Tuesday, May 08, 2012
I've been promising to put up a few pictures to show Ed what really red soil looks like around here, as compared to the soil of my land and since I've taken a vow to Jack to actually stay off my bad foot as much as possible in an effort to get it to heal, I figured today was a good day for posting. My foot is somewhat better by the way, but I really have had to take drastic measures to get it to heal all the way. The new shoes and inserts and supplements and all the other stuff you nice people have suggested is working I think but I've also gone as far as to use crutches now whenever possible to just stay completely off my foot.
Anyway; back to my original story. The photo above is from a job I was on south of Birmingham. Now, some of you may know that Birmingham was once a significant steel manufacturing town. The Pittsburgh of the South! so they say. Well, this was due, in great part, to the large deposits of iron ore that lay across the middle section of the state. Red Mountain in the heart of Birmingham really is red.
And this is a chunk of ground iron ore that came from about 50 feet below the surface of Red Mountain. Many, many years ago I was on a job being built right on top of the mountain and the building had an elevator installed in it. The guys drilled a large hole down into the mountain for the hydraulic shaft of the elevator to fit in and every time they would bring the drill bit up, which was huge, I would clean the slurry off of it to save. It was almost pure iron ore and makes a great colorant for ceramic glazes and clay. Of course, this isn't really soil but this mineral is what gives that famed red clay of the south it's color.
There is actually a local clothing company, Earth Creations, that sells organically grown cotton clothing that has been dyed with this iron ore. And yes, it will stain your hands and clothes and everything you get it on!
I still use the ore in some of my glazes and such and it's a great selling point when you tell people about it.
I also promised to show the birthday present Jack bought for me at the art show I did a couple of weeks ago and since it is predominantly red, I thought it fit right in with this post! It's a very nice watercolor done by an artist from Tennessee and will be very appropriate hanging in a southern kitchen, I think.