Sunday, August 31, 2008

Journal: Sunday, 8/31/08

FriendFeed      Clothes Washed:  Jo washed a load of clothes and hung them out on the clothesline to dry.  Rusty and Bucket helped. The dogs consider hanging out the clothes with Jo one of their jobs and get very upset if she forgets to let them help. The clothesline is only about 30 feet from the house and in an area the dogs visit several times every day, but for some reason this chore is special for them. 

1:00 PM - Comment

Tumblr:  End of an Era: The Old Hippie Bus Finds A New Home
End of an Era:  The Old Hippie Bus Finds A New Home
The old hippie bus has a new home.  Maybe it will be restored (doubtful).  Maybe it will be scavenged for parts (possible).  Maybe it will continue its life as a yard ornament, parked and deteriorating in someone’s yard as it has done here for the past twenty years (probable).

There was a time when the 1964 VW transporter was used for daily transportation.  I drove it to work.  We took it on a vacation.  We made a couple of trip from Houston to Arkansas.  The VW was even more dependable in Arkansas where I could almost always find a slope to park it on.  Having the option of a rolling, clutch-popping start was always a good idea.  Its old 6-volt electrical system often refused to crank the starter.

We stopped driving the bus when it lost fourth gear.  First, it started popping out of gear every once and a while.  The frequency of pop-outs increased over time and finally keeping it in forth proved impossible.  I made one last trip to town using third as the VW’s top gear when our other vehicle broke down and I needed a replacement part. Despite good intentions of replacing the transaxle with a junkyard unit and getting the VW back on the road again, it never left the yard again — until today.

The same fellow who bought the VW — the UPS driver for this area — also bought my old 1966 GMC pickup.  We drove the pickup for several years and even used it for doing a few of our early shows.  The GMC wasn’t a good show vehicle, though.  It’s cargo space wasn’t large enough and we couldn’t cover the bed well enough to keep the boxes of pottery dry.  We replaced the GMC with a van for doing art fairs and retired it from highway use completely when the front end came to need major (i. e. expensive) repairs.  We intended to keep the Jimmy running and use it for trips to the mailbox, harvesting firewood and other jobs on and around our place.  This we did for a couple of years, but eventually the hassle of keeping a third vehicle running led to the GMC becoming a yard ornament too.

So two of our three non-running vehicles are gone.  (We still have a 1968 MGB for which we need to find a buyer.)  For daily transportation we depend upon our late model 1983 Nissan pickup and a 3/4-ton Econoline van of the same vintage.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Journal: Saturday, 8/30/08  Posted a message on
10:30 AM

Fotonomy : Marvin's photos : Mushrooms
Recent rains and warm temps led to a fungi population boom, but they are fading fast as hotter, drier conditions prevail.

1:00 PM

Fotonomy : Marvin's photos : Greener Pasture
PM Walk:  Thanks to the rains we received earlier this month, the grasses are a lot greener than normal for the end of August. In a normal year, even the poison ivy has turned brown and shriveled up by now.
4:30 PM

The cucumbers I planted died -- probably as a result of the wilt disease carried by squash bugs.  However this plant that came up in the strawberry bed is doing just fine so far.  I really have no idea how a cucumber seed got into the strawberry bed.

Late this afternoon I did a little mowing followed by working in the garden.  I picked blister beetles off some tomato and potato plants and got a bed edged.  I also did a little watering for the first time in a couple of weeks.  The garden isn't drying out as badly as it would were the temperatures hotter, but I pulled mulch back in a few places and the soil underneath seem dry to me.  Mulch is great for holding moisture in the bed, but the grass clipping mulch like we use can also shed rainwater and keep the beds from getting watered during a rain shower.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Journal: Sunday, 8/24/08

Mostly cloudy and hazy.  How many little scattered showers will roam across us today?  80F (26C) @ 11 AM.

Clouds have blotted out the sun.  It looks as if we may get sprinkled upon again.  82F (27C) @ Noon

Jo has been taking photos of her pottery so she will have them available for  show promotional literature, show applications, our website, etc.  These little extruded and altered bud vases are a new item for Jo.  

A friend and fellow potter says humans have produced functional pottery for so long everything truly original has already been created.  Everything made by functional potters these days is just a variation on someone else's idea.  He is probably right.

Forty drops of rain, but skies still threatening. Nothing much on the radar, though.  86F (30C) @ 2 PM

Anyone need some dishwater -- slightly used but still containing an over abundance of suds?  I accidentally applied a SUPER SQUIRT of concentrated liquid dish soap instead of using the diluted solution.  Sudsy to the max.

More of the fungi growing on the dead hickory tree in our yard.  The tree died a couple of years back.  I really should cut it down before it falls down.  Right now the dead hickory is serving as the center support for the clothesline.
I've been hesitant to tackle felling the hickory because I'm not sure if I can make it fall where I want.  Of course, if it falls down during a thunderstorm or icing event, it probably isn't going to fall where I want either.  Having a bucket truck so I could limb the tree first would be nice.  I just don't feel comfortable tree climbing with a chainsaw.

A 30-minute walk up the road and back took over an hour because we stopped to photograph so many wildflowers and bugs.  81F (27C) @ 5 PM

A little work on the electric fence around the garden.  The wire tying the four strands together broke.  Top two strands weren't HOT.

All summer I've been mowing around a passionflower vine growing in the yard out from the basement door.  It has finally bloomed.  All of the passionflowers I've found growing around our place have been mostly white with only a hint of purple.  This one has the most purple color I've found here.

Mowed  in the garden during late PM.  Very little accomplished before dark-thirty.  Shorter days are going to force me to alter my schedule because I'm not getting out into the garden soon enough to get anything accomplished before it gets dark.  Could it be that I must give up my afternoon nap?

Weather Summary:  86/73 ... not enough rain to measure ... skies varied back and forth from partly to mostly cloudy during the day.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Journal: Saturday, 8/23/08

Midnight: Started another glaze firing.

3:00 AM: Back over to the studio to close the kiln lid. Firing going okay.

The last of the Joe Pye weed for this summer. Most of it has already bloomed out.

4:00 AM: Tried to make a blog post, but had so many problems I deleted everything and went to bed.

Weather is trying to sneak back into being summer again. Partly cloudy and 81º @ 10:30 AM.

Jo hung washed clothes up out on the clothesline. Now the sky is darkening and I hear thunder. 82º @ 11:30 AM.

Jo unhung the washing that was on the clothesline. She no doubt insured that this little shower will go around us. 78º @ Noon

A very brief shower. Just enough to get the grass wet. Looks as if Jo actually needed to get those clothes off the line. Still overcast so there may be more rain, but I can hear the thunder moving away. 75º @ 12:40

I'm not sure if this is a fungi or a slime mold. Whatever it is, it's been enjoying the warm and moist conditions we've been experiencing lately. It and other fungi are growing well on the dead hickory tree in the yard.

NOAA radar shows another band heading down from Missouri -- nothing severe, just wet. Jo hung the wet clothes up on the porch. Not all would fit. The rest she put on a rack next to the wood stove -- not that we're going to be using the stove any time soon, but there is room for them there. 79º @ 2 PM

No more rain (yet) since around noon. Partly cloudy skies with temperature and mugginess on the rise. 85º @ 3 PM

Just like a couple of Arkies to have clothes hanging on the porch. When this photo was taken, the sun was shining brightly. The clothes should have been hanging on the clothes line. However, for some strange reason, Jo didn't want to spend her day moving clothes back and forth whenever a little shower happened along.

Rain began falling again just as we headed out on our afternoon walk, another little isolated thundershower. NOAA radar showed a tiny little dot sitting atop us, and no other rain in the area. 85º @ 4 PM

Back to being partly cloudy, but the grass is too wet for mowing again today. 81º @ 6 PM

Weather Summary: 87/74 ... .2" rain ... mostly to partly cloudy skies with occasional periods of overcast during the little showers.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Journal: Friday, 8/22/2008

Midnight:  Weather conditions about the same:  Mostly cloudy to light rain falling off and on.

2:00 AM:  One of those little rain showers just came through.

5:00 AM:  How did it get to be this late already.  Way past time for going to bed.

10:00:  Mostly cloudy and hazy this morning.  It looks as if the weather is going to try for a few days of muggy.  79º

Out in the garden the garlic chives are beginning to bloom.

Noon:  Mugginess "progressed" to actual rain.  Could hear thunder in the distance.  I had a look at the NOAA radar.  One little isolated thunderstorm was over us.  There was no line of storms on the way.  I decided that I didn't need to bother unplugging the computer.  As soon as I made that decision a simultanious flash of lightning and crash of thunder occured -- very close.  I revised my decision and quickly hibernated and unplugged the computer.  Of course, that proved to be the one and only flash of lightning nearby.

2:00 PM:  Rain over.  .5" out of that little thundershower.  Skies cleared to partly cloudy again.  83º

Believe it or not, there are wire tunnels under these peas.  Obviously, the tunnels are no good for keeping the peas confined.  The Souther Peas are growing well, but have yet to bloom.

4:00 PM:  Our routine walk up to the gate.

6:00 PM:  I thought I might get to do some mowing today, but after that mid-day shower, the grass was just too wet.

The wild plums are getting very close to being ripe.  The pulp is sweet and flavorful, but the skin will still cause your mouth to pucker.

Weather Summary:  85/73 ... .5" rain ... mostly cloudy to occasionally partly cloudy or overcast... mid-day shower ... very muggy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Journal: Thursday, 8/21/08

Midnight: Started a glaze firing for Jo. Actually, the kiln is programed to start the firing
automatically. All I do is start the exhaust fan and take an electric meter reading. Jo keeps track of how many KW are used for each firing.

Jo's been putting off this firing for a couple of days because thunderstorms were in our weather forecast. Losing electricity at the wrong time could ruin this load of pots. Rain continues in our forecast, but the chance of storms looks small, so she decided to risk the firing tonight.

3:00 AM: Went back over to the studio and closed the lid on Jo's kiln. During the early part of the firing the lid is left open slightly so that the fumes emitted by the glazes as they heat can escape.

The rain has stopped again for the time being.

Pandorus Sphinx Moth posted on Nature in the Ozarks.

4:00 AM: Bedtime. Jo washed the dogs' bedding, but our rain and overcast skies prevented it from getting dry. Jo substituted an old towel inside the dogs' crates. Our problem child, Bucket, didn't want to go the bed because the old towel did not meet with her approval. 70º

10:00 AM: Light rain and drizzle continue. Another .9" of rain in the gauge since this time yesterday. That makes a total of 2.4" since this session of rain began. 73º

10:45 AM: OMG! The sun just broke through the clouds, a very brief glimpse of sunshine.

Noon: That bit of sunshine earlier was just a tease, and not even very much of one of those. Have seen no more sun.

Kiln fired okay. Jo is holding it at upper temperature for a while and then will slowly reduce the temperature before letting the kiln begin fully cooling.

2:00 PM: This could be just another tease, but the sun really seems to be breaking through the clouds now.

3:00 PM: Another very brief shower followed by the sun again. Our temperature is slowly beginning to climb and it's getting a little steamy.

5:00 PM: Skies continuing on a trend toward partly cloudy. Took our afternoon walk up to the gate. Non-threatening enough that I took the camera along. I'm glad I did because we found a terrific dung pile just teeming with insect life.

7:00 PM: Jo made a trip up to the main county road. She'd ordered a pair of shoes that were being shipped via UPS. The UPS tracking site said they'd been delivered, but we hadn't receive the package. That generally means that the UPS driver has left the package with our neighbors instead of bringing it all the way down to the house. Sure enough, Jo's package was at the B's house.

The B's also had a stray dog they were trying to find a good home for. It was a long-haired dachshund, not your typical country stray. Jo said it was very cute. I'm sure it was, but Jo knows as well as I that with our two dogs we already have about one-and-a-half dogs too many.

The dogs' bedding hanging out on the porch finally got dry today. I'm sure Bucket will be glad to have her crate furnished more to her liking tonight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Journal: Wednesday, 8/20/08

Midnight: Rain. Tuesday was overcast all day and looked as if it could start raining at any minute. The rain held off until midnight, though.

2:30 AM: Rain continues. So far, just a nice and gentle rain.

4:30 AM: It must be bedtime since I keep dozing off at the keyboard. Still raining. 70F (21C).

10:30 AM: Gentle rain still falling. Only 1.5” so far, but it’s had a chance to soak into the ground instead of running off down the creek. 69ºF (20ºC)

Jo has a big cast iron pot of black beans cooking on the stove.

12:30 PM: Fully caffinated now. Time to move on to my next exciting agenda item: Bathing the dogs.

3:00 PM: Bucket and Rusty bathed and the mess from bathing them cleaned up. Jo washed all their bedding too, but I don't see how it's going to get dry since our solar clothes drier is not working at all well today.

4:00 PM: Overcast skies and light drizzle off and on during the PM, but we were able to take our routine walk up the road to the gate and back. We only got a little damp.

8:00 PM: Moderate rain falling again.

11:30 PM: Rain continued for a couple of hours, but I haven't made a trip out to the rain gauge yet.

Weather Summary: 74/68 ... 1.5 rain ... overcast with rain or drizzle all day.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Surprise Lily

(Photo by Jo -- 8/16/08)

Surprise Lily (Naked Lady)



Monday, August 11, 2008

Bear Creek Valley

Low clouds filled Bear Creek Valley when we left for Fayetteville last Friday. We were above the clouds up here on the ridge of Star Mountain. Too bad we couldn't find a place without a fence from which to photograph the valley. (Photo by Jo.)



Saturday, August 9, 2008

Polk Berries in the Fog

It was still a little foggy when we headed out on Friday (8/8/08) on a day full of running errands and picking up some clay for Jo over in Fayetteville. The polk berries are growing along the side of our road out (among many, many places). All the spider webs were covered with dew and beginning to glisten in the morning sun. It would have been a great morning for wandering around and getting my shoes totally soaked while photographing spider webs. Unfortunately, I had no time for that.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Unloading the Kiln

Jo found the remote shutter thingy and decided to photograph herself unloading the kiln after a glaze firing.