Throwing Mud

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This is my very first attempt at ever trying to throw on the wheel. It was not centered. As I was bringing it up one side was thin and the other thick…so I pulled a spout on it! I wish I’d of thought to put a little handle on, but I’m so thrilled with my first piece on the wheel.

I sorta like this color Orcher. Non of us know how to say it, but it sounds like Okra. On the red clay it’s very earthy and I like earthy.

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This little cup turned out to actually be useful. It holds my tea strainer perfectly. It was suppose to be a mug, but it turned out way too small for me and the handle wasn’t right, so I cut it off. If I’m learning one thing from Pottery, it is patience. I hate to admit that I’m not a patient person. But pottery is not something to rush. It takes time and lots of patience to get each piece just right….and if you are me, then sometimes, it’s never JUST right, but good enough!

In some ways, I’m like the Amish. They don’t believe we can do anything perfectly….because only God is perfect, so they always leave an imperfection in their quilts. A visual reminder that only God is perfect. Mine are usually not an intended imperfection, but a reflection of who I am…..very imperfect.

I discovered today when some new pieces came out of the kiln, that the red clay shrinks considerably after the second firing! I mean considerably. So, in the future I need to make a mental note of that and expect my pre-glaze firing pieces to be bigger than I want. Hopefully I’ll be able to gauge it right since I love using the red clay. I’m attempting to replace all our store bought dishes with hand thrown/built pieces!  A lofty goal.

(I’ll be so glad to be rid of my Pfaltzgraff dishes I’ve had for almost 30 yrs!)

A Blast From My Past

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am Ditzy Dizzy Di!

I’m already dizzy just from life itself. Why on earth would I need to sit at a wheel of any kind that spins? But, I do. I love spinning wool and now I love to throw pottery!

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Then it hit me….can you hear it….Dizzy, my head is spinning….I’m so Dizzy! Wo a blast from my past hit me….Tommy Roe, you know it….Dizzy! Ok, maybe you don’t go back that far….but I could hear it as clear as day….being a child of the 60’s.

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This is John, my mentor….well, he’s just a guy in class who showed me what to do. As is, I’ll just wing it and come up with a style of my own. I’ve never been afraid to try anything new.

Here’s my first pot…..YIKES. It was so thin on one side, so I pulled a spout!

I’m so dizzy. My head is spinning.

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John showed me how to trim it and then I threw two more pots. I was amazed with myself! I kept working to center them. Starting over several times before I got it. I’ll show them next week. Now I have to figure out how to throw something other than bowls….we don’t have that much cupboard space! I would love to replace all our factory made dishes with handmade pottery. I don’t know what it is. But there is something about eating from earthenware that is handmade. Just like wearing natural fibers that are handmade.

Ok. I really am a child of the 60’s. Maybe I am a hippy at heart, as Sweet Girls friends think. I do still wear tie dye, but I don’t wear socks with my sandals!!!

I’m so dizzy. My head is spinning!

Pottery

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Tuesday is my pottery mental health day. Last week I threw on the wheel for the very first time. This is a continuing ed class mostly for Seniors….although I’d hardly call myself a Senior, I’ve enjoyed the dynamics of the class so much. The folks are just so great. One of my classmates John, is 72. Last week he worked with me to teach me how to use the wheel.

The hardest part is centering. If it’s not centered, you get something that looks like my first piece…..I’ll show you later this week…..it wasn’t centered. Although to my untrained hands and eye it felt somewhat centered, it’s possible that I didn’t get my thumb in the center when I pushed down. When I finished it was thin on one side and thick on the other….

After trying one little piece, I truly appreciate what a master potter does! I’ve enjoyed visiting Paul the Potter. I love, love, love, his work and his style! The only problem is Paul is in England….or maybe that isn’t a problem! I would love to visit his shop and buy a pot or two! I really love his simplicity.

My class is based on form & function. We use slabs or pinch pots to build a piece. I just finished a Gyuvech. It turned out nicely. It’s waiting to be bisqued.

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I’m still not thrilled with the glazes. I’m still experimenting with them on this red clay.

(John helps me with my handles…..I just can’t get them right)

Gyvuech

Mother Linda says…….


I’d love to be able to make a Gyvuech in my pottery class. It will be a trial not using the wheel to throw it, but it’s possible. And the intricate work on it will take patience and time…both of which I’m short on.

Right now I’m making a mold from a Polish Pottery butter dish that a lady from class brought in for me to use. It’s really all the detailed work that make these pieces so beautiful!

The Odds & Ends of My Life

I downloaded a bunch of pictures today and called it “odds and ends”. So today, you get the odds & ends of my life.

I’m tired and haven’t been sleeping well. Sleep is so important. I guess I ought to go swig some Cod Liver Oil! That ought to perk me up. 😉

My days are really consumed with life right here; gardening, tending the animals, knitting, avoiding cleaning house, laundry….you know the routine. I do have my pottery time now and that gives me an out. And speaking of pottery….dada

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My very first mug and bowl. Not bad. I’ve finally found a glaze that I’m willing to live with…New Jade and Creamy Rust. All of my pieces are done from slabs.

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My colander that I painted with under glazes.

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My batter bowl and somewhere is my little teapot that matches the set above.

Now that we’ve covered the pottery….onto the farm.

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Rockie…..I fried him the other night. The white meat was good. He wasn’t a meat bird so he was a bit tough. Our carbon footprint that night was nearly around 0. We had taters from the garden, beets and Rockie! Nothing like home grown food.

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My garden is situated right next to the cow barn….convenient for tossing cow pies in the garden….however I don’t. I haul it to the back of the field for composting. But as I walk back and forth checking on the cows, I hanker my neck into the garden and I noticed my green beans were ready. I picked 2.5 lbs! Plus a beautiful Cauliflower. It’s the only one that survived. The other one is tiny. I’ve never grown Cauliflower before. I didn’t care for it. But when I was in India, everything tasted better and I loved how they fixed Cauliflower with potatoes and mustard seed. So the other night I fixed pastured pork chops, fresh green beans, Indian Dahl (lentil soup) and potatoes with cauliflower. Mmmm it was so good.

On to the cows.

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Josie is really potting out. I’m almost 100% sure she will calve near August 5.

A lady on a cow forum that I’m a member of had a really funny story…..her post was called “When Should I Worry? Calving?”. Her vet told her at the end of June that her cow was only 6 months pregnant and that the calf was very small. But she said on July 6 that her girl was having a discharge and she was “springing” (that’s when her udder swells with milk). She thought she should get a second opinion. So, some of the other members suggested she get some pictures for them to make a judgment on her condition. When she went out on July 8 to take a few pictures…..she got more than that…..boy did she get pictures. If you could see them….her cow was giving birth at that moment. First a pic of the water sac and then the hooves and nose and then the head….and her little 3 yr old daughter said, “mommy Lilly has a baby stuck in her butt.” 😀 😀 Then there’s a calf on the ground.

Boy was that vet ever so wrong!!!!!!!  Let’s just say, the cow knows when it’s time and her body will tell you.  Hopefully I’ll be around and get some great pics!!!  But in the mean time, I’m brushing up on Calving 101…by reading Essential Guide To Calving by Heather Smith Thomas and Homeopathy for the Herd by Dr C. Edgar Sheaffer, V.M.D. Both are excellent reads.

I’ve been trying to get pictures of Josie every week so I can compare them. Last evening, I brought her into the barn and tied her. I wanted to show her some cow love so I brushed her and talked all sweet to her. She nearly goes right to sleep while I do this….her head hangs down and she doesn’t move an inch. Then she gave me a cow kiss on my leg. Eww boy does that feel good.

She was standing just right for another good rear picture…so I ran into the house for my camera (when will I learn to carry it with me). By the time I came back out she’d moved. She was sooooo relaxed I didn’t want to bother her. But here she is last evening.

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Cow babies are on the right side. The baby was really moving a lot last night. I bumped it and it kicked me!

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After I untie her she doesn’t realize it and she continues to stand there for a long time before she realizes she’s free to move about. She was probably asleep. She was content chewing her cud with eyes half open.

I’ve also decided NOT to sell Joy. I’ve invested so much time into training her and I’d really like to see what kind of a milk cow Josie will make. I already know that Josie is going to be great mama cow, but I don’t know how she’ll produce with only 3 quarters working. I’m still praying over that 4th quarter, hoping it will spring up soon.

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I took the weaning ring out of Joy’s nose. She became frightened of me after we put it in and I didn’t want that. She’s now snuggling up to me and handing out more cow kisses than I’d like in a days time.

NOTE: cow kisses are when they lick with their long scratchy tongue and try to eat my clothes. Cow’s don’t have top front teeth so the just chew and suck. You can spot me when I’ve had my cow kisses for the day. I’m pretty wet. 😀 But I do love them!!!!

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Here’s a cow kiss sent your way.

Have lovely weekend.

Slip & Score

My latest love is pottery. This is my 3rd session at the counties Senior Center taking a Continuing Ed class through the Community College. I think it’s called, Form, Function….and something. Basically my first session taught me all about clay and the different ways to form clay into something functional without throwing on the wheel. In all honesty, I really really want to learn how to throw. I might take a non-credit class at the college just to learn.

Every Tuesday and some Thursdays you can find me at the Senior Center playing with mud…..it’s so fun! So many things to do and not enough time!

Right now I use mostly slabs of clay and form them into whatever it is I want either using a form or a pinch pot. On the shelf I currently have a Colander, Batter Bowl, Spoon Rest, Plate and Two Mugs that all need glazing. I just can’t decide whether to paint them first with an underglaze or to try layering glazes so they drip. I haven’t been very pleased with the glaze results so far. But this is what I’ve accomplished.

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My very first pinch pots.

How Many Sheep Did I Buy????

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Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2009

The weather this weekend in Howard County, Maryland has been enough to make a girl cry, but it wasn’t enough to keep the thousands upon thousands from gathering at the Howard County Fairgrounds for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  In fact there were soooooo many people that I finally called it a day and left by 1PM on Saturday.

I was thankful that I arrived around 8:30AM and beat the crowds!  I hit my favorite spots and beat the lines.  I ate an early lunch and as you can see beat the lines.

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I know, maybe I play too cautiously but I really HATE crowds!  I am a true country girl who loves wide open spaces.  By the time I left, it was impossible to even get into most booths and see what they had.   So, I packed it up early and headed home to give my feet a rest.

I regret that I didn’t get a picture of Bonnie.  I almost bought her and walked her home, but I thought it best to wait for Honey to agree.  Anyway, Bonnie is a black sheep from Daisyhill Farm in Glenelg, MD.  She was a  lovely yearling cross with a very nice fleece.  Her mama won champion ribbon …..I can’t remember where….maybe it was at the County Fair…just don’t remember.  Memory overload!

One reason I held back on Bonnie was I really love Border Leicester Sheep.  After looking at a million sheep this weekend, I’m finally able to identify them.  They have a mule shaped head.

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Border Leicester

So for now, I will hold off on the sheep and get good at cows!

For me one of the most amusing parts of the festival is seeing everyone wearing the most prized knitted pieces.  No matter how hot it is….women have on sweaters and shawls.

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Notice the knitted socks too!

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This lady even had on her knitted dress!  Pulling her cart on wheels because she didn’t bring her pack mule….her husband!!!  There were a few pack mules though!

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This lady did a really lovely job on her purse…I love the pansies!

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There were even people in funny hats playing music and dancing.

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Kiparoo Farm

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Wool Art

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David Young from The Lion Potter

I first met David years ago when he had a produce stand near our home.  He is a master potter and he and his wife Junko sell pottery at the festival.

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The Lion Potter

David’s wife Junko uses slab pieces and makes hand formed teapots.  That’s the kind of work I’m learning to do in my pottery class.  I’ll have to show you when something turns out….trial and error and I’m still in the learning process.

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I ate my Lamb sandwich under the tent and listened to some hillbillie music and watched the cloggers.

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Lots of dwarf goats.  I hate to say it but most sheep people don’t like goats!!!

I like them both…I’d like a goat but they jump fences and I don’t need a Houdini!

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This was before the crowds showed up…you could actually see everything.

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This guy was serious…he had his mug, and just about every gadget known to man tied to his back….just in case he needed it.

Other than watching people, my favorite part of the day was watching sheep.

Ewes not fat….ewes just fluffy!!!! With legs!

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This black ram was huge (second from the end).  They kept repositioning him to show off his hind quarters.

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Jacob Lamb

Jacob Lamb

What a rack!

Market Lambs

Market Lambs

The market lambs were all lined up for inspection.  Then the auction began.

Market Lamb

Market Lamb

This was a fine looking lamb.  The guy in front of me won her in the auction.  She went for $115 as a 4H lamb for his children.  Very nice.

So, do you want to know how many sheep I came home with……..

6!!!  One a border leicester!!!  My favorite!

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See my little lambs!  6

I didn’t buy a bunch of expensive yarn.  I’m way too practical for that.  I can’t wear most of it anyway cause it makes me itch like crazy….I know what I like and I like what I know.  I can wear Merino and Border Leicester.

I hit Little Barn early and bought 6 bags of Blue Faced Border Leicester Superwash Fleece to spin and dye.

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I got it for $6.29 CASH.  A pound for around $12!!!  Good deal indeed.

I have 1 pound of Romney Fleece that I’ve almost finished spinning and realized that I need at least 1.5 lbs for a mens sweater.  Soooo, I was in pursuit of finding more that would be a match….BINGO!  I found some that matches perfectly!

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I have to blend it a little bit but it will work great.

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I got a new pair of slippers.

And a much needed sign!!!!

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And since I love love love honey, I bought some local raw honey from Feederbrook Farm!!!  6 lbs!

Cranberry and blueberry!  It is so yummy!