Friday, April 29, 2011

Break In The Weather

Well, the weather for the past couple of days has been beautiful; funny how that happens with the worst storms. It's been cool enough in the mornings to make me throw on some long sleeves.
I finally heard from Daddy Rabbit and the other guys. They are safe and unharmed although in the midst of about total destruction. Daddy Rabbit's field clerk is a young lady who attends the University. Her roommate was killed. Last I heard the deathtoll in Alabama was around 210. Ol' Hippie (whom ya'll may remember) had a large tree fall through his house. Other than that, I don't think any of my guys suffered any worse damage. Talked to Head and some others and they are all okay. Thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! Seriously. I'm sorry I did not or have not been able to answer everybody's comments one by one. Even though I have power, my phone and internet connections have been on and off. Sometimes I have them, sometimes I don't. Mostly lately I don't. It seems to be doing okay tonight, so maybe things are straightened out.
So, the rest of us just count our blessings and continue on. Above are some seedlings I must get planted this weekend. Tomatoes, eggplant (I finally found someone else (Jack) that likes the stuff!) peppers and watermelon. Yes, I am going to grow some more watermelon but this is a different variety; Black Diamond this time.

Here is the current state of the garden: zucchini and squash are the most recent additions and going strong. They were blooming today. Well, I also planted two rows of Red Pontiac potatoes recently. They have not come up yet. Onions and garlic are doing very well. Ah, and there are two bell pepper plants there in the front for Jack. Personally, I cannot abide the taste of the things.

The blueberries are doing very well this year as are the strawberries and raspberries. All the fruit got a good dose of compost and an organic fertilizer for fruit early this spring.

The broccoli is still chugging along. I get enough to make a side dish for me and Jack about once a week from 8 plants. They have all long since produced their main center head and these are just the side shoots now.

Even my grapes look like they may produce this year, now that I have relocated them inside the fenced garden. Well, except for the one Jack ran over with the tiller but I'll get another one.

This recent horrible storm has also had the effect of confirming in my mind the advantage of being somewhat self-sufficient. Or at least, not so dependent on the stores. Now, make no mistake, there is no way to prepare for a dead-on hit from that size tornado, short of a underground concrete bunker, but for the ones not hit there are still potential problems. A lot of people scoff at preppers or doomers and say it's stupid to worry about such. Well, I'm not a doomer by any stretch but this is a prime example of why you should be prepped. For example, most of the surrounding counties have been without power. No power in the stores mean no gas and no food. So, guess where they all came. You got it, our town has been overran. Couldn't even get in the parking lot of most gas stations and lots of food items were sold out. Fortunately, since Jack and I have prepared somewhat, it hasn't affected us. I have plenty of food and we have gas. And due to the ever increasingly erratic patterns of weather, you never know when some crap is going to happen. It's not just about some end of the world scenario that is probably never going to happen anyway, it's just regular world stuff that screws up most people today. For instance, I read about another blogger who hurt his back pretty bad and was down flat for 3 weeks. His wife didn't and couldn't drive. Had they not done some prepping and been self-sufficient they would have really been in a bind. Turns out they did fine. Makes me all the more anxious to get more of my stuff going.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alive And Well (edited)

I thought I'd come back and add some photos of what we found when we ventured out this morning. I had no damage to my place but unfortunately, we spent the morning picking up pieces of other people's homes. Funny the stuff you will find. I thought the lyrics from this scrap of sheet music was appropriate.

This was the largest piece of debris Jack found. Looked like piece of a wall section from a RV or mobily home. We found a lot of splintered wood and limbs from types of trees that I don't have growing here.

I don't know which high school this is from but the mascot is on the scrap. Maybe I can figure it out from that.

Just a small sampling of what we picked up. Mostly roof shingles, carpet pad, insulation and drywall pieces. Other people have found legal papers. Apparently a law firm in Tuscaloosa got wiped out.
I have read that over 100 (oh, the news just said over 160 now) people died just in Alabama last night. The previous worst tornado outbreak that I can remember killed 32 people, I think. It's sad to gather this stuff out of my yard and know this was somebody's home. They estimated that the main tornado last night was about 1 mile wide and it stayed on the ground literally from one side of the state to the other. That is almost unheard of.
The thing with a tornado is that if you are in it's path, you can about kiss your ass good-bye, but then, not even 1/4 mile to the left or right there will be no damage at all.
I have heard from all my family and they are all okay. I still have not heard from any of the guys from work or that live in Tuscaloosa; don't know about them yet.
The footage I have seen from that area is mind-boggling. Tuscaloosa was a fairly large city. Was.
I would like to know that my Alabama readers are okay. Please leave a comment. I know over a half a million people are without power right now though, so you may not be seeing this. Comment when you can please. Dang, I keep having to update the death toll just in the short while I've been writing this post. I'm going to go now; I'll check back in soon.



Hey everybody! We are all fine, so far! I think most of the storms have passed us here tonight though. The tornadoes all went slightly south of us so we just got a lot of heavy rain and some hail. I had covered my small plants or otherwise put them up. Can't afford to lose any food plants now. We did get some pretty strong winds and we heard reports on the television that debris from Tuscaloosa was falling on our town. We are like, 110-120 miles from Tuscaloosa.
My former company has a large job going on in T-town right now (at the university) and I am anxious to hear if the guys are okay though. Daddy Rabbit is the super on that job.
So, we did not lose power or anything but will have to wait until daylight to check for damages or trees down. Some fair size limbs were already falling before the sun went down.
Thanks for checking on us!! I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

Well, I'm finally back and with photos!! Just a few pics to show how things have really sprang forth over the past week or so. I've a bit of catching up to do however, with pics of the garden and chicken coop. Progress has been made on each front when I am not busy potting.
Generally, I prefer the Japanese iris over these Dutch or 'bearded' iris but these are quite stunning.

They have really gone bonkers this year. Someone gave these to me (I think it was Mouse) and so I have been able to continue adding to this bed without spending much money. I like seeing just how many flowers I can scrounge. The yellow ones you see are basically just a weed around these parts that I cultivate. They don't normally bloom so profusely but then most people mow them down. If given some fertile ground and encouraged they really become full. I like them.

The dragons are out in force again! It took a little while but they are really blooming also. Sometimes there are so many flitting about I can't even begin to get a count on them. I have tried to make them feel welcome because they eat so many pests. However, I read the other day, they also will eat bees! Not a good thing. But, I guess you got to take the good with the bad sometimes. They apparently don't like to hassle with bumbles though because I have more of those than I care for! Nah, I like the bumbles... but they also like my pressure treated lumber. We are going to have to come to some sort of agreement over that!

On another note, I found something out the other day that was quite surprising. I had gone in a couple of weeks ago for my yearly exam and the results came back from my blood work. I have a fairly significant vitamin D deficiency. At first I could not figure out how. I mean, I'm in the sun all the time. But then it hit me; yeah, but I wear sunscreen. Completely blocks your body from producing D. I don't wear it as much now (because it is shady in much of the areas I work at home) but when I worked construction we practically just had to wear it or we would have roasted ourselves. Many of the jobs offered no shade at all. Nothing but bare concrete reflecting the sun back up on you, so we all wore lots of screen. I tried the natural stuff too but if it protects against burning it's not allowing the other either. So, I looked up what foods we get D from. Fish and beef liver mostly. Bleh. I don't care much for either of those. Some comes from eggs but not enough for me apparently. I had noticed that over the past couple of years I have been having some major bone and muscle pain but just figured it was my work. And seemed my forgetfulness and fuzzy thinking had been getting worse. I hope that I can blame all these things on the lack of D; they are the common symptoms. If I can, then that means they will get better now that I am taking a supplement. I hope so. I was about to the point that I told Jack he may need to tie a rope around my waist to keep me from wandering off. I got to where I would forget just about everything.
So, ya'll that use a lot of sunscreen keep this in mind. I would have never made the connection between the symptoms and the deficiency if I had not had that blood work done.

Oh yeah, how is the new layout and design? Please, please tell me if this blog is ever hard for you to view or read. I had been think for some time that the old one was a little hard to read but wasn't sure. I assure you, I will not get upset. Having funky colors or something is one thing. That is a personal preference, but simply making the posts legible is my duty to you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Good Earth

I think every year I have blogged I have meant to do a special Earth Day post and I botch it up every time. I went through most of today thinking it was Thursday and I therefore had another day to get my post together. Well, that wasn't right. So, here I am at one hour 'til midnight trying to get this posted in time. I'm such a goober sometimes. Sorry for the lack of photos too. Would have been nice considering the post material but my computer is in the shop for a few days so I am posting off Jack's laptop and it will not accept the card from my camera, so, photos later I'm afraid.
Anyway, I know there are tons of better blogs out there for information of recycling and reducing our impact on the earth but I just wanted to write a little about what I do. I'm sure most of it you've heard before but there might be a little new info and ideas in there. Plus, I usually write about building and creating but I advertise my blog as being 'green', so I thought I should write a little about my efforts there.
We all know the mantra of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse and of course, ya'll know I try to use salvaged and recycled building material whenever possible. I do also try to apply these principles to everyday activities too.
Mainly, my big goal lately has just been to Reduce my dependence on many things so that I don't have much to Recycle or Reuse. Reducing my dependence on store bought things also isolates me from problems when there are shortages in the stores or price hikes, like with gas. Being able to work at home has greatly reduced the amount of fuel I go through. My truck often sits for several days without being cranked. Of course, this saves me lots of money and I am fortunate that I am able to do this. I know most people cannot work at home but I think lots of us could find ways to reduce our gas usage and many people are finding ways to work closer to home.
I am also working on reducing as much of our garbage as I can, whether or not it can be recycled. As soon as I am able to produce a decent tomato harvest I hope to start canning my own sauces and salsas, etc. thereby reducing having to buy these items and discard or reuse the containers. We have recycling in our area but not much for glass, therefore, when I do have to buy a glass container I try to make it one that I know I would like to use for storage later. For example, I get jars that are a good size for storing broths and juices in the refrigerator, dried foods and herbs in the pantry or homemade dressings. I use small yogurt cups for potting seedlings and reuse all of the ones from buying plants. I wash and reuse all Ziploc baggies. I don't use as many as I used to because I'm not on a construction site anymore (we could not bring glass onto a site) but I still use some. This freaked Jack out at first but he has gotten used to it. It amazes me so many people will throw them away after just one use. They are throwing away money to me. We save some cans or jars for holding nails and screws and such. I use cloth napkins but I must admit, I have not succumbed to using cloth toilet paper. And I don't know that I ever will. I'm not convinced that the energy expended washing that much cloth is actually less than the energy expended to create a roll of toilet paper and you can get toilet paper made from recycled sources so no new trees are chopped. Also, I just don't buy stuff that comes in layers of packaging. Another good thing about buying a side of local beef; it comes only in freezer paper. None of those nasty Styrofoam trays. Any paper or cardboard that does come in packaging and mailings is recycled, used for firestarting (if not shiny) or composted if plain. Did you know you can also compost wine bottle corks?
Of course, anything I don't reuse I recycle. I have bins in the pantry and on a day when I am going to Birmingham anyway I drop off my recyclables. This is usually steel, #1 and #2 plastics and maybe some paper. Also, there is a small family in the area that collects scrap metal for their living and anytime I have any metal besides cans, like an old lawnmower or such, I take it to them. Let me tell you, they strip that thing down to nothing and sort all the different metals out, selling it for scrap. This helps me and them.
Besides reusing containers I also try to reuse clothing. If I don't want it anymore I either take it to Goodwill or maybe sell it in a yard sale. If it's not good enough for that I tear it up for rags. You can always use rags. It can be stuffing for a pet's bed too. You can make rugs out of Denim or sacks for storing supplies. Old pantyhose are great for tying plants up with, like tomatoes. Just cut them into strips. The pantyhose that is. Lots of crafty people make neat purses or backpacks out of old jeans.
Well, this post is getting long and I could go on and on but you get the idea. Mainly, I just try to think, 'do I need this or can I use this for something else?' before buying or throwing anything away. And ya'll know I'm a bit of a neat freak so I'm not the hoarder type that has a packed house of crap I never use. It gets used or it gets gone!
All these habits help me reduce my impact on the environment, although I know I could do much more (and am trying) but they also save me money!!
Do ya'll have any cool ideas for reusing everyday items that I did not mention?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Way Conversation

The smallest of the cabbage I had that went through the winter has finally gotten large and has started forming heads. If you remember, all of the larger cabbage just went to seed without making heads. I read where some people attributed that to too much rain but I don't know. Could be. At any rate, I think I'm finally going to get some cabbage but I do not believe I will try the overwintering on undeveloped plants anymore. I'll plant them early enough that they can make heads before it gets real cold. I've had a number of cabbage worms showing up to munch my crop but I have just been handpicking them off instead of trying an organic spray. Doesn't take too much time and seems to work well. There are some bite marks in the leaves but nothing major.

As I've mentioned lately, I've been a little frustrated with the blog lately, or maybe just myself. I've felt like I haven't been offering enough usable information for my readers; just 'here, this is what I built today' stuff. So, I tried to organize my thinking and posts to offer pertinent info and actual reasons to back up what I do. I mean, there are a lot of people new to self-sufficiency that might not see the benefit or reason to do certain things. In doing this however, I felt like I was just repeating myself over again and then I actually felt like maybe I just didn't have much to say anymore. Maybe I had overstayed my usefulness here. I think a lot of bloggers fear this at times. Let's face it, 5 years is a long time to be sitting here spouting off.
I was looking back to the beginning of my blog last night and it struck me how that even in cyberspace, our relations with people ebb and flow. Many people that used to read here all the time have disappeared or are silent at least. Many are just gone. Many that used to comment are still here but just don't say anything anymore. Even the other women in our Blount County Bloggers group don't read here anymore! Have I become a pariah? lol!! It's like that in real life too. People come and go but then you have a few that stick with you forever! I hope that I have always made people feel welcome and that they could contribute. Now, I know that I have, ahem....very strong opinions. I do things a certain way. But I have often taken my readers advice and done things they suggested and it worked out well. I do not want to be one of those bloggers that claims to be God's gift to DIY. (I have a big time rant brewing on that one.) I don't claim to have ever invented shit about tools and construction. I'm not famous or have people beating my doors down for movie rights. I do know how to do a few things however and want to show others that they can do those things too. It's not as hard as some might think but you do have to understand certain principles of structural design. Whether or not you want it to be artsy-fartsy also is simply up to you. As a matter of fact, I'll show you mistakes I make. Monday, when I worked on the coop last, I was getting tired towards the end of the day and I fell on a sheet of plywood trying to make a cross cut and scraped my arm badly, not to mention my pride. On top of that, I made the cut wrong and had to recut that sheet to salvage what I could, thereby wasting some of it. I banged my head trying to walk through the chicken door and finally, I zinged a nail and the pointy end hit me right in the boob. That hurts by the way. I said, you know, I think it's time to call it a day.

Do you think it's mean of me to put the chickens next to the garden where they can look out their window and see all the crops growing? knowing that they can't go in there? lol!! Well, I guess they'll get over it. One reason I put it there was so that their wastes would be very close to the composter and the garden wastes wold be very close to the chickens. Wouldn't have to haul either but a few feet.
So, anyway, I see I have lots of visitors but you must tell me; are you actually getting much info that you can use? And I know some of you just like to read whether or not it's informative or not. I know maybe it's a little boring sine I don't have the man drama I used to! Ha!! Well, I could tell you stories about some of the crazy stuff Jack does but he might get hurt at me. Some of it's pretty damn funny though. Let me say this; if you are ever going to come to visit, please call first because I'd hate for you to catch him out in the yard in nothing but his combat boots. He's worse than I am about shedding his clothes.
Do you want me to show more detailed building instructions or methods? I know sometimes I just kinda brush over that or completely forget. Like, I forgot to show ya'll how I made cuts on that cork flooring. (If you don't do it right you can screw up the surface)
So, throw me a bone here folks...have I gotten stale? not enough info? pissed you off? Want me to write about something completely different sometimes? Am I repeating myself too often? I know the garden is a popular subject, even though there are tons of better gardeners than me. Anyway, I'm trying to enliven things a little. I personally think the time is come for all of us to embrace a simpler yet more satisfying life and I'm just trying to show how I am going about it. Right now, it's our option to live more simply but I fear that in the years ahead it may not be an option.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Box

Here's a little more on the chicken coop. I made fair progress on it today, however, looks like rain is coming in Wednesday and I have to go pick up clay tomorrow, so, I may not be able to get back to it until the weekend. I am really enjoying framing this little building and thinking about what decorative little touches I want to do.

I installed one of the windows today. This is one I pulled out of a dumpster on a job I was on. Brand new, still had the stickers on it. I got to looking and it is a Pella Low-E window; fancy-smancy. There was a Habitat For Humanity store not 5 miles from this church where we were building an addition but they opted to throw this window and 3 more in the dumpster rather than give them to Habitat. I am trying to not get started on that thought......

I know my window liner on this side not quite technically correct but it will work. I was trying to conserve wood. And, it's a chicken coop. Not building no piano here.
I'll have a few close-ups of technical details later and how exactly I attached stuff etc. Just trying to show progress here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tongue Tied

I guess I've just had the awfullest bit of writer's block lately. I just have not been able to organize many ideas for posts. In my defense I have been fairly busy though! I've had pottery orders to fill and deliver and, multiple firings of same and still trying to frame the chicken house in between all this. Unfortunately, most of the pottery orders have been on consignment, so they haven't actually sold yet. The lady at one gallery assures me she will move my stuff though, so we will see.
This is a funny little critter in the photo above; does anybody know what it is? There are lots of them around here.

I did want to continue some of the train of thought I had going a couple of posts back. In an effort to get away from corporate or industrialized meat and all that implies, Jack, Mama and I all went in and bought a half a side of beef recently from a local rancher. As a matter of fact, his pasture is right across the road from my Mom's house and he stores his hay on Mama's land since it is not used for pasture anymore. So, we can see how this guy raises his cattle. I see them roaming the hills and I know he is kindly to them. They have decent, healthy pasture and he does not give them drugs or hormones. Now, he does take them to a smaller lot when it is close to slaughter time and supplements their grass with grain, but it's not corn for the most part. He told me his recipe, which he grinds himself, but I forget most of it to tell the truth. It was good, natural grain though with a little molasses thrown in. This grain is to fatten them a little more because we have all become so accustomed to that. However, they are still pretty lean compared to the meat you get in the store and it has a different flavor. To me, home raised beef is much more flavorful than the bland, mushy stuff in the stores. I would say it does take a little getting used to but it has a much better flavor and texture.
I feel much better about this meat for several reasons: 1. I am helping to support a local rancher, not a conglomeration. 2. The meat is superior in taste and much healthier due to a natural diet and no drugs. 3. The cattle are happy, or seem to be anyway. We see them running and playing a little; they have a nice place there. 4. They are local, so there is no 18-wheeler hauling them or the meat hundreds of miles to me. We drove about 30 minutes to the slaughter house and picked the stuff up. 5. I'm also supporting a local meat processing place and the people there were really nice. 6. The natural environment they are raised in does not significantly contribute to environmental damage. No huge amounts of toxic runoff from their feed lots etc. In fact, you can go gather up their poop to put on your garden! 7. Last but not least, it is a great value. Now, it is a large sum at once to buy half or a whole beef but, generally it is significantly less per pound than in a grocery store. We paid $2.20/ lb. hanging weight and this included the meat processing fee. (Now, some of this was the fact he owed my Mom for letting him store his hay). Hanging weight is after the beef has been dressed (gutted) but before it is chopped up. Admittedly, there is some waste, so you are not getting every ounce of that whole side but you get quite a lot. They will actually give you practically everything back if you ask for it. For instance, you can get the heart, tongue etc. for dog food if you would like, although some people eat these too. I got the bones too for making stock. Here, in my area, even the cheapest cuts of beef are up to $5.99/ lb. , and it goes up from there, so I think this is a great savings.
Once I have the meat I am very frugal with it, or try to be anyway. Any scrap or trimmings (gristle, fat) go to make dog food. Left overs are eaten completely. Bones go to make soup stock and then the bigger ones are chew toys again for the dog.
Now, I'm not so naive to think there are no bad implications to this method. The cattle are killed after all and some people have a problem with that and that is their choice. I know even the small slaughter houses can have their issues too, but you can shop around and pick ones that seem to be conscientious. But for me now, until I can possibly raise my own, I feel this is a good option. The cattle are treated well, no huge amounts of petroleum are used in the process and I'm ingesting clean meat not tainted with hormones or large amounts of antibiotics that are necessary in industrial settings because they are so massively nasty. And it's cheaper!! Do any of you buy a half or whole beef at a time?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 08, 2011

Why Not Me

There's tons of spring flowers popping up everywhere around here now. Every year there are more and more wild flowers in the areas I have cleared. This year I have already spotted two new ones that I don't recall seeing last year. I enjoyed some of these violets on a salad tonight. They are excellent for cleansing your system and blood. Personally, I think many of the first spring flowers are there for us to eat, to clean our bodies after a long, cooped up winter.

I think part of the reason I haven't had much enthusiasm for posting lately is because, I realized, for the longest time I have just been doing these 'here's what I did today' posts. Those get boring to me. So, I thought I would try to do some 'here's why I did what I did today' posts.

Dirty dog snout and tongue after chasing moles. Sometimes she will have her nostrils completely plugged up with mud. She thinks this is great fun.
A lot of people question me on why I try to live a non-consumer style life. Why do I try to make so much by hand? Why do I worry about growing so much food? Why bother with animals? Why don't I just get down off my high horse, as one guy put it, and go to the store and just buy something? So, I got to thinking, why do I go to the trouble? Now, to me, it's not really trouble but you know what I mean. I'm going to leave out the financial reasoning because that's kinda a given at this point. So, what else is there?

1. Well, obviously, I believe it's healthier to grow my own food. Even 'organic' farms have their troubles and we can't trust everybody to not put in their products what they say they are not. If I grow it though, I know exactly what is in it. It is also good exercise to work outside and good for the spirit. The food is more nutritious in a multitude of ways.
2. More and more I choose not to participate in the abuse of living creatures used for food. This is one that has really started to bother me and I have been doing what I can to remove myself from this cycle. I'll tell more about that later. If I care for the animals I plan on eating then I know they will have a sanitary, active and healthy life. Now, I know some people would just say, don't eat meat but it's not quite that simple in my opinion. Considering that large tracts of land are cleared (thereby displacing or killing untold animals) for vegetable farming, even the vegan lifestyle has it's implications on animal life.
3. To make me more grateful and appreciative of all forms of life besides my own and see the value in it all. If I raise my own food you better believe I will not waste any of it and it pains me to no end to see any part on an animal wasted that has given it's life to me. I think one of the major problems with American society is that most people are completely ungrateful for what they have. We waste enough food in one day to feed entire countries. This is a national shame on us.

4. I choose my lifestyle in order to live an enjoyable, fulfilling life that directly benefits me and those I love, rather than spending the majority of my time working to fill a corporation's pockets. A corporation that would not piss on me if my head was on fire. Been there, done that. Not again if I can help it.
5. I choose this life in order to be the change I wish to see in the world. Perhaps by my example some people will see that a life of mindless consumerism is pointless and empty. That there are ways to have a decent and creative home and life without sacrificing yourself to a lifetime of servitude. Perhaps people will see that there are always alternatives to the status quo. You don't have to keep doing things the way they've always been done.
6. To have a healthy and fun life. I read the other day that people that garden a lot tend to have more sex. Hey, I think if anything gets you laid more often, it's a good thing! But besides that, I have really been enjoying myself so much this past few months. To sit out on the deck in the cool of the morning, sipping hot tea, listening to the birds. To build things for me or create objects that I know others will enjoy having in their lives. To take time out and have some fun, go on a little trip, see some new sites. To have the time to spend with friends for fun or if they are in need. That is why I choose this.
I'm sure I have left some stuff out; there are multitudes of advantages in a simple life. I guess mainly, is I would hate to come to the end of my time and see that I was so preoccupied with what Wal-Mart had on sale every week that I never actually looked around and saw my life. That I never saw the neighbor that I could have helped or the flowers that I was stomping on to get to the car to go shopping once again. To know then that my life had revolved around things, stupid, worthless things, would be Hell to me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Busy Bee

Well, looks like I've let time get away from me again. Allen called the other night to see if I had been sick since I had not posted in a while. Not sick, just run like crazy! I finally got up a list of galleries that I wanted to visit last week, in an effort to start moving more pottery and art. Many of the old galleries I used to show with have gone out of business so I had to find some new. So, I packed up some stuff and headed to town, intent on staying all day if I had to in order to find new venues. It was an interesting experience. It is both flattering and a bit disconcerting to go into a gallery and have them say, 'yes, we've heard of you; we would like to carry your work'. I stopped after 4 places because I realized I needed to get home and start throwing! I had some stuff already made but need quite a bit more to satisfy their requirements. One gallery wants to carry only my dinnerware and one place is just coffee mugs and another wants more "art" type pieces.
By the way, the orders that have been placed by you folks are still in the front of the line. I fired last night and will glaze fire soon.

Been working in the garden too. Pulled up most of the cabbage that went to seed and replaced with more broccoli and bok choy. Also, got my zucchini and yellow squash in the ground that I had started form seed. We had a lot of rain last week, then a beautiful weekend, then more storms Monday and now pretty weather again. Everything seems to be growing well.

I really hope the garden does well this year, what with the price of food going up like it is.

Chicken house is making slow progress. I took time over the weekend to lay the block before the rains came on Monday. I just need to fill it now to start framing. Jack is making good progress on the fencing for the run.

And I try to make some time as often as I can for this. However, the other day I had been especially busy and had just ignored Chigger all day. I had finally come inside to start supper and I heard the most pitiful moaning and whining coming from outside. I looked out and poor Chigger was sitting by the deck, looking up into the window with her frisbee in her mouth and just crying pitifully. It was almost dark but I went back out and threw it for her until we just couldn't really see anymore. That seemed to make her happy. She's a real sweet dog.
Okay, time to get back to work!