Friday, December 31, 2010

Next Year

I think this week between Christmas and New Year's is a week most people just don't do much of squat. I know I don't. And I'm okay with that. However, according to tradition, I will do a little mini-spring cleaning, I just don't start any new projects or do anything that involves major work! It's a good time to just relax and kinda take it easy. So, after this week I will return with some new projects and some how-to stuff.
As I said though, New Year's Eve is traditionally the day to clean house. All bed linens, towels and other such stuff should be changed to fresh items before the end of the day. If you have time, all broken items mended and even torn clothes repaired. I got a jump on things yesterday by washing the quilts and comforter on the bed and a few more items. Tradition also stipulates that you repay all debts (if possible), return all borrowed items and even apologize to anyone you may have offended over the year. The idea is to have a completely fresh start come the new year. New Years is also the more correct time to serve eggnog, rather than Christmas, as the eggs symbolize new beginnings.
I'll try to post again tomorrow and then Jack and I will be going on a short vacation. Just a few days to restock on my clay supplies and generally see some sights.
I wish each of you a very Happy New Year!! I hope that this new year is an improvement over the last one, even if the last one was pretty good for you! I wish you all peace, good health, love and contentment in whatever you do in life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good Clean Fun

Grendal says 'Happy 4th Day of Christmas' everybody! Today is traditionally known as the Feast Of Fools and what they mean is just that it is a day for silliness. Have fun and let go a little. A lot of people will have a party tonight and play games etc. I am actually going to spend the night alone but maybe Grendal and I can think up something, or watch a funny movie at least. She is already running through the house acting a fool! She may be getting a little too carried away as she just attacked the tree!

Okay, here is the recipe for the cinnamon rolls I showed ya'll the other day. I am going to publish the original version but like I did, I think you could substitute a variety of fruits or nuts. I think dried apricots, blueberries or such would work well.

Cinnamon-Date-Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

Dough:
1 tsp. sugar
1 package dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. grated orange rind
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (I just used pancake syrup)
1 Tbsp. milk (I used 2%)

Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in 3/4 cup warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup sugar, butter, salt and egg in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level with knife. Gradually add flour to yeast mixture, beating mixture on low until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm area (85 degrees), free from drafts for 1 hour or until dough is about double. Punch dough down and turnout onto a lightly floured surface.

To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange rind in a small bowl. Roll dough into a 10x15 inch rectangle; brush with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough leaving a 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle date and pecan mixture over sugar. Beginning on the long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion and pinch seam to seal. Cut roll into 18 1/2" slices. Place slices in a 13x9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until rolls have doubled in size. *I did not have a rectangular pan so I just baked mine in one of my pie plates; worked fine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover rolls and bake at this temperature for 20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, syrup and milk in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls. Serve immediately.

Hope ya'll enjoy these if you make them. I certainly did!


*The Allman Brothers

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Burning Babe

The title of this post, in honor of the 3rd Day of Christmas, is a poem by the 16th century Jesuit martyr Robert Southwell. It has been turned to a song by Sting on his "If On A Winter's Night.." album, which I highly recommend. The poem recounts a vision on a winter's night of the infant Jesus suspended in the darkness and burning for the sins of man. Yes, quite macabre I guess but it begs us not to forget the little children during this season, especially on this Holy Innocents Day or Childremass.

My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel,
wounding thorns,
Love is the fire and sighs the smoke, the ashes
shame and scorn;
The fuel justice layeth on and mercy blows the
coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's
defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to
their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my
blood.

The book I have on the 12 Days says 'we should reflect on our own childhood and honor it, remembering the good times as well as the bad. What we are as adults come from what we were as children, so it is worthwhile to remember on this.' And we should definitely remember this when interacting with children. Adults can affect children in so many ways for the rest of their lives and not always in a good way.
I have a lot of nice memories of Christmas when I was a child. All of my family was alive then, including my Aunt Corinne, who made Christmas a lot of fun. I guess part of the reason Christmas has become sad for me is because so much of my family is gone. But in that case you just have to start new memories and traditions, which I am trying to do.
As such, today is a day for giving to children's charities. I think this is a big part of the Christmas ritual. Of course, it's good to give all year long but I like to make it part of my celebration. So, if you are inclined please remember any of the wonderful organizations such as St. Jude's, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, the Christian Appalachian Project or just the Red Cross.


*Sting

Monday, December 27, 2010

Soul Cake

What you see there was some incredibly scrumptious cinnamon rolls I made on Christmas morning. The original recipe called them orange, date and pecan rolls but I had none of that, so I just used what I did have. Mine were lemon, cranberry and walnut rolls. Really good. I'd be happy to publish the recipe if any of you would like it.
Besides the snow, I had a very different Christmas Day, and I tell you, I really enjoyed it. See, I live on a mountain and all my family lives north of here, where the snow was worse. Getting off this mountain with the ice and snow was tricky so my Mom said not to try it, she was staying home too. Like a lot of families, Christmas Eve used to be a big thing with my family but over the past few years it seems to have just fizzled out. Everyone just eats and then sits around staring at the TV. Not exactly an enjoyable evening in my opinion. I don't know if it's that everybody's lives have gone in such different directions or what but it's not a lot of fun. I did take Mama to my brother's house in Huntsville on Christmas Eve and we had a pretty good time though. My sister and her family didn't show. We had a hard time getting in touch with my sis; she won't return any phone calls, but my brother finally talked to her and she said she had hurt her back and didn't feel like getting out. So, I was actually happy that it snowed for several reasons. I enjoyed seeing my brother and his family but we were to go to my sister's on Christmas Day and honestly, I'd rather drink kerosene. I did miss seeing my niece and nephew though. I know lots of people out there don't really enjoy the obligations of holidays anymore and feel guilty because of it. But is it right to continue to do some of these things when it seems obvious nobody is enjoying it? I'm not much of one to keep doing something just because that's what's always been done. However, I don't want my family to think I don't love them. I do of course, but some people are so critical of others, they make it very uncomfortable for everybody.

But I spent a lovely Christmas morning with Jack. It was so peaceful and fun. He then went to visit his son and family, who live south of here, about lunch time, so I had the whole afternoon to relax and do whatever I wanted. I baked, I walked out in the snow and fed the animals. Then Jack came back and we had a nice dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening together. A great Christmas Day to me.

So, today is St. John's Day and Mother's Night. It is the custom associated with John, to light a lot of candles today and have wine blessed. Now, I don't know where to get any wine blessed but I think just having a little with dinner will be a good substitute. Today is also the day to honor all mothers. If the roads are clear I may try to visit my Mom, as I did not get to on Christmas Day. I can call at the very least anyway.

*Sting

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friendly Beasts

I hope you all had a great holiday, or at least a nice relaxed weekend. For me, today is the first day of Christmastide, more commonly known as Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day. It's called Boxing Day for the tradition of giving small boxes of goods and gifts to the poor and also to public and private servants. This is the day to leave gifts for your mail carrier, garbage man or similar. since today is Sunday though, it will have to wait until tomorrow for me, when these services resume.

Today is also a day reserved for animals since it is associated with St. Stephen. Stephen is considered the first Christian martyr and also the patron saint of horses. Therefore, today is the day for honoring all animals, especially those that serve us in some way. But also the wild animals as well, which actually serve us too.

I spent about an hour in the snow putting out lots of birdseed and small bread loaves. Of course, the little birds that help so much on insect control love this, but I figure a few squirrels are going to get in on it too. I put out some peanuts for them also. The deer got an extra helping of corn and some sliced apples. They gobble those up. And naturally Grendal got extra treats this morning. Santa was really good to her! I hope I did not forget any critters that I could have put something out for. The birds also got suet cakes and some fruit.

It has been much colder today and snowing most of the morning. Such a pretty day. Jack and I went for a walk earlier and then he spent some time splitting wood. After treating the animals we came in and enjoyed some hot soup that I had simmering for a while. Snowy days are just made for hot soup! The roads are fairly icy here so I don't think many people are getting out. I know I'm not. Keep warm!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

For some reason, I have always placed an almost mystical notion on the idea of a real snowfall on Christmas Day. I suppose because they are so rare for our region. And because snow itself seems to possess such a heavenly quality. The all encompassing quiet that settles over a place when it is covered with snow, is mesmerizing to me. It is like peace takes a physical form and coats the whole world in comfort. As some of you may know, Christmas has a spiritual meaning for me and over the past few years I have fought hard to bring some real feeling back to this holiday so ruined by rampant materialism and greed by so much of our society. I wanted Christmas to come without the help of any packages, boxes or bags, to quote the great Dr. Seuss. That simple childhood story sticks in my mind so every Christmas and I suppose I let myself foolishly be drawn back to the ideas I had as a child about snow and Christmas. See, a good bit of what I witnessed as a child was not exactly happy. Much of it involved other families but still, it was close. As children, we were told Christmas was special; the one time Heaven came to Earth. The one time we could speak face to face with God. In my childish mind I combined that idea with the peace that so naturally comes with snow. If it would snow on Christmas it could blot out all I saw that was hurtful and for a time anyway, the world around me would be at peace, just like the story says. If it snowed, then maybe God was still listening. I know that is all silly but kids imagine lots of things and I was a pro at conjuring any idea that helped me believe my world would get better one day.
As I grew up I abandoned my thoughts of such things, too busy with surviving the real world. Work got in the way anyway. Most of the time I had to work on Christmas Eve and I was too tired to put much thought into anything besides pouring concrete and how much overtime I could work. In the last few years though, I noticed those old thoughts creeping back into my mind. Of course, spending the last three years in my new house, always alone on Christmas, might do that for you. You know, you often question yourself in life, did I make the right decision here or there? Should I have done this or that differently? And I found myself wishing for snow again. What a stupid thing! To think the universe would use it's powers to shower me with this magical process on a particular day. It didn't owe me anything. But the little kid's voice kept whispering....if it would snow on Christmas maybe it would be a sign that I was where I was supposed to be. The peace that the snow would bring would simply be a reflection of my home here. If it would snow on Christmas, then maybe, God had been listening to me all this time after all.

I woke up a few times Christmas Eve night. That happens you know, when you get older. As I tiptoed through the bedroom I would sneak a look outside. The moon was still full enough to cast a good light over the land and I could see that the yard was still barren. In fact, the moon even being able to shed that much light told me that there were few clouds in the sky. Ah well, maybe next year. I snuggled back in beside Jack. At least there was a warm man beside me this night that I actually enjoyed being with. We woke up a little late, maybe around 7:00, the ground still bare, so I promptly set about to make coffee and fix our Christmas breakfast while Jack stoked the fire back up. It was sort of a funny thing then. I looked up through the kitchen windows and suddenly some of the largest snowflakes I've ever seen came tumbling down, blotting out the trees in the distance. I remarked to Jack that it seemed as though it was simply waiting on us to wake up. He agreed. And, even though the air did not feel anywhere cold enough, the snow began to lay. Not just on the deck and the tree limbs, but on the ground and in the garden. It waned on and off after a while but it always came back, harder than before and with those same huge snowflakes. Now, we didn't get near what some of ya'll up north would consider a decent snowfall. I wasn't going to lose my way walking to the wood pile or anything. But it covered the ground and that peace and wonderful quietness descended over my valley and it wrapped me up in it's arms. I had seen a white Christmas.



I believe I wrote a post a couple of Christmas's ago that said I hoped to one day wake up on Christmas morning next to a warm man and receive a gift of a sparkling thing that was not a toilet accessory or a tool of some type. As I sit and type this, I wear a sparkling item around my neck. Something I have rarely ever received. A gift from the warm man I woke up with this morning.
I hope you all had a wonderful day and don't forget; we have eleven more days of Christmas to celebrate! I'll be back tomorrow with the Second Day of Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

I always feel a little funny extending specific holiday wishes to a mostly anonymous audience, as I realize their are many people out there in this vast cyberspace that do not celebrate the same things I do. However, I will say this: in whatever manner you wish Christmas to visit you, if at all, I wish it for you and regardless of all that, I pray peace and happiness will find you in whatever corner of the world you are and visit with you the rest of your days.

God bless the master of your house
And the mistress also,
And all the little children
That round your table grow;
The cattle in your stable,
The dogs at your front door,
And all that dwell within your gates
I wish you ten times more.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!


And yes, that snowflake is my hopes of the actual possibility of a white Christmas this year, as the forecasters are saying might happen. It's amazing. In my 42 years I have never seen snow on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eat For Two

Now, nobody get a wild hair that I am pregnant from this post title! It just happens to be a favorite old song of mine and kinda fits this subject. lol! Anyway, I thought I would put up this recipe for a very good, and a little unusual pancake, that I happened upon. I like this recipe because it has a high protein content, as opposed to most pancakes that are all carbs. Due to being slightly hypoglycemic, I can't eat a lot of sweets or high carb meals. I have to have enough protein to balance it and this protein helps me have the energy to do the kind of work I do also. This recipe is just about right for 2 people but it can easily be cut in half.

Churchill House Cottage Cheese Pancakes

4 eggs
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese ( I use the low-fat)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 or 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
now, the original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons but I cut it to 2 or so with no problem. You could probably cut it more or maybe substitute a couple of tablespoons of a light cooking oil.

Beat eggs in a bowl; stir in cottage cheese. Add flour and mix until just blended but still lumpy. And melted butter (or oil) and blend gently to combine.
Melt a pat of butter or add a little oil to a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto the skillet. Cook until edges are golden brown and bubbles form. Turn and cook until light golden brown.
You can serve these with syrup but I like to add a little fruit too. What you see in the photo is sliced bananas that I quickly sauteed in a little butter. I top the pancakes with the bananas and then pour a little syrup over it all. Yuuuuuuummmm!

Well, I meant to get a post up yesterday for Solstice but things have been a bit busy around here. I did get my tree up and decorated and I have still had a few people coming by to purchase some pottery for Christmas gifts. In fact, Rurality and a couple of other local friends all met here this morning to peruse crafts and purchase stuff. I scored some of the great soap for gifts and they got some pottery to give! And we got to visit and talk for a while. I haven't even had a lot of time to visit my blogs I like to read; but I will catch up to ya'll!
I will try to post again soon and let ya'll in on some of the goings-on around here, complete with pics of decorations and all that sort of stuff.


*10,000 Maniacs

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Sweet It Is

Wow!!!!! thanks so much for all the comments and wonderful feedback that ya'll left on the last post. I really do appreciate the time you took to comment. I would have normally answered each one but I didn't check until later and there were so many, I thought it might be easier just to answer you here. I think that lack of time these days is what has contributed most to a lot of bloggers stopping. Lots of people are now having to work longer hours or even work more than one job. And, as some of you mentioned, some people feel they have just said all they have to say. I guess if I had limited my blog to just my house it would have petered out too, because there have been times when progress has gone so slowly, the blog would have virtually stopped. Fortunately, I like to run my pie-hole about most anything, so you all still get to read about my train wreck of a life!
I have dutifully taken note of the things ya'll said you would like to read about and will do my best to post on those things. Thanks again, truly, and welcome to the new readers.

In fact, these photos are what one of my sweetest readers, Floridacracker, asked me about a little while back. He wanted to see the stone retaining wall I had been building around the parking area. I thought I had shown a full scale shot but I must not have. Anyway, here it is. It is not completely finished at the areas next to the steps but it's getting closer.

I don't lack a whole lot finishing but sometimes so many other things distract me. There is just so much to do here. Cleaning up the yard helped so much though, to give me some incentive to finish things like this.

Some of you may remember my plan to weave various little curious objects into the wall. How many can you see? I have not put everything in that I intend to, as this is just one small section of the wall. This stone is just dry stacked for now but I do intend to go back and mortar in a few pieces of the loose stone, concealing the mortar as best I can.

Here is the broccoli. Yesterday was warm enough that I pulled back the plastic over the tunnel to let the crops get some good sunshine, which I do if the temps are going to get above 50 degrees. These plants are about a foot tall. I will be so excited if I actually get some broccoli off these plants. At least you don't have to worry about too many pests at this time of year, although I know there is still the possibility of some.

The cabbages, which are about 14-16 inches across, are trying to form heads. Everything seems healthy and robust so far. In the worst cold they are a little wilty looking but then as it warms up they spring back up. I have read that cabbages can easily take 20 (F.) degrees, so these seem to be doing okay. However, I put the light, with a 100-watt bulb, under the tunnel on nights that are going to be in the low 20's or lower. I am trying to come up with some other form of heat that could safely be put under there and would not require much or any electricity. Any ideas? I do not believe it is weather proof enough for a small ceramic heater and those things use a good bit of power anyway.


*James Taylor

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Would You Say?

Well, the cabbages and broccoli are holding their own against the cold and ice so far. We have once again had some fairly cold weather and even some snow, which for December in the South, is a little odd. I believe however, that that is going to become the norm for us. At least for about the next 90 years anyway. I have, on the coldest nights, put some lights under the tunnel to help the greens out a little. Maybe it will work. Next year I must plant them earlier.

So, now to what the title refers to. I have noticed over the past year that many of the blogs I started out reading, or have read for some time anyway, have stopped posting. Seems like I can count on 2 hands the regulars that are no more. I've also noticed that a good many of my once regular commenters are gone. But my readership has gone up considerable and I have noticed a lot of new hits. Kind of an odd thing. I know that people's lives cycle around and many don't have time for certain things anymore. And I guess some people just lose interest. I'm wondering if the economic downturn has influenced any of this. Are people having to work more to make ends meet? At least, those who have jobs?
Things are changing in my own life but I do want to keep writing and providing some source for some information to those who might want it. I know lately the info has been a little stale but I am working on some new projects. I guess what I'm wondering is if many people are still getting any benefit from this blog. I guess some of you are or you wouldn't keep coming back.
Do I have some new readers out here who have not commented yet? Feel free to; I welcome all questions and comments.

I plan to do a couple more posts soon on pouring concrete and a few on the coldframe and winter gardening. Any longtime readers know I don't start my Christmas celebrations until Solstice and continue for the traditional 12 days. I will just include some short notes on that this year, instead of the in-depth stuff of last year. You can go back to last year's posts to read the history of the 12 days if you like. It's just what I do to encourage people to reject the abuse of consumerism during this holiday and to try to establish some rituals that actually mean something.
I will probably post at least one of my traditional holiday rants. lol!
I am going to try to start posting more on food and recipes and how I get the most out of my groceries and grow all I can. I have never posted a lot on cooking but I actually cook quite a bit, especially now that Jack is here. Due to the way I have always worked, I have come up with a number of time-saving recipes and ways to stretch my food and budget.

So, does any of this sound like things that would be interesting or are there just too many other blogs out there who already do a better job on those subjects? Or, does anybody simply have any other questions or comments?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lay It Down

I mentioned in a previous post that I had finally poured the countertop in the pantry this past week. It went fairly well but with one minor problem I will get into later. I had the cabinet made with the face plate 3/4" higher than the walls of the cabinet so that I could lay in a 3/4" piece of plywood and have everything the same height. Then, I simply clamped the front edge form to the cabinet, with a 1" spacer between it and the cabinet. This gives me the standard 1" overhang of countertop. I then caulked every single crack within the area that would receive concrete with silicone caulk. This would keep the wet concrete from weeping water down into my cabinet. I also ran a good thick bead in the front bottom crack of the form (what would be the front bottom edge of the concrete counter.). Silicone gives the concrete a nice smooth finish and will release it easily.

I also transferred my finish elevation to the back wall and installed a wood strip (which you can see here) at that height to serve as a screeding line. It stays in and will be covered by the backsplash. Then I simply mixed the concrete and shoveled it onto the counter form, making sure to pull the wire up to about the middle of the concrete. The countertop is about 2 inches thick.

Now, if you look closely in that last photo, you can see my mix was just a little wet, so when I poured out that water started to rise to the surface, as it should. Now, you don't want to keep working that water back into the surface of the concrete, as it will weaken it, so I opted to place pieces of clothe on the surface to expedite it's removal. Normally, a little water is always going to come up and you just float the concrete down once and leave it alone. It will evaporate on it's on. This had a good bit of water coming up, so soaking it up did help but it caused me to have to float (or smooth) the concrete down several times, which in turn, worked some of that water back into the surface. So, today I noticed a few places in the counter where the cement is getting powdery and flaking off, exposing the sand and lower surface of the counter. I believe there are several things I can do to remedy this but it's a pain.

This is the counter right after I floated it off and got it on grade. I had to mix the whole thing in two batches so the right hand half of the counter is very hard, because I got the water right.
As I said, once the concrete is floated down just leave it and check on it every once in a while. You can tell when the water starts to evaporate and the surface will start to look slightly dry. After this point you can run afloat over it a couple of times and then you switch to a trowel.

What I have in my hand here is a trowel; a float has a much thicker blade. They are NOT interchangeable if you want a truly slick finish. With the trowel you are in effect, burnishing a slick finish on the concrete. A fair amount of pressure must be applied as you do your sweeps. And, if you look closely, you can see one edge of the trowel is held up, so that only the back, or trailing edge touches the concrete. You use this technique with the float also. If you let either lay flat as you make your pass it will 'grab' the concrete and simply gouge trenches in the surface. As the concrete hardens you can see the trowel begin to burnish it and the pinholes close up. However, don't work it too much at one time. Make one pass and stop. Come back 30 minutes later and do another. I started pouring this counter at about 10:00 a.m and probably made my last pass about 9:00 p.m. so it is not a quick process unless you are in a very hot environment. But then, I did get mine a little wet.
Other than the few small spots I mentioned it came out real nice I think. I will show ya'll finish pictures soon and I even installed the hardware on the cabinet. Now, I just need to pour the backsplash and install that.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lazy Day

Today is the lazy day that I am referring to, not the day depicted in the photos! Which was a very busy day indeed, but good. I think the Open House went very well and was pleased with the turn out. Not a monstrous crowd but just a steady stream of people all day. It was nice and we made some money. Which is always good!
I didn't mean to go so long between posting but I have just been working long hours getting ready and Jack has worked himself to a frazzle, cleaning up the yard and hauling gravel on the drive etc. It looks great around here now though! 'Frazzle' is a southern term btw, in case ya'll are wondering!

Crow Valley is not going to be the official name of my business but just one I threw out there for time being. It is pretty accurate though and the resident crows were out in force for our visitors yesterday.

Fred brought down all kinds of great knitted scarves and such he has made. They were popular. I have a scarf he made for me last year and I love to wear it. It's the fuzzy kind and very snuggly.


Rurality was here with her fabulous Natural Impulse handmade soaps! She has a website (Google Natural Impulse) where you can go and get some great holiday gifts.

I had a pretty good selection of pottery and people seemed pleased with it. And, I still have a fair selection if anybody is needing some gifts still. I may put up a few pics later.

And we had food and hot drinks; it was fun. Some old friends came that had not seen the house and Allen gave a little tour. People were very complimentary and that made me feel good.
And since the place is so well cleaned now, it gives me a lot of enthusiasm to start finishing some stuff on the house. I may finish and paint that blank wall in the kitchen next!

So, today I have been a slug. And I have enjoyed my slugness. It has turned off quite cold and I have lolled about in bed, watching a light snow fall outside all day. I did cook a nice breakfast of homemade biscuits and sausage but for the most part Jack and I have just been enjoying the warmth of hugs and a good fire in the stove. I am about to bundle up and check on things in the garden. Perhaps walk down the drive and check out the creek.
This past week I did manage to pour the countertop in the pantry, so I'll put that post up soon. I think it came out well and looks great with the cabinet I had made.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

If I Could Make A Living

I was surprised to see that was actually a song title. lol! Not really familiar with it but it will work. Well, I've been busy as a bee but really don't have much to show ya'll. I've just been throwing and firing to complete orders and get ready for this Open House next weekend. I have a feeling not many people are going to show up but then as soon as I don't make much, 75 people will drive up wanting pots. So anyway, I have lots of people right now, that are interested in buying work but I just keep wondering how things are really going to go, given the sorry state of the economy etc etc. Of course, I know that some artists have always been able to make a living, even in horrible economic times. I really need to start applying to some regional or national shows and try to get my name out there.
I've talked to a few of the guys from work lately but things are still horribly slow. I don't really look for that work to pick up any time soon.

This is some of what I did this evening. Some freshly thrown bowls and a couple of mugs on the left there. There is a real trick to sliding the pots off the wheel right after they are thrown and onto a board. I do that to save space and not take up so many bats. For years I have always done fine, rarely messing a piece up, but the other night I dropped 3 mugs in a row. I said, the hell with it and called it a night. I was tired I guess.

This is one of my recent casserole dishes. I think they are starting to come out well. I don't know if I have ever put a picture of one of these up before. It has taken me a long time to develop a design that I like with these. I will show this one glazed and finished.
I have not forgotten about the video ya'll wanted to see of me throwing. It's just a matter of getting Jack to help, which is not really a problem, and having a day when I don't look like I just fell off a manure wagon.
As a matter of fact, Jack has been a great help lately, cleaning up the place for the Open House. I certainly don't want it to look like the rednecks from hell live here. He also installed a new light fixture over my wheel so I can better see what I'm doing. And he has kept us in split firewood so I don't have to worry about that.

Well, I hope that soon I will have some new progress on the house to show ya'll. I have several projects that are right on the verge of being finished but I still don't have time for that last final step. Maybe soon!

Oh! and WAR EAGLE baby!!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Warm It Up

Sorry about these truly crappy photos but it has been very overcast the past couple of days. Cold and windy also, so it made for a little bit of a challenge to get any real good pics. Truthfully, I was just in too much of a hurry to spend much time screwing with that camera. Oh, I know; I shouldn't admit that but darn it, I just have days like that. lol!
I have been going like crazy to get orders done and also to prepare for the Open House I decided to have next weekend. I am enjoying it though. Between throwing and firing and such I have had to go out in the late afternoon to cover the crops as the temps are dropping into the 20's pretty regularly at night. I fashioned this hoop tunnel and have been leaving it in place until the daytime temps get into the upper 40's, if it is sunny. I'm afraid I will bake them on a sunny day here. I guess maybe I could put a thermometer under there to see what it is getting up to.

My precious little cabbages and broccoli! Jack has questioned me several times on whether all this work is worth it to protect these few crops. This from somebody that keeps spouting self-sufficiency! I think he would think it was worth it when he's scarfing down my sauteed cabbage with onions! Yumm!!! I think I have about 18 heads of cabbage and 9 broccoli plants so that is a fair investment to me. At any rate, I don't mind spending a few minutes a day on them. Especially since I have my days to spend on all my own work anyway.

So, the Open House is Dec. 11th from 10:00 a.m to 4 p.m. if there are any locals reading this and want to stop by. If you would, email me and I'll give you directions. Rurality will have her fantastic handmade soaps here also and I'll make some cookies and snacks with some hot cider! Should be fun and maybe I can keep Jack out of the food long enough for any visitors to be able to get some.