Monday, November 15, 2010

From the Homefront

My favorite November sight!

Hi Everyone,

I am back in wintry Wisconsin after a whirlwind trip to autumn-y NC. I spent a day helping Joe and Julie work on the kiln and a day (not long enough!) catching up with a few NC friends. I am really looking forward to having Joe back home, but my circle of wonderful friends has made sure I haven't been lonely here during his absence.

I did receive a few special requests for our blog while on the trip. Seems that some of you non-potters feel that we are a little too heavy on the pottery and a little too light on sharing what goes on outside of the studio. Because we aim to please, here a few pics of of early winter at Windy Ridge:

All of the lovely autumn leaves have blown away.
If you look closely, you can see the shrubs my mom found at a
nursery that was going out of business.
Not the best time for planting, but with a lot of mulch, I think they'll survive.

A few members of our roving de-mulching and egg production team
checking to see what's tasty today in the mulch around the fruit trees.

This picture was taken two weeks ago.
If you want to see these birdies, you'll have to come over for dinner!
One of the advantages of raising our broilers late in the year is that there
is an abundance of post-Halloween pumpkins available for them to eat.
I finished them on alfalfa, too, and I'm now waiting for a tasting report from our favorite foodies.

Charley is as sweet, loyal, and hungry (for whatever you are eating) as always.

Maggie is a joy. Her behavior and listening skills are much improved,
and she is turning into quite the trail running companion
when I can find enough time in these short winter days to run at Governor Dodge.

Charley and Maggie have been in full-on mouse hunting mode.
Our fire pit is one of their favorite stake-out spots.
Their persistence in the face of constant failure is...impressive!

The garden is pretty much done for the year.
I picked the remaining beets and chard yesterday as the winter's first snow started to fall.
The garlic is tucked in under a thick layer of straw, waiting for spring.

Just can't get through a post without a little clay news, right?

I am still testing my earthenware blends.

I am struggling to get what I want (a truly local clay with rich color and earthy texture)
and have the clay work adequately for functional pieces (not crack!)
My clay body uses a very high percentage of local clay, which has a very fine particle size.
I think I need to add more mid-sized particles to deal with the cracking,
but I'm not sure what to use that will keep my clay in line with my goals.

My newest plan is to beg a bucket or two of raw Yellow Banks (Indiana) clay
off of Mark Skudlarek and to see if our favorite What Cheer Potters might have a bit of central Iowa clay I could have for testing. I'll keep you updated as I continue to work through all of this.

I did have fun last week making Minoan-inspired earthenware coffee cups.

I'm off for a run-I"m going to have to fly to get 4 miles in before dark!


ang said...

hey christie nice one! it looks like a proverbial farm yard out there...
hope you get your clay blend sorted..
i added some lovely sand filled clay from over the road to my stoneware body and talk about nice i think it would work well in a wood fired kiln lots of colour :))

cookingwithgas said...

well where are all those non-potters?
I don't see them posting up here.
Come on in the water is fine!
That is one fine life you are living there!
Question- is Joe coming to pick up work from us here?

Pat said...

Wonderful post, Christy! Looks like Charlie is growing his winter coat - love the mugs. And that is an absolutely adorable picture of you, Christy. I think I want it for my family wall!

Thinking of you.

TropiClay Studio said...

We used to raise our chickens the same way. They really start putting on weight when the cold sets in...makes them plumper in the pot!
Surprised there's no snow yet. Any in the forecast?

Barb said...

Good to see your are keeping busy and love the chicken pictures.

Joe and Christy said...

thanks for the kind comments, friends and family!
*we have had a touch of snow, tropiclay, but nothing has stuck around... yet.
* m - sorry i missed you and m during my lightning-round in seagrove. joe is still there, though, and will be by for the pots. if they are in the way, let me know and i will see if jeff and steph can pick them up from your place.
*a - another friend suggested trying just sand as a mid-size particle filler. i'm game!