other day I heard the startled call of a hairy woodpecker as I walked
by our woodpile. It flew up onto a branch, so I grabbed my
camera, and by the time I came out again it was hard at work looking
for grubs in my woodpile. It was apparent that the woodpecker had
learned that woodpiles make lots of cracks and loose bark available in
one place, making it easy to get beetle grubs. As I watched it
pulled one out and ate it. The hairy woodpecker is a midsized
woodpecker, between the smaller downy and largest pileated... Today I finished the new roof, just before the rain (and later possibly snow) are scheduled to arrive...
On Halloween, I dressed as the Great Pumpkin at the library, came home
to a trout dinner provided by some relatives, then left immediately for
the weekly football game. Emil kicked 3 out of 3 extra points,
had a good kickoff, and the team now advances to play an 8-0 team in
Southern Idaho, which will probably end their post season... It
will happen next Saturday, which is the Fall Folk Festival, so I'll
miss it. It's also about a 6 hour drive. Denmark is a small
country ( one fifth the size of Idaho--I just checked), so Emil isn't
used to the kind of driving we do here regularly. Fortunately he has a new Ipod..
Here's the new roof, to the left, built to reduce risk on a ramp area that easily got icy.
We made the 3 hour drive to our daughter's and my wife's mother's grave
for All Saints Day. It rained on and off all day, with fog.
But here's a photo showing some of the Clearwater valley from the
Nez Perce Historical Park center.
I bought a ceiling fan at the Habitat for Humanity store a week or so
ago, and installed it at our house to help get the wood heat back down
to the floor level. Aside from that, it was a regular day.
I voted. But since it's not a political blog, I won't say how I
voted. But Phil Steen will probably concede one of these days...
There was even some voter confusion in such a small town as this,
as first time voters came to the library to find out where to vote, and
we were told there was only one voting place in town by city hall, when
there were actually two...
We got over an inch of rain today, which was great, since the ground
when I was digging post holes for the new shelter was bone dry...
First snow that stuck hit today, though it's turning to rain this
evening. I introduced the puppetry unit to the older kids at the
library today, with a version of T. Rex and the 3 Bears. That set
their creative juices going so that most of them are quite enthusiastic
to start filming next week, updates on other fairy tales.
This evening I practiced with a classical cellist and fiddler, still
reaching for common ground, which for now is mostly Christmas carols
which we'll perform at the Christmas pottery sale...
Rainy cold Fall is hard to love, but lovely when you catch the right
moments. Yesterday morning the frost lined the edges of these
plum leaves, making them stand out sharply. This was before the
latest inch of rain fell (and is falling)... The
Folk Festival is this weekend, my favorite festival of the year, even
if I do only catch snippets of the dance and music, being too busy
photographing it all. The Saturday Spokane newspaper will be
using 3 of my photos from last year in a story promoting this year's
Nov. 8 Although
the Fall Folk Festival is a lot of things to me, I'm also (with the aid
of relatives) selling pots there, and with the economic turmoil
expected sales to be worse, but they were actually $100 better than the
first day last year, so I guess there's still hope in America...
Yes we probably can... The other thing
about the Folk Festival for me is seeing all the musician friends I've
made through the years, and hearing snippets of a lot of them. I
also took about 300 pictures that will take a lot of editing and
labeling and web stuffing over the next week or so. The last
band of the evening, Wide River, is also the most versatile of all the
bands I saw today, with all of the group switching instruments
frequently, and using cello and slide banjo to good effect.
(They're playing again tomorrow at 2:30 somewhere).
I've been too busy to blog, with the end of the Folk Festival, and
return of the work week. It ended on kind of a down note--Our
Sondahl and Hawkins act was scheduled for nearly the last slot, and
although we had a pretty good turn out last year, this year there were
fewer than a dozen listening by the time we ended (fortunately for my
ego my Youtube videos just went over the 900,000 view mark). But
Jonathan and I are feeling good about how we're playing, and will
continue recording that particular set to make a CD.
We had an annual workshop at the main library today. Like any
workshop, the 'Hello" name tags were handed out. It was
interesting to see the resisters--one had a question mark, one wore
hers upside down, another said something like "I'm Mark and I'm
antisocial." One that amused me was a woman whose tag said, "In
Cognito." I thought about it for a while, and finally told her I
liked her name tag, that it reminded me of that famous saying of Rene
Descartes, "In Cognito, ergo slum." Unfortunately she wasn't
familiar with the original expression ("Cogito ergo sum"-- I
think, therefore I am), and wit is pretty wasted when it has to be
explained. A lot later I learned she was the manager of one of
the larger libraries in the area... Getting back to the joke, in
case it's too private even for this elect audience, I thought if one
one was incognito (not recognizable), one could therefore slum (hang
out in loose dives) with impugnity.
One of the daycares I visit has two little boys with Spiderman and
Monster trucks as their favorite things. So, the last two times,
when I asked for songs they want to sing, they just mention Spiderman
and Monster trucks. So I made up a song about Spiderman riding
around in a monster truck, and they were both happy...
When looking through catalogs of stuff for kids, there are some
prevalent themes there, such as princesses for girls, and pirates for
boys. So it makes some sort of sense to have a pirates and
princesses tea party... Actually, having seen Errol Flynn in
Captain Blood, that's sort of what a lot of the old pirate movies were
about... My son had a pirates video game, that, after you won a
battle, you'd go to a dance at the governor's, and have to be able to
dance well enough to please the governor's daughter. This is
training for real life...
One mark for a successful children's program is their attitude--after
the the older session today three of them stayed behind to clean up,
and one of them wanted also to keep decorating the cardboard puppet
theater. The nice thing about puppet theater is they are doing
most of the work... I hope to have some videos up soon, but need
some parent permission slips to make it feasible.
I'm commenting less about pottery lately--mostly it's the boring
repetition part right now. I did have a wholesale sale today,
which helps, but also helps deplete the pottery supply.
I glazed a couple kiln loads today. After work I spent the
evening editing all the photos from the folk festival. If I make
some time tomorrow, I may get them pasted into some webpages. Spare
time is so hard to find these days...
So I spent a lot of my free time on a nice sunny day adding the photos
from the folk festival, and they're now posted at http://www.spokanefolklore.org/FolkFestival.html
We're considering moving the chickens to our other house, since it's
fun to watch them. This will probably just be till Spring, so it
will be more temporary then some coops we've built...
Nov. 16-17 So
we built the latest model chicken coop, with a compost heap at one end,
and parts of my son's ski ramp for the roof, and moved in the chickens.
Avid readers may recall that one of our hens was being henpecked
enough that we separated it from the others. Since then its
feathers have all grown back, and we hoped in a new location they'd
leave it alone. But after putting them all in together, the big
blond bird was afraid to get off the roost with the others there.
So we moved it into the new compost bin (still have to add a roof
and nesting box).
I'm back to producing as many pots as I can (given the library job), to
have a good selection for the CAGNI Christmas sale in two weeks.
I'm also getting more orders by phone or internet than in person,
as old customers start thinking of the holidays. I heard from a
nearby town business today, trying to establish "the world's first
Green general store chain." They're interested in logo mugs.
Their website is http://blog.sevenplanet.com/ if you're curious.
It appears to be just starting out...
Nov. 20 Life
continues too busy and mostly mundane to document daily on the blog.
But I have started posting videos of puppet shows made by the
library kids. They will soon have a new location, but it's currently up
We're traveling about 90 miles this weekend so my wife can
interview at two yoked rural churches--Davenport and Egypt. The
Egypt one is reputedly frequently photographed due to its setting, so
I'm bringing my camera. A Google search for images of Davenport
comes up pretty slim, so I'll probably take some photos there as well...
The trip went well, but the day wasn't too photogenic. Davenport
is the same size as Spirit Lake, but has a lot more businesses and
services, being a county seat in the wheat country of Eastern
Washington. It felt a lot like central Idaho, where we used to
The Millpond is mostly frozen over with the cold nights we've been
getting. Keeping the woodstoves stoked is generally remembered
these days. Our exchange student Emil is looking forward to snow,
as Denmark only gets snow in small amounts, being mostly close to the
sea, and near sea level. We've also gotten ski passes to Silver
Mountain this year, so skiing is again on the winter agenda for us all.
My son Birrion, who moved to Colorado, has already skied 40 days
this season... But currently it's just cold, no snow forecast...
I was at the dentist today for teeth cleaning, and my dentist also has
an exchange student, from Norway. The student taught him to say
in Norwegian, "My name is ____, I'm from ____, and Danes are
stupid." Emil said early on that Danes hate Swedes, and
apparently there's plenty of rivalry between the different countries in
that area. I would hope it's mostly good natured, as in sports
rivalries, but it's too easy to lapse into cultural and ethnic
We had over a friend and her new boyfriend for Thanksgiving dinner.
She met him on a plane trip. When I've traveled by plane,
there are those who totally ignore the people next to them, and the
ones who converse. I was impressed on a ride once to meet a
former pilot in his 80's who had flown through the radioactive plume of
one of the Pacific nuclear tests. He was told he might live a
shortened life due to it, but went was still going strong 50 years
later. My sister once sat next to the guitarist for a rock group I
enjoyed as a youth called Jethro Tull. Of
course anything a stranger tells you might be a lie... I don't
know why someone would want to claim to be Jethro Tull's guitarist, but
if I were my sister (who reads this blog), I might want to check Martin
Barre's picture on Wikipedia and see if it jibes with what she
remembers. Of course, my sister is getting on in years also (it's
her birthday today), so she probably doesn't remember what he looked
like. Happy Birthday, Susan... In other
news, we had the first build up (over an inch) of snow today, so winter
seems likely, about on schedule.
Film: Quantum of Solace.
A while ago I watched Dr. No. Pretty early on (including
Dr. No), Bond movies became self parodies which begot more ridiculous
parodies such as Get Smart, the Man from UNCLE, and finally Austin
Powers. The latest reinvisioning has made for a very enjoyable
film, even if apparent environmentalists are the bad guys... Eragon
by Christopher Paolini. Another fine dragon book. This one
could never have been written without Lord of the Rings as a forebear,
but, in being slightly less complex, it's probably more accessible to
young readers. It seemed to take about half of the 500 plus pages
to get going, but then it does have a rollicking plot... And the
author is from Montana... And he wrote it when he was 15--that's impressive...
Christopher Paolini. Although the author takes his fantasy very
seriously, you have to admire his deftness at working in an obscure (to
the most likely readers) movie pun. Some villagers are being
forced to flee for their lives by sea, and the only thing available are
barges. "Barges--we don't need no stinking barges," Paolini has
them say. If you're not familiar with the original quote, click here.