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 Oct. 4, 2009
Breckinridge in the Fall
    We're just back from our trip to Colorado, taking son Birrion to his winter home.  Most of the trip was overcast, but it was sunny when we visited Breckinridge, where you can see a few of the ski runs in the background, and a statue of a WWII ski infantry soldier in the foreground, and a few chimneys of expensive condos in between.  Most of the trip was also powdered with snow along the way, a big change from a week ago when we last swam for the season.
    The scenery is incredibly varied on the trip, from badlands style sand dunes to all sorts of mountains, covered with trees, low undergrowth, or bare. Many of the roads follow the long wide basins between ranges of mountains, providing a slowly changing panorama dotted with antelope, deer, and elk in addition to cattle and sheep.  This wasn't a strictly pleasure drive, but we tried to take some back roads to make it more interesting than the boring efficiency of the freeways.  Using the Google Maps before the trip to plan our route, it was surprising to learn that whether going "straight" east and then south, or south, then east, or trying to take more direct middle routes, the actual mileage only varied by a 100 miles or so, since the geography of the west makes for few "straight" routes.
    The trip went well, in that the van behaved admirably, including when we ran over a dead deer on the roadway in the dark last night.  With the type of cars (old) we tend to drive, many are the trips that hinged on getting a new alternator, brake repairs, or more before the conclusion...  I did get sick with stomach flu on the way home, so the trip ended on a low note.  
    Today, although mostly sunny, the high is anticipated to be only in the 50's with strong north winds.  It makes one's thoughts turn to the wood supply for winter, which is woefully inadequate at present.

Oct. 6
     I posted a picture of our old cat sticking her tongue out at a LOL cat site today.
I'n working on another faux bay window for our bedroom.  There's  a lot of catching up to do in the pottery--glazing and firing today, still no throwing.
    I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Vikings beat the Packers on Monday Night Football, even if their old nemesis (Favre) was now at the helm.  If you can't beat them, hire them.  To watch the game I drove 30 miles each way to a friend's house.
    Sales for the 3rd quarter for the pottery continue to be down 15 % from last year.

Oct. 7
    I glazed pots and loaded and unloaded kilns this morning.  Then I worked on shipping pots, photographing pots (to update the webpage), and assembling bird feeders and houses this afternoon.  Birdfeeders and houses, with their loops of cord and wood perches, took quite a bit of time.
The weather is trending toward cold and miserable, so it was a good day to work inside.

Oct. 9
   The last two days have been about getting ready for the possible record cold the next two nights (around 20 F).  So yesterday we picked the apples (10 boxes of red delicious, about 6 of golden, and another two or three of other varieties).  Today we dug the carrots (150 lbs in 3 large feed bags) and potatoes (about 4 boxes).  Now the harvest is safely home.  I'm feeling pretty tired.
    We're still pretty low on firewood, but I ordered 5 cords last week, which will be delivered starting Monday, so that should take care of most of the winter.

Oct. 10
    We stacked a cord of wood today, one of 5 I ordered from a local acquaintance.  He's bringing it in a small pickup, one third cord at a time. He's retired, so it works for him...  The pottery uses two 4 X 4 X 8 foot cords per winter--the house can use 4-6.  This is enough wood to nearly fill a two car garage.  This is a graphic illustration of what it takes in carbon to heat a home.  At least it's renewable.
    We also have an old Honda approaching 250,000 miles.  I was thinking today, at 30 miles per gallon,  that's around  8000 gallons of gas.

Oct. 11
    More gas burning today--an hour drive to the north for church, then returning home before going into Spokane (another hour drive) to the symphony.  I don't think I've ever heard the whole of Beethoven's 5th before--it was the capper for an all Beethoven program.  Great!

Oct. 12
    We've got two wheelbarrows, in addition to my homebuilt garden cart, and we use all of them.  One of the wheelbarrows is the old cheap kind with a solid rubber wheel, that tends to bog down in soft soil and get hung up on bumps.  The other is the more modern one with a big air inflated tire.  The problem with it is that it tends to get flat tires, and the wheel wasn't designed for home removal, meaning you have to take it to a tire shop to get it fixed.  So I wanted that wheelbarrow to load with wood to haul where we're storing it, and it had a flat tire.  Then I remembered the old Honda, mentioned above, which was given us by friends, and included a kit with a flat tire fixer aerosol can.  I always regarded something like that as black magic--how can you fix a flat tire with an aerosol can?  But since I remembered it,  I gave it a try, and it fixed the tire and reinflated it all in one spray.  Some clear liquid could be seen flowing into the tire, which no doubt was the goop to seal the hole.  I'm not sure the goop would do any good with most of the car flats I've had, where the tire tends to get destroyed as part of the process, but it was great in this instance.
    So we got another cord of wood for the pottery, and stacked it today.  I also had sufficient time to install the second bay window for our bedroom.  Both it and the first one still have some finishing work to complete--the rainy weather scheduled for this week might make that a good indoor project.

Oct. 13
    It seems like this time of year there's always hustling to get this or that done before...   This time it's the rain.  We were trying to get the outside of the new windows done, and the raspberry plants cut off and old ones discarded (some of the new plants are over 10 feet tall).  I'm also trying to get the windows done inside, since we have plants all over that could use the light.  We have a lot of scraps of formica we inherited with one of our houses, so today I got the idea to caulk in pieces of formica on the bottom of the windows, so that we could put sand and/or rocks for the planters to sit on, and if water spills in watering nothing would rot out...
    Since we were doing outside work and had a fire going in the garden, we decided to have a hot dog roast.   So of course the rain started at about the same time as our roasting.  Fortunately hot dogs cook quickly...

Oct. 14
    It rained most of today, well over an inch in the last 24 hours.  
    I finished the two window projects today, ready to put in the plants tomorrow when the caulking dries.
    Ralph Bartholdt stopped by today, to say that the article he wrote on me last week will be the cover article for an upcoming Idaho Magazine.  I've never seen an Idaho Magazine, nor do I know where I'd get one, but expect I can work that out when the time comes.

  Oct. 15  
The rain stopped at 1.5 inches, and the sun appeared briefly today, with highs in the 50's, which seemed quite pleasant by recent standards.  The pottery business had been nonexistent the last couple days, so it was a pleasant surprise to have a big day of sales today.  I guess a lot of people felt like getting out with the improved weather.
    We practiced for the upcoming Bluegrass Thang this Saturday.  Even the pottery work today was music related--I made 40 mugs to give away to the musicians at the Christmas sale our potter's guild puts on in November.

Oct. 16
    We went to the HS homecoming  football game tonight--a bit boring since they won about 50-0, but it had a lot of local ambience you don't get watching football on TV.  At the end they escorted out the competing homecoming royalty candidates on recent model pickups, while the announcer read silly short pieces on each candidate.  The girls all wore prom dresses.  The guy in the football uniform won as king, so the world continues on as usual.  We sat by the band, which is pretty disconcerting since the band leader, in a successful but distracting ploy to get the band members to pay attention to him, would throw out frosted animal crackers to the ones who would guess the kind of animal.  It always seems that less than half of the people in the bleachers are really paying attention to the game, with a lot of hormonal posturing and antics going on.  At half time the elementary aged kids throw the football around on the field, enjoying an early limelight.


Oct. 17-18
    The performance went well tonight.  The next gig, at the Fall Folk Festival, will incorporate more blues.  This one was all Old Time music.

    Here's the view out of one of the two new windows I installed in our bedroom, of some nice fall foliage.
    Besides church today (which I also played guitar for), we managed to play tennis for the second time in a week, with pleasant overcast weather in the 50's.  Then we rode bicycles around our town, remembering old acquaintances now gone and noting all the new houses on the east side of town, many of them currently for sale.
    When we moved here, there weren't any new houses, and about half of the old ones were for sale.  It makes sense that the more affordable older homes are selling less now, since they aren't stressing the owners so much financially.

Oct. 19
    I made mugs and chicken cookers and medium pitchers this morning.  This afternoon I put linseed oil on the exposed wood on the outside of the new windows, and worked on other chores around the house.  The weather remains pleasant for the season.

Oct. 21
Things have been a bit slow lately...  But the current task is to lift a 3 or 400 weight 8 feet in the air and add walls to support it.  This would be the patio roof removed after it came disconnected from our house two winters ago.  We moved it across the street to our view property, setting it on top or our car.  Then we were able to set it on 4 barrels.  Yesterday, using an old car jack, I was able to get the roof a foot higher, but it became wiggly.  It's rather like raising it on a set of building blocks--not likely to be stable to 8 feet in height.  So the new idea is to build temporary legs at the corners, well braced, then jack up a side at a time and add extensions to the legs--screwed on 2 X 4s.  This will probably happen tomorrow...

Oct. 23
I've been down today with presumably a head cold.  It's a good day for it--raining all day--so much for shelter building.  I spent part of the day editing music for another instrumental hymn album.  

Oct. 24
Okay, maybe it's the flu.  My head is very stuffed up, and I'm only good for watching football.  On the bright side, I watched some college football...

Oct. 25
Feeling better today.  I played music for church again.  Afterwards we had a Bible study, which was 5 of us last week, and for which we provided pizza last week, and spaghetti this week. Anyway, one of the regular's family showed up, so we had 11 for the Bible study, with about enough spaghetti to feed 5 of us.  (There was also a loaf of French bread and an apple spice cake).  Anyway we had cake and spaghetti left over, so it's too bad the text wasn't about feeding the 5000, although it was on the Wedding at Cana, similar theme...
    We went walking this evening, and saw a moose and calf feeding again in the Mill Pond.  The lighting was too dark for good photos, but it will prompt me to look at the Mill Pond as I come and go, to try to catch some better shots...

Oct. 26
    We've had close to two inches of rain today, with wind to make sure you get wet if you go out.  So after glazing and loading a couple kilns, I spent the afternoon updating my webpage sales pages with current photos and a few items I'd never listed there before, mostly because I thought they were pretty fragile to ship.  I wouldn't guess that shipping is more than 5-10 per cent of my annual sales, but I figured I might as well bring it up to date.
    The moose might have been out eating today--after all, what's the difference to them between standing in frigid water and standing in frigid water in the rain--but I wasn't inclined to find out.


Oct. 27
Milton Blake's trunk
    I've been fixing an old trunk that was cracked across the lid so that if you sat on it you would get pinched.  We got two trunks in the 1980's at a church yard sale for $15.00--the one I was fixing was the bottom trunk.  I'd never really noticed the set of keys in the bottom of the trunk.  On one side was  this:

Amos J. Blake, attorney and counsellor at Law.  Fitzwilliam N. H.
On the other side,  was this:

Keys to the two trunks of the late Milton Blake 2nd  Keene
It looked so antique I thought I'd Google it and see what I could find.  A lot of towns are putting their public records on the web.  I started with
Amos J. Blake, lawyer, whose house is now a museum in Fitzwilliam N.H.  In keeping with the season, Google also has links to ghost investigator sites related to the museum.  Anyway, I learned he died in 1925, so the trunks had to predate then.
The actual owner, Milton Blake 2nd Keene, didn't make much sense, till I saw references to a nearby town of Keene on the museum webpage.  A search for Milton Blake Keene turned up
Blake, Milton, b. Keene, Oct. 18, 1837.   However, further digging turned up this death notice:
Nov.24,1890 Milton Blake, 2nd age 61 Mechanic  father Ebenezer Blake mother Hepzibeth Jewett
From this it appears he was named after the first Milton Blake, who was Keene's town clerk.  So from this I now believe the trunks were part of an estate sale in 1890, and probably a lot older, no doubt the oldest stuff we own.  But for all that, they're just trunks.  Unless they're haunted...

    We finally got the roof raised for our new view porch today, the roof that formerly was detached from our house by the big snows:

    Here you can see the 10 X 12 foot roof, with temporary 2 X 4 legs.  On top of the two barrels was an old car jack, which would lift each side about a foot at a time.  (Bricks would also be used to heighten the jack when it was too low for a whole barrel.)  Then the legs would be extended, secured with screws, and the other side would be lifted.  Finally it was tall enough to slip the framed wall, leftover from when it was our porch (shown on the right.)  Then it got dark, so the piece of tree trunk leaning against the left side couldn't be added as one of three tree sections holding up the left side.  I hope to finish the roof part tomorrow.  Then there's the cedar deck, in the lower left corner, cut into 3 foot sections for transport, to be reassembled.

Oct. 28
    I got the roof fairly secure today, using two log sections for two of the posts, and bracing it with 2 X 4's.  I was eager to get this done, since 2 inches of snow was predicted for tomorrow.  They've downgraded it now to less than an inch expected.
    I went in to Spokane for a music practice.  Afterward, coming down the hill from the country into a more urban area, I saw the flashing lights behind me, as I had inadvertantly sped.  After the usual interplay, including how I'd been going over 45 in a 35 zone, and a brief sojourn with my driver's license,  he handed back my license with a warning and I was free again!   That's twice this year...  And I really do try to keep within 5 mph of the speed limit, but it's easy to let your mind wander...

Oct. 30
    Weather has been foggy and drippy and cold.  Fortunately I've  been busy getting ready for the Folk Festival this weekend.  It took a good part of the afternoon just packing the pottery.  There are also last minute changes to the Folklore society webpage as well.  My 4 year old printer is showing signs of dying, tending to flash a lot of red blinky lights until you reboot it about 10 times.  This adds stress, since there are lots of little pottery cards and things to print for a craft fair...  So I ordered the same model, now hard to find as they're probably discontinued.  It was always balky, prone to clogging, streaks, and other mechanical issues, but I'd rather stick with the devil I know than the new devil I haven't met, particularly since I had about $100 worth of ink laid in for this one...
    We had six turkeys come through our yard today.  Wild turkeys are always awesome to look at.  I wondered what would happen if they encountered our molting flock of chickens running around the back yard...

Books read and other media of note
Bandits by Elmore Leonard  Set in the time of the Iran Contra scandal, various low-lifes try to profit from money being siphoned to the Contras, with unexpected results.  Leonard writes compelling plot like Donald Westlake, only he takes it more seriously.

Get Real by Donald Westlake  
The criminal career of John Dortmunder spans about 40 years--I'm glad Westlake is still around to keep us updated. In this sendup of Reality TV, the generally hapless crooks are chosen to perform a robbery for reality tv.  Westlake's clear simple writing style makes the story flow better than Amsterdam Store Brand Bourbon down the gang's throats.

Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher. Book 5 of the Codex Alera
Not good for putting one to sleep, but a continuation of a world with Roman civilization, vampires, pod people, and zombies all making for desperate times for the world.

Clay by Suzanne Staubach  
A rather encyclopedic look at all aspects of clay, with many things I'd never known before, in a very readable format.  Written by a potter, perhaps a bit FOR potters, but enjoyable for lay readers as well.

Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard.  
The author has a gift for weaving complex plots with memorable low lifes, this time reprising a likeable bank robber, and other previous characters, for a tragic combination set in motion with a prison friendship (the epynomous road dogs).

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher
Book 4 of the Codex Alera, a fantasy combining elements of Roman history with an alien world full of alien dangers and elemental furies.  Every book in the series is a 3 ring circus of cliff hangers.

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein.  
Poignant reminiscences of a 90  plus year old growing up in Manchester with an invisible wall between the Jewish and Christian communities.  It's beautiful in an Angela's Ashes sort of way, and a wonderful achievement for any writer to relate his life so well, not to mention a nonagenarian.

Three from the Legion
by Jack Williamson.   The Legion of Space, The Cometeers, and One Against the Legion.  Plus Nowhere Near.  The last short story, Nowhere Near, is unmentioned on the front of the book, including the date of writing, which is presumably much later than the 30's when the other books were written, describing a trip through an "anomaly" resembling a black hole.  Although very much in the Buck Rogers tradition, these established Williamson in being a good writer of far flung ideas.  Did Buckminster Fuller get the term geodesic from these books? I want to be the first kid on the block with an  AKKA, a weapon built from common every day objects for which, as Yoda would say, size matters not, and actually destroys the Earth's moon in one of the books.



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