Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Whatever #4: Funky Chicken

Funky Chicken

(Found hiding behind a log pile at a friend's house.)


Saturday, December 26, 2009

High-fructose Corn Syrup Rocks!

Pecan Pie
by Jo.

Mess cleaned up and dishes washed
by Marvin.

Pecan pies are my most favorite form of high-fructose corn syrup indulgence.  Fortunately, Jo has the self-discipline necessary to refrain from baking a pecan pie more than once or twice a year.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garden 2009: Jo Weeding Our Strawberries

Jo weeding a strawberry bed.
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 11/7/09)

It may be late fall.
The temperatures are cooler.
The days are shorter.
All the trees' leaves are on the ground.
But the weeds are still growing.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Garden 2009: Broccoli

Broccoli we're raising and planning to butcher and eat for Thanksgiving dinner.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Garden 2009: First Frost in the Fall Garden

Fall Garden 2009: Our first frost was this morning (10/18/09) so Jo and I covered the wire hoops over our fall garden bed with plastic. Around mid-day Jo opened up the ends of the tunnel so everything inside wouldn't be cooked by today's full sunshine.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza for supper. Both pizza and photo by Jo.


Like many folks in the southern and eastern U. S., we'd really like to see some sunshine. Maybe a little on Saturday and more on Sunday, they say.

Wednesday was overcast and damp with a high temperature in the mid-sixties. We got a very little bit of rain in isolated showers early Thursday morning. After warming some during the early morning hours, the temperature fell slowly all day, bottoming out down around fifty degrees at midnight. Overcast all day. North wind started kicking up some during the evening.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Art in the Park, Springfield, MO

We set up under gray skies, but the rain had stopped and the ground was firm enough to drive on.

Friday, 10/9/09:

Rain began a little after midnight on Friday. A brief thunderstorm forced me off the computer, but mostly we experienced steady rain through the early morning hours. There was 2.3" inches in the rain gauge by the time we awoke.

The geese didn't object to the wet weather.

As expected, we finished loading the van in the rain, taking about an hour longer than usual. It was nine o'clock by the time the four of us pulled away from the house and headed for Springfield. We made a couple of stops in Marshall and one shopping stop in Harrison (AR), finally made it to the motel in Springfield a little before two o'clock. We drove in rain most of the way. After staying at the motel only long enough to unload our personal items and replenish our coffee supply, we headed out to Sequiota Park to set up.

Galloway Creek flows through Sequiota Park. It's usually dry when we do this show.

We expected the worst at the park -- standing water and/or not being able to drive to our booth to unload -- but were pleasantly surprise that neither of those events occurred. We didn't even need to set up our booth on the ratty old carpet we'd taken just in case. The temp remained chilly and the skies overcast, but no more rain fell during set up. After getting the canopy and fixtures erected and the merchandise unloaded, Jo and I grabbed our "big city shopping list" and patronized a few local retailers.

The playground side of the park was still holding a lot of water when we arrived on Friday. We were afraid the show side might look like this too. Locals said water was standing on part of the show site Thursday evening, but fortunately the tide had gone out by Friday afternoon.

Saturday, 10/10/09:

Saturday dawned clear and cold. There was frost on the van windshield. There was also frost on the canopy, both inside and outside. When the temperature warmed a little, we had rain inside the canopy as the condensate defrosted and dripped. A few clouds moved in mid-morning, but the day remained mostly sunny. Unfortunately, folks didn't turn out in droves to enjoy the sunshine and artwork. This is a small show and the crowd/sales have never been really great, but this year both were a little below average for some reason.

Friday sunset over the Wal-Mart parking lot. The overcast was beginning to break up.

Saturday evening we went over to a friends house along with several other artists and enjoyed some good food and great company.

Saturday blue sky and sunshine. Unfortunately, the crowd of shoppers was a little thin.

Sunday, 10/11/09:

We used up most of our sunshine allotment on Saturday. Sunday was forecast to be partly cloudy, but we saw a lot more clouds than sunshine. Sales were again below par.

The railroad track runs within a few feet of the outside booths. Fortunately, only one train traveled those tracks all weekend. I was told that about all this section of track is used for is supplying one of Springfield's power plants with coal.

Normally, we stay over Sunday night after packing up and head home Monday morning. However, because this show was relatively close to home, we'd decided to drive home Sunday evening. Having all our personal stuff and food cache already in the van really extended packing up. Having two large dog crates didn't help either. Everything had to be pulled out of the van so we could load the canopy, fixtures and merchandise. Once those items were loaded, everything else had to be reloaded. Handling the same items twice certainly slows things down. By the time we got everything loaded, the show organizers were prodding us to hurry so they could lock the park gate behind us and go home.

Jo and I and the dogs arrived home around eleven o'clock Sunday night. We unloaded the bare necessities from the van and went to bed.

Another period of overcast, drizzle, fog and/or rain has descended upon the Ozarks

Monday and Tuesday:

Overcast and drizzle on Monday. We managed to get the van unloaded anyway. Rain on Tuesday. A total of 2.1" the last time we checked the rain gauge. Funky weather is forecast to continue at least through Thursday.  Neither Jo nor I has waded out to the garden since returning home.  We had our first fire of the season in the wood stove Monday evening.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, 10/8/09

Today's weather certainly wasn't what we expected it to be. We had a 100% chance of rain and thundershowers were supposed to start early this morning, but rain never happened. The morning was overcast, but there was a fair amount of blue sky around this afternoon. The photo above was taken up by the gate on our afternoon walk.

Since we'd already gotten the van mostly loaded in anticipation of the rain, today was pretty much of a piddly sort of day.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cutting A Rug

Jo and I are doing an art fair in Sequiota Park in Springfield, MO, this weekend. Heavy rains are predicted for the area over the next couple of days. Even if we get lucky and the rain stops over the weekend, the show site is likely to be a total quagmire little muddy. Jo came up with the idea of setting our booth up on an old piece of carpet. That should help it from becoming a mud hole. And, we just happened to have an old carpet on hand. All it needed was trimming to size. It would be better if the colors and pattern of the carpet were more subtle, but it should get the job done.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Setting Up Jo's Booth In St. Louis

Jo does an excellent job of setting up her booth -- and with very little supervision. Actually, I helped erect the canopy, unloaded the shelving and will help with other tasks when Jo's finished with the shelving. The shelves will hold her pottery and must be set up and leveled to her satisfaction. It's best if I just stay out of the way and let her get the shelves set up the way she wants them.


Tuesday, 10/6/09:

Rain off and on all day -- mostly just drizzle and light rain, no downpours or thunderstorms in our area. A total of a little more than a half inch of rain. The rain finally stopped and our skies began clearing during the late evening. Wednesday is forecast to be sunny. However, by Thursday this weak cool front is supposed to turn around and return as a warm front, bringing a couple of days of rain back into our area. Loading on Thursday and leaving on Friday is liable to be messy. High = 68°F/20°C. Low = 55°F/13°C.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What's Your Sign? --- #1

No parking sign for monthly street sweeping, I suppose. Taken at the Shaw Art Fair on Flora Place in St. Louis, MO.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Big Bird

Big Bird, a turkey track, no doubt.

Thursday, 10/1/09:

An all around funky day: Overcast, strong south wind and misty, but the thunderstorms forecast for afternoon and evening never materialized. New cool front moved through late in the evening and clear the weather for the weekend.

The van is loaded and Jo and I are heading up to St. Louis for an art fair.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Monday, 9/28/09:

I left the mower fully gassed and ready to go while I took my afternoon break, but no one came along to finish the mowing. I had to complete the job myself. The garden area is mowed. The garden takes as long to mow as all the rest of our yard put together. There are so many obstructions to mow around or move -- then, there's the narrow strip between the electric fence and barbed wire fence. Mowing in a confined area in the proximity of barbed wire almost always results in bleeding.

Cooler and dryer today. The temperature only made it up to 80°F/27ºC and the relative humidity hovered around 50%. When the sun started setting, the temperature dropped rapidly and was down to 52°F/11ºC by midnight. Walking over to the studio to start a kiln firing was kind of chilly in my t-shirt and cutoffs.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Jimson Weed Seedpod

Jimson Weed seed pod.

From Wikipedia: Datura stramonium, known by the common names jimson weed, angel's trumpet, devil's weed, thorn apple, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, datura, moonflower, and, in South Africa, malpitte and mad seeds is, along with Datura metel (zombie cucumber), a common weed in the Solanaceae (the nightshade family). It contains tropane alkaloids that are sometimes used as a hallucinogen. The active ingredients are atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. Due to the elevated risk of overdose in uninformed users, many hospitalizations, and some deaths, are reported from recreational use.

Sunday, 9/27/09:

Sunday was another good day for being outside. I mowed again. With any luck, I might be able to finish the garden area tomorrow. Jo finished weeding our fall garden bed.

During the evening, I replaced the washing machine supply hoses. The hose on the hot water side sprang a leak while Jo was washing this morning. (A good reminder that one really should shut off the washing machine water supply valves when leaving on a trip.) I also replace the top thermostat on our hot water heater. Most of the time, it worked fine, but every once in a while the water coming out of our hot water heater was way too hot.

Another cold front is on the way down. It's approach caused a moderately gusty south wind and rapidly rising temperatures today. The temp climbed all the way up to 86°F/30°C and was still 77°F/25°C at midnight. The approaching front is not forecast to be dry.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Beautiful Saturday

We're on a roll: Two beautiful fall days in a row.

Our skies clouded up some during the middle of the afternoon, but cleared again by sunset. Jo did some weeding in our fall garden bed in addition to unloading her kiln, glazing pots and getting the kiln loaded for a glaze firing. I cranked up the lawnmower. Mowing was slow going out in the garden due to the tall grass that was still damp. I had to set my mower up to cut as high as it would cut and make one pass -- then, lower to the normal level and mow again. Having to use that method meant I didn't nearly get finished mowing the garden. I did also mow the clothesline area where the grass was neither as tall nor as damp.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Zinnia Jungle

Here at season's end our zinnias are beginning to look a little tired, but are still producing a few new bloom. Every year the zinnias reseed themselves. Of course, they don't always sprout exactly where we want them, but we let as many grow as possible. In the beginning of the season, I try to keep them contained and keep the path between beds open, but by season's end they've multiplied, grown tall, fallen over and have become a zinnia jungle.

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A pair of sheep were in the pen next to the kiln at the Ozark Folk Center when we fired the kiln. (I have no idea what breed they are.) They didn't seem to mind that we kept them up all night, but I doubt they appreciated the numerous jokes made about roast mutton.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Garden 2009: Fall Garden

We planted a small fall garden for the first time in several years. It's doing well, but we're getting way behind with routine garden upkeep because our weather has been so wet. There are places where water is still standing out in the garden.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Groundhog Kiln Firing #5

John and Jo are preparing to start the warming fires in the three air intake ports at the front of the kiln. John appears momentarily distracted by an interesting newspaper article.

Kai does the honors of lighting the first fire.

Jo takes her turn at fire lighting.

John helps the fire along.

Once the fires in the air intake ports are going, John bricks up the kiln door.

After the fires in the air intake ports have warmed the kiln and built up a few coals, we'll start adding wood to the firebox which is right behind them.

While the cones ultimately determine the progress of the firing, a pyrometer is useful for getting a quick look at what's going on inside the kiln. We had pyrometers taking temperature reading at various locations in the kiln.  This is the temperature not long after the fires were started around 11:00 AM on Saturday.

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