Friday, January 24, 2014

it's January ...........

Heat wave!  A high of 5 F. today!  Break out the Fat-kini!  We have been polar punched so many times  we are dingy.  Never hearing the phrase polar vortex in my 60 years, I can sprinkle it in any sentence, including recipes.  

A normal January is respite time, hibernating, reading, garden planning and quiet.  Well the poles must be shifting because there is no more normal!  Indeed I ran around the backyard this morning doing morning chores and didn't realize I had my long johns on inside out until I put my jeans on!  

Cannot get the studio above 52 F.  But stuff is getting done.  Moving at the speed of old dog looking for a place to poop on a cold winter morning.  

 Although I am becoming accustomed to throwing in a hat and bulky sweater I have almost killed myself sitting on a heating pad!  The cord is just killer so I nixed the heating pad and went for the Ohio Spa treatment.  Fill an old wool sock with rice and left over garden lavender.  Stitch the end shut and microwave for 1 minute.  Heaven!  Why would anyone want hot stones when you can have a rice sock on your neck or face? 

Besides we can't even get to a spa! 

Eating their way through the garden, the deer have emptied the bird feeder every night.

Polar blue skies!

The chickens are cooped up.  They kick up a fuss around 7 a.m, this morning I slide breakfast into the coop as they were not coming out!  Happy to say laying has resumed, the girls are up to three eggs a day! 

January is time for reflection and no matter how crazy it gets there is still time for reflection. 
This little junco hit the window late Wednesday morning.  We all ran out to see what the explosion was that hit the window.  We held the little guy while he expired in our hands.  We had a beer and waited for him to come back to life.  We told stories about animals who had entered the Miller zone in the past, finished our beer but after an hour realized this little ball of fluff had seen his last sunrise.  We buried him at the base of the compost pile as it was the only loose earth we could find.  We had just sat Shiva for a junco..... 

The universe has a wonderful way of communicating if you want to listen....... Thursday morning my Mother in Law passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was 94 and had a great life.  Rachael only makes it home once a year and she is here now.  Abby and Rachael had time to visit with her Sunday; a real visit to sit, have tea and talk.  Rachael went back on Wednesday morning to visit a bit more before she headed off to Africa.  The timing was amazing and a bit mind boggling.  The Miller clan is descending on a frozen Ohio town on Lake Erie over the next few days.  The funereal will be next Tuesday, slated to be the coldest day of the year.  The stove is doing double time as is the cook.  Last fall when I was filling the freezer and basement I questioned why was I putting up so much food this year?  Most of the restaurants close down in the winter and there are going to be 30 people to feed.  It's all covered.......  The stories will be told, the beer we just bottled will be drunk and the freezer is going to be emptied.  We will gather in the house her father built for her and her new husband so many years ago.  There will be three generations, she kept track of each and everyone..... all the way to Beijing and Africa.   Quite a brood came from that little house on Walnut Blvd in Ashtabula. And although this has been so tough on my wonderful partner of over 30+ years the celebration will be EPIC.  As oldest kid said,  Mom we are gonna burn it down.  I think Ruth would love it ....... 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teapots are done and the Princess is Home.........

 and her cat.......

I have spent more time in the kitchen than a cook feeding the Prussian army.  They have consumed mass quantities of food and drink. Talking, lots of talking!  Conversation highlights thus far; fishing, snacks, hiking, gardening, feeding the world, feeding ourselves, cats, feeding the cat, beer, fishing, Mamacarts, Africa, and beer.  We have hiked, attended a fly fishing symposium, bottled 5 gallons of beer, and just had loads of fun.  We have not been to the grocery very much as the freezer and basement have really paid off!  Awesome!  

This is how we whip cream in Paine Falls on a 20 degree night when you just need a little more strawberry shortcake!  

And loads of hiking!  A day at Hidden Lake...

But alas life goes on and the teapots are done!  

Still working on this glaze but getting some pretty nice crystal development. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

January angst.........

It's January, the bills are due, the cable has been out for days due to storms and I am on my primo carb fast.  OK side note...... who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to beam crap through the cosmic ectoplasm into my tiny little house?  Honestly if one of the nut monkeys climbs on that turkey platter bolted to my house or a bird farts, the signal is lost.  Most of the time I am just fine with this glitch, especially after Gov. Chris Christy gave his 2 hour mea copa.  Once again Chris, it's not all about you I think it was about the people sitting on the bridge for 4 hours or the lady who died waiting for EMS.  The stuff in the bottom of slop bucket has more appeal than your apology.  

But hey we didn't "bundle" with the Direct Tv people so I still have internet....... lucky for you because I can still beam out to the blogosphere.

Yup, we had a bit of cold snap here or Al Roker says..... Polar Vortex, because COLD just isn't good enough anymore.  Once again our TV was out, leaving me to my own devices to discover just how really cold it was.  And is there an antonym for Vortex?  When the Vortex retreats will we be in a blow out?   

I filled a pie plate with grapefruit scented Dawn and ran outside in my jammies to blow frozen bubbles. Had to, because there was a time lag waiting for water to boil so I could throw it into the raw polar air, making ice clouds.  It was mind boggling awesome until I realized my bare feet in plastic crocs were frozen to the ground.  Not sure my neighbor, looking out her kitchen window is off the floor yet.   

 Besides bubbles, look at my frozen slop bucket!  

 How do critters survive in this weather?  The birds need grit for their gizzards and I found where they had dug up dirt next to the studio door.  They ate it and dust bathed in the sun, it was Key West! 

The brussel sprouts that never made it to the table.  The rabbit war ceased for a few days and I hung my Elmer Fudd hat on the back hook.  Running back and forth to the studio they don't ever dart away during the cold; we have a treaty this time of year, anything left in the garden is theirs. 

The shelves in the studio were pretty full, my joints had all but seized up, right along with my creativity.  By Wednesday the weather had lighten up a bit, the sun came out and I hit the trail with my camera!  And why does 6 degrees feel comfortable?

This reminded me to try shellac resist on porcelain.... 

I was so stagnant in the studio and there were so many ideas outside.
So much porcelain everywhere....... 

Deer pruning ...... could they at least prune both sides?  

I have been trying to get a photo of this red fox all winter.  

  I'm pretty sure this is how Bilbo found Mordor.... follow that deer trail, I did.......

The homeless guy has been industrious and bet he could sell this idea to Mother Earth News!   Insulated with leaves and now nailing up tree bark.  Looked pretty cozy. 
Called the city to see if this guy was OK.  Sheesh won't do that again!  Next time I will bake a bunt cake and just go knock on his door.  Was told by a council woman to think of my personal safety.  OK I think I would rather die in an icy river than behind a computer screen in a cubicle.  The guy living here probably feels the same way......  I expect an new city ordinance on hiking soon. 

He's got a great view! 

It was so beautiful I decided to run to the lake....

Today it's much warmer and the January thaw is on! 

Last night I paid bills, checked my clay supply and grumbled ....... a lot.  I run pretty close to the bone here, mostly because I want too and some because I have too.  I know I can't do anything else or want to do anything else (well maybe garden), been down that road and there were casualties!   There are always trade offs; the $50 I spent on cast iron probably should have gone for clay or the electric bill or a new kiln fund.  But then it made a darn fine pan of biscuits!  

  I still don't know if the guy in the cobbled together hut is ok or not.  There were fresh foot prints yesterday so I'm gonna say, yes.  The chickens had a heat lamp and water heater, this person has none of that.  I'm think'n I have more in common with the guy in the hut than anyone at city hall..... 

I have let show deadlines come and go.  I no longer wish to be on the road, now how to make a living at this thing called pottery.  Going to be an interesting year here in the Falls...... glad I saved bean seeds!
and so January goes.......   

Monday, January 6, 2014


Last weekend was a mini vacation.  Socked in the chickens with extra straw and wood shavings for the Arctic Blast and opened the fridge to warm the house. Yes, it's that cold!  After going a bit cabin crazy I decided to go junk'n.  I love junk'n.  Wandering the thrift shops and antique malls looking for who knows what.  Usually I come home empty handed as there just isn't much I need.  This weekend....... I was like a lottery winner on a binge.  Sheesh! 

I fell in love with this little bamboo fold down table.... $10....  had to have it! 
I am dreaming of coffee on the snow covered porch...... 

After setting a table for 12 on New's Years Eve I realized most of silverware had walked off somewhere over the last few years.  Loads of knives but forks and spoons are lacking. 
This old Bakelite and stainless silverware was $10 and looked really cool..... thought it would look great with hand thrown dishes.  The three on the end are from my Great Grandmas house!  
And who doesn't need another pearl handled pickled fork for 20 cents?  

Thought I was done until I found this great little plate for $2.

Anybody recognize the signature?  

Saturday night was spent wandering the aisles of Half Price Books.  Took a load of old books back to them, got a whole $2 for the load.  But then I really needed a chicken calendar, everybody needs a chicken calendar!  Great book on companion planting and a book I had never seen on preserving and pickling with terrific recipes. 

AND.... I am gonna need a 12 step program for cast iron cookware!  I love the stuff and have learned a bunch about what to buy and what not too buy.  Two 12" skillets, one 10" skillet and a square skillet (think bacon or pork chops!).  
So I paid $25 for all 4 pieces, that's $6.25 a pan!  They are in the last stretch of seasoning in the oven.  They cleaned up beautifully!  Two are Wagner's, happy dance!  One is a junk import, and one is not collectors but will be great to use!  

Found a Harvest Gold, West Bend heavy duty bunt pan for $2.  Now I can make that Rum Cake!  When I got home and totaled up, I stayed within my $50 budget and had a totally fun weekend!  Great break from the studio and life :) 

The chickens are I are splitting the sprouts.  We both need the greens and it's gonna be awhile until we see any grass........  mung beans, broc. and alfalfa for everyone!  

Stay warm!!