Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happiness Is A Warm Kiln

If that is true I must be deliriously content right about now!  Over the past few days the kiln hasn't often even cooled completely before I start another firing.  I am reaching the completion of these corporate orders though, so this breakneck pace should be slacking off soon.  I've got it all thrown and mostly bisque fired.  Now, just to glaze and fire the final time.  The lady that runs the gift shop at the State Capital building in Montgomery contacted me recently and wants to carry my pottery there also, so I've been trying to get that order together too.

I've got to have 150 of these little things.  Luckily they are easy and quick to throw.  And yes, I'll make pretty good money on all these orders.  They are a sure paycheck too, whereas a lot of stuff I make is done purely on speculation and consignment. 

So, it's all stacking up and getting ready to be delivered next week.  The bottles to the right are for olive oil/ vinegar or whatever.  They get a little chrome spout that makes pouring not a catastrophe. I only had to make 50 of these.

You can see Chigger and Callie are serious about the business of cheering me on.  Little craps.  They are only concerned with the warmth coming out of that stove.  The bed is big enough for both of them but Chigger will often let Callie have the whole thing.

In a bit of real excitement though, we got our first pullet egg from the young girls today!  As it is a white egg I know it was laid by one of the Brown Leghorns.  I figured they would be the first.  Hopefully, full time production will begin soon!  30 chickens right now and we only get one egg a day!  Several of them have finished their molt so they are just being stubborn and holding out on us. LOL!  Strong little Scooter soldiers on though, laying that one egg every day almost.  Poor thing; I wish the feathers could grow back on her head but I guess she's destined to always look extremely pissed off.

I had to work through Thanksgiving but we did manage a small meal that evening and we had Fred and Allen come down to share it with us.  It wasn't fancy but the whole meal was raised/ produced here on this land and I was very thankful for that.  Well, except for that pie.  And the ice cream.  But that's okay.

Well, I know ya'll are getting tired of my pottery so I'll try to find something else to write about next time.  Of course, the holidays are always fodder for rants but I've done that a number of times already.  So, we'll see.  Maybe I can come up with a story of some type.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So Much More

 My days and nights are blurring all together at this point.  I am so very tired.

No Thanksgiving until maybe Saturday.  Doesn't look like much maybe but the kiln is full and running and the wet shelves full too.

I finally hit slightly over 150 of these little buggers.  Be glad to get them shipped off.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writer's Minor Holiday

After writing that I was going to really put an effort into posting more regularly, I know this is going to sound stupid, but I think I'm going to take a bit of a break from blogging, or maybe just post occasional photos.  I don't know if it's just my normal neurosis or what but there seems to be a very discernible lack of interest these days and unfortunately, this affects my interest in writing sometimes.  I think a lot of people are just really, really busy these days, having health issues or kinda burnt out on social media at the moment.

I am also extremely busy with pottery orders too, so this is an excuse to devote my time to that!  However, if anyone thinks they might like to order any pottery for holiday gifts please contact me as soon as you can and get your order in.  I hope to be caught up by the end of this month and maybe even have an Open House in December but I don't know if I'll manage that or not.

So, I leave you with pictures from my last firing, which came out well I thought.

If I complete any special projects in the house or garden I may post that but it doesn't really look like I'll have much time right now for anything but pots!

Are any of ya'll noticing or participating yourself in a reduction of cyber time?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Plant That Seed

Well, that last post got such an overwhelming response I thought I'd immediately post another dry-as-cracker juice essay on gardening!  Haha!  Oh, I'm just joking and being my normal pain in the butt self.  Don't worry, I'm not going to turn into one of those dreary, redneck doomers living in woodsy seclusion that hordes 50 cases of Spam and saves my underarm hair to stuff pillows with.
No, I just thought I'd try to do a few more cohesive posts about my planting methods, what we grow etc.  I've read several posts lately where the people were talking about how horrible gardening was and Oh!! the misery and disappointment when everything just failed miserably.  Year after year even!  Well, gardening can be frustrating sometimes, especially if you're trying to really make a dent in the amount of food you buy, but it's not that bad.  Most of my crops are fairly successful and I live in humidity/ fungus heaven.
 Nothing much bothers okra.  I had tried different methods of drying the okra seeds and nothing seemed to work very well though.  I had tried cutting off large pods and air drying and then cutting off large pods and heat drying.  Every time the seeds would be shrively and puny.  Not good.  This year I let them grow as big as they would but leave them ON the plant.  Just leave them until they dry themselves right there in the field.

Worked great!  These seeds are all very robust and healthy.  No shrively, black things!  Yea!!  Now we just wrench open the pods and store the seeds in plastic pouches.  You can put them in the freezer but I just store mine all in a box in a cool, dark place.

The garden is doing well and I finally got it all mulched.  I made a great discovery on what to use for the walking paths in the garden.  I had one roll of silt fence left over from when we built the driveway, so I took that and pulled all the wooden stakes off of it and then split the roll in half longways.  This took a while as the rolls are about 100 feet long.  Silt fence is just that black plastic looking stuff you see there.  It's pretty sturdy but allows water to flow through it easily.  They sell a similar material at gardening shops for A LOT.  It's basically silt fence.  I got Steve to bring me some more off a job so mine was free but I don't think it costs too much if you buy it from a construction supply.  Plus, you get some wooden stakes you can pull off to use elsewhere!
Anyway, my strips were about 18" wide, so they fit right between rows and I mulch over the edges.  I did make some little pins out of some scrap wire to kinda peg it in place. 

We mulch the plants with wheat straw that comes out of the chicken coop, so it's got poop and all built right in!  Now, I usually let it set for a week or so to kinda mellow a little, then just distribute around the plants.  The rain washes the poopy into the soil and then later it all gets tilled in and the soil gets richer.  I hand dug my garlic area the other day to get it ready for planting and man!!  there was some big ol' wormies jumping everywhere!  I think that was the most earthworms I've ever dug up in this garden.  That makes me so happy because that's a sure fire way to tell the soil is improving.  It has been raining, thankfully, the past couple of days so that project is on hold but that's great!  We really needed the rain.
Well, off to bed because I've got to get a good start on pottery making tomorrow.  Got to throw it into mega production mode!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Into The Groove

Hey Everybody!  Well, once again I did not mean to be away so long but it's a busy season right now.  I was up late last night glazing pottery and then starting the firing and then up early to catch it as it reached temperature.  If I start the firing about 10:00 p.m. I can let it climb all night and then get up around 6:00 a.m. to check the cone and shut it down.  Unfortunately last night I forgot to set the clock in the bedroom back an hour, so I got up at 5:00!  Crap!!  Not really going to be able to get back to sleep either, knowing I must get up again in less than an hour.  Oh well.  Firing like this helps heat the house too, on a cold night!  Might as well take advantage of it!

So, I tried to get the garden caught up today and succeeded for the most part.  Just need to plant the brussel sprouts now.  Hopefully I will get something out of them this year.  Last year they were a bust.
We've also been collecting and storing our seeds from this year and making plans for spring planting.  I've got to get more organized about that.

As you can see the girls are getting pretty big and mature. I caught 2 or 3 of them snooping around the laying boxes in the middle of the day.  This is very unusual so maybe they are getting close to starting egg production.  Most of the older girls are molting right now so we are getting like, one egg a day.  Sweet little, mangled Scooter is holding her own as our only layer right now.  We make sure to toss her an extra treat or two most days.

I really hope to get back to a more regular posting schedule soon and to focus on more informative or DIY posts.  Now, I'll still include some of my funny stories and goofy occurrences etc. because I think half of ya'll read just to see what crap I've gotten myself into now! lol!  That's okay.
I have just noticed lately, in making my blog rounds, that it seems that a number of the self-sufficiency, "green" type blogs have pretty much crapped out.  Even a few of the group type blogs, where they have 4 or 5 writers, have either shut down or simply don't write about anything in particular anymore.  Personally, I think it's due to the fact that many of the people that initially jump on the homesteading, DIY, conserving wagon don't realize how hard it can be, don't realize how much society will make you feel deprived and stupid, so they get tired and give up. 

Well, we haven't given up and in fact, are doing more than ever, so I want to encourage more people to try it also, where they can.  We can't all own 100 acre farms and have totally solar powered homes but we can all do something.  If it's something that concerns us, and there are LOTS of things that concern me about our world.  I'm really going to try to get back to posting more food and recipes too.

I've noticed also, that I have a few new followers, so if anybody has any questions about our gardening, animals, employment, the house or whatever, please feel free to ask!