow delicious for
that (yellow delicious tend to dry well without turning brown).
Then I remembered we were out of applesauce, so I cut up a bunch of
brand x apples and steamed them to soften them. Finally I got to
making the apple pie, and baked it and the pumpkin at the same time.
So I hope the Americans that read this are drooling enough to tackle
their Thanksgiving Dinner... And the foreigners can feel free to
eat as well...
Thanksgiving was food and football, and so was today, for that matter.
The Sandpoint bank called me a week or two ago, saying they wanted
local businesses to help decorate the bank for the holidays.
Since most publicity is good, I agreed, even though it's 35 miles
to Sandpoint, and with winter weather it's not likely to draw customers
here. I had the idea to make something local and holiday-like--a
large bowl filled with a mountain of popcorn with some skiers made of
spice drops skiing on it. Unfortunately my execution of the idea
made it look like a bowl of popcorn with some spice drops in it, so I
canceled on that idea and have been eating popcorn and spice drops ever
since. Instead it was a boring table with a sampling of pots and
an info sheet, but the bank seemed happy with it.
While there I saw an eagle circling above the downtown, and on the long
bridge approaching, there is a post with an osprey's nest which is
occupied apparently by cormorants. There were also white geese in
the bay close to town, which I thought might be snow geese, but my son
says they stay around all summer, so they're probably farm geese let
40 quail came in our yard this afternoon, and hunkered down in our
raspberry patch. Their little eyes are glowing from the flash--it
was so gloomy and overcast that the flash was required. You can
see that as striking as their plumage is, it does break up into
camoflage if the head is turned away. The same is true with ring
necked pheasants... I imagine the little black plume is to help
them figure out which way to go (forwards)....
Some family members and I went to see the "Enchanted" movie
today. We only go to a couple movies per year in the theater, and
fortunately this one was worth the drive... You can at the same time be
the child that enjoyed Cinderella and a cynical adult that laughs at
such silly entertainment (which is indeed a deft tightrope to walk).
Similar movies that succeeded that way were George of the Jungle
and The Princess Bride.
The plot is about a fairy
tale princess banished by a wicked queen- mother- to- be- in-
law, to the Real New York, who marvels at things like indoor
plumbing. When she asks, where does the water come from that
makes the shower, a small person behind me said, "From the sewer."
(I imagine that the child may have figured out they both travel
through pipes in the ground--but really Spokane's water isn't that
bad). I was busy laughing throughout the movie, but also enjoying
the way the super perky princess (Amy Adams) pulled off her regal role.
The only thing about the movie that bothered me was one of the first
lines of the lawyer in the movie contained a glaring grammatical error,
along the lines of "for my girlfriend and I" (which at least when you
remove the "girlfriend" becomes glaring). I frequently write bad
grammar into my songs, to establish their folky credentials, but one
would hope that a lawyer character would do better.
We've been having this spate of subfreezing weather--today was the
warmest as it approached the thawing mark. Since the forecast
tonight is for significant snow, I thought I'd try to dig some more
carrots. But the cold has frozen the ground, and with it most of
the carrots. It's a good thing there's a large bag of them in the
root cellar. It shows how unusual this cold spell has
been--usually we get snow with the first cold, which blankets the
ground and prevents the frost from going deep.
Since my plans (and carrots) were dashed, I decided to walk around the
mill pond. It's never the same pond. Although the lake is
mostly unfrozen, the mill pond is more shallow and calm, and has about
two inches of clear ice on it, enough that I could walk along the edge
with only occasional cracking noises, so that's what I did. When
the water is high, you can't walk the shoreline, but now I could walk
it, but the ice was much smoother, and it was great to see the patterns
and natural things under the ice (no pics--I wasn't planning the walk) .
I noticed a new muskrat or beaver hut, and when I soon thereafter
saw a muskrat swimming under the ice, it became clear it was a muskrat
hut. (This begs the question, how do muskrats and beavers get
along, given they eat the same saplings...)
I was in my teens in Iowa, the best natural thing around was the
Skunk River, that was a block from my house. I would walk the dog
there every day after school, and when the river froze over, if there
were no snow cover, it would also be clear ice, which I would ice skate
on. I could see fish swimming under me as I skated. As I
thought of that while walking on the mill pond ice, I was startled by a
fish darting under me, so it was an apt remembrance.
We got our first 3 inches of snow, so in spite of global warming,
winter is still happening on schedule here this year. But there
goes the clear ice for this year... The last leaves of autumn are
secured as well. By spring I'll be ready to rake them.
I don't pretend to understand politics, but I was glancing at the local
city council minutes for October and this jumped out at me:
"Councilman Clary noted that Senate Bill #1123 was poorly
written, specifically referencing Reserve officers. Councilwoman Tschida moved
to incorporate Senate Bill #1123 into the Police procedure manual, seconded by
Councilman Clary and a roll call vote was taken. Council members Ventress,
Clary, Tschida and Erickson all voting aye. "
I guess I better watch out for those reserve officers...
I spent the morning making pots, and the afternoon packing them,
without actually packing any. The big pottery show
this weekend requires putting special price labels on all the pots, so
I made up the list of pots on the computer, and will spend tomorrow
afternoon labeling and putting them in boxes. With luck the work
will be worth it.
The weather is wimping out on us, (a storm was greatly downgraded
supposed to arrive this evening), but my son will start skiing tomorrow
as the first area ski mountains open. And then daily after that,
whenever Schweitzer opens. I've decided against a season pass
this year, but I expect to ski 4-6 times anyway.
One of our young cats visited the vet today, a result of a gash at the
base of his tail, presumably made fighting another cat (besides our
other two, which coexist pretty well). It's on antibiotics,
which may or may not aid its healing. One of our cars went to the
auto mechanic today, for a fluttering alternator light. No
antibiotics, but the recommendation was to keep driving till it stays
on solid... If I didn't have the money to use these
professionals, neither of those visits would have been made, and the
outcome would have been about the same... Fortunately the
mechanic only charged for switching the snow tires on for me, which
WILL hopefully make a difference when the snows get serious...
The pottery sale this weekend grew out of both the desire to have a
successful pottery sale and a successful party. When the group
started a few years ago, we tried to have both party and sale, but not
concurrently, and it was pretty much a flop. But the current
combination has done well, so I think we're all looking forward to the
next two days, in spite of the many tasks we're all doing. I
avoid parties like the plague, except if I can play music at them,
which is the case here...
the pottery sale today, just before it started, I called home to get
the schedule for entertainment, since I'm supposed to be in charge of
it, and had forgotten to bring the list. My wife read me the
schedule, then pointed out I'd scheduled a group to play from 8-9 pm,
whereas the event ends at 8. This was not good. Fortunately
I remembered where I left the group's contact info, and called them and
arranged for them to play on Saturday morning. I don't think my
gifts lie in the scheduling area...
It's hard to imagine why musicians would come to play for this, since
they're mostly just background music, but some very talented musicians
have agreed, and even returned for one or more years. I was
talking with several of them, and the conversation turned a bit to how
we're all sort of drifting in our lives, except for our love of music,
to which we all heartily agreed. Like them, I played for an hour,
plus a few harmonica, tin whistle, and guitar sessions in the basement,
and I was happy if the music was played well, whether or not anyone
seemed to be listening. After all, most of the time, I'm
practicing it at home, where I know no one is listening...