Category Archives: life

My Muse

I am so very lucky to live in a most bountiful place, surrounded by trees, flowers, streams, and stars. All of this natural beauty impresses itself into my artwork much like I impress leaves into clay.  My husband and I have planted hundreds of trees on our farm since we moved here so many years ago.

spring

summer

fall

winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have collected leaves, bugs and other natural ephemera for as long as I can remember, I’m still partial to the red leaves of fall.  When I started making “leafy” pottery I tried to turn clay leaves into bowls and such but the age old question asked by many through the years is “but can you eat spaghetti out of it?”  No.

I did find ways to use leaves to print onto thrown ware and tiles, from super simple to extra detailed.

dogwood leaf bowl

leaf print on tile

 

 

 

 

 

 

My latest leaf product has come full circle, individual ceramic leaves that can hang on the wall or sit on a table, or both.  Click on store in the upper left corner to see all of my products.  I’m currently running a coupon code in my online shop for $10 off any order over $50, good until January 30,2018.  Just put HOLIDAY17 in the coupon space at checkout.

falling leaves

falling leaves

Working with a Diva

Let me start by admitting that the reason I work alone is because I am a diva.  Well that felt good, but of course any one who knows me knows that’s no secret.  But the Diva that I refer to here is that little black cat, Liz.  If you’ve been keeping up you’ll know that the little………… cat …………………. sorry I was trying to come up with some PG adjectives for her.  I failed.

you weren't busy were you??

you weren’t busy were you??

is this seat taken??

is this seat taken??

Long story short, she’s been confined to my studio during the daylight hours for the sake of the Hummingbirds and Barn Swallows.

 

 

 

She doesn’t seem to mind.  In fact I usually have to wake her up and kick her out at night.

 

 

 

 

I decided to try and exploit her for some photos of my little cat food dishes.   Anyone who’s ever hosted a cat knows that they are the masters of exploitation, so try to stop laughing long enough to see the results.  I started by offering food, the good stuff!

OH YUMMY! WET CAT FOOD!!

OH YUMMY! WET CAT FOOD!!

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You know, it’s rude to watch people eat.

 

That was a start, what else ya got

That was a start, what else ya got

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She made quick work of the food and moved on.

What's in this one?

What’s in this one?

A clean cat is a happy cat, you don't mind a few hundred black cat hairs on your white background.

A clean cat is a happy cat, you don’t mind a few hundred black cat hairs on your white background.

Oh wait I missed a spot

Oh wait I missed a spot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, after a snack and a bath she was bored with the whole thing, and sauntered off.   I kept shooting the pottery and just as I was finishing up, she waltzed back onto my table and settled in for a nap.  So I started putting dishes in front of her and clicked away with my camera, and after all that I got my picture.DSC_8421

If you’d like an autographed copy just contact me.

Who let the cat OUT !?!?

The usual cry around here is “Who let the cat IN!!”  This spring however we have had to lock up Liz for the sake of two Bluebird,one Tree Swallow, and three or four Barn Swallow nests.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget the Hummingbirds.

she looks so sweet

she looks so sweet

We live on an 80 acre farm with several out buildings including a huge barn so all nine of the cats live outside my house.  There are exceptions for illness and old age but they are only allowed in my pottery studio and the breezeway.  As long as they don’t break anything.

Liz lounging in the barn doorway, now that's a breezeway

Liz lounging in the barn doorway, now that’s a breezeway

Most of the cats have had their summer of carnage when they were young but usually some strategic mouse traps at the base of the bluebird houses, a well thrown glass of water or letting the dogs out kept things under control.  But Liz is a holy terror.  She hides under the red poppies to grab unsuspecting Hummingbirds.

I love red flowers so do Hummingbirds

I love red flowers so do Hummingbirds

She also thinks it’s a great good game when the Barn Swallows dive bomb her.  She waits for them to swoop into range and tries to grab them out of the air.  Barn Swallows build their nests in the most unreachable spots you can imagine, not even a coon could get them.  Yet they insist on putting themselves at risk and of course if the parent dies…

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Barn Swallow nest stuck in a corner of the porch roof

Most cats outgrow this penchant for birds, they get harassed too but they keep their head down and move it along.  They sleep under the car instead of on top of it and I even had one old cat, Floyd that laid out in the sun and let the Mockingbirds slam right into him.

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Floyd and Trip, two old cats

So we’ll see who wins this battle of wills.  My plan as usual is to feed her till she’s too fat to care.  It’s worked on most of them so far.

dry cat food again?

dry cat food again?

excuse me

excuse me

perhaps you didn't hear me before

perhaps you didn’t hear me before

The real question is what level of damage can I stand!

Then I remind myself, baby birds are baby birds,

cats are cats

and clay is dirt.

Time?  That’s all I have.

PS.  Cali was another holy terror (she nailed a squirrel when she was still a kitten) but these days all she wants is IN !

Cali blending into the clay

Cali blending into the clay

 

 

 

Don’t count your chickens…

Well I was planning to write this post as My New Medusa, but the kiln goddess decided to take me down a peg.  After many years of experience and many hard learned lessons I apparently needed a refresher course in the perils of firing damp pottery, the importance of providing air holes to places that need them and taking the time that is needed to dry out an item that took two weeks to make.DSC_7893DSC_7892

Indeed my outdoor walls are festooned with Green Men that died in the glaze kiln.  I like to think those aren’t my fault but seriously, is there any one else  in the room? perhaps the cat sleeping under the chair?  Perhaps.DSC_8153DSC_8151

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However blowing a piece up in a bisque fire is ALWAYS a function of water inside the piece that is trapped when the outer skin is dryer and the resulting steam can’t escape.  But it does escape in a most spectacular way.

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In my defense it rained for about two weeks straight.  I’m kind of surprised more things didn’t blow!

Scarred Woman

Scarred Woman

Ode to Kato

With a bladder the size of a peaDSC_6340

and the attention span of a flea,

 

 

 

DSC_6322I romp through my day

and sleep where I lay

I think this life is the bee’s knees!!

 

 

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The world’s my favorite chew toy!

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I’m gonna grow into a big boy!

 

 

There’s just one command

I won’t understand

Why must I go out to make wee wee!!!

I said he'd grow into a BIG BOY but I had NO IDEA HOW BIG!!

I said he’d grow into a BIG BOY but I had NO IDEA HOW BIG!   This pic is Kato on his first birthday 6-30-15 it’s the same flower pot different flowers.

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Barn Swallows nesting on the front porch

The nest is in the upper right hand corner.

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About two days after a pair of Barn Swallows successfully fledged a brood of four babies from their usual nest spot in the attic of the grainery, they got busy building a new nest on the front porch.  They started building on June 15.

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they collect mud and plant

fibers to build with

 

every 10-15 minutes another bit was added

 

 

 

 

DSC_6068 as you can see it was hot outside and you might also see a reflection of the glass as I did my documenting in air conditioned comfortDSC_6073

 

 

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it is a two birdie job from sun up to sun downDSC_6084

finally on or about June 19-20 (solstice time) eggs were laid and sitting ensuedDSC_6227

EUREKA the feeding begins July 17  I hope you enjoyed your down time MomDSC_6233 DSC_6237 DSC_6239 DSC_6250 DSC_6251 DSC_6253

Looking like some pretty angry birds there are four but it’s hard to get a good group shot with all the jostling  I kept the cats away with some well placed glasses of water
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and then there were three…

DSC_6284 and then there were two…DSC_6288 and then they came back for visits for a few days..

DSC_6293hope to see you all next year…….

If you would like a cd of the pictures in this or any other post for a screen saver contact me.

STONEHENGE

Stonehenge, a circle of enormous stones brought to that spot by people working with stone and wood tools.  Two different types of stone, one for the posts and one for the lintels.  Knobs carved into the uprights and holes carved into the cross stones to hold them in place.

 

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Not much is known about the people who built it but we can surmise that they were well organized and had the time and desire to build a place that was concerned with the passage of the sun.  Early peoples were much more acquainted with the changes of the moon and sun cycles and the effects on their everyday lives.

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the following is an excerpt from wikipedia, there is a lot more info there

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“Stonehenge evolved in several construction phases spanning at least 1,500 years. There is evidence of large-scale construction on and around the monument that perhaps extends the landscape’s time frame to 6,500 years.  It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.[1]

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The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.

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Evidence of the second phase is no longer visible. The number of postholes dating to the early 3rd millennium BC suggest that some form of timber structure was built within the enclosure during this period.

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Archaeological excavation has indicated that around 2600 BC, the builders abandoned timber in favor of stone and dug two concentric arrays of holes  in the centre of the site. These stone sockets are only partly known (hence on present evidence are sometimes described as forming ‘crescents’); however, they could be the remains of a double ring.

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The north-eastern entrance was widened at this time, with the result that it precisely matched the direction of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset of the period. This phase of the monument was abandoned unfinished, however; the small standing stones were apparently removed and the holes purposefully backfilled. Even so, the monument appears to have eclipsed the site at Avebury in importance towards the end of this phase.

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During the next major phase of activity, 30 enormous OligoceneMiocene sarsen stones (shown grey on the plan) were brought to the site. They may have come from a quarry, around 25 miles (40 km) north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs, or they may have been collected from a “litter” of sarsens on thechalk downs, closer to hand. The stones were dressed and fashioned with mortise and tenon joints before 30 were erected as a 33 metres (108 ft) diameter circle of standing stones, with a ring of 30 lintel stones resting on top. The lintels were fitted to one another using another woodworking method, the tongue and groove joint”

the guides were very well informed and they worked for peanuts!!!

 

 

 

 

Pubs Pubs Pubs

The first six days in England we stayed at a pub, The Fox and Goose, there was a beautiful garden spot between the hotel and the pub.  This made life super simple at the beginning and the end of each day.

the garden at the Fox & Goose

the garden at the Fox & Goose

 

 

 

 

 

I already covered day one so let’s get on with day two, three, four, I lost count…

look a PUB

look a PUB

 

 

This one was near the Tower of London

 

The Sherlock Holmes Pub where I had Bangers and Mash!!! and BEER

The Sherlock Holmes Pub where I had Bangers and Mash!!! and BEER

 

The Sherlock Holmes was down an alley.

mmmmmm.....beer we did our best totry one of each

mmmmmm…..beer
we did our best to try one of each

 

 

 

 

 

We spent three days in Salisbury, a very picturesque place with lots of PUBS!!!

The Mill with a lovely river in front/back

The Mill with a lovely river in front/back

The Kings Head Inn, I think we'll head inn for a BEER

The Kings Head Inn, I think we’ll head inn for a BEER

the Lazy Cow, known for it's burgers and BEER!

the Lazy Cow, known for it’s burgers and BEER!

the Ox Row Inn, didn't know oxen could row!!

the Ox Row Inn, didn’t know oxen could row!!

Bill's a Pub with BEER!

Bill’s a Pub with BEER!

the New Inn looks pretty olde

the New Inn looks pretty olde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the big city of London which is like New York in that is is a collection of boroughs in a mega city.

A Friend at Hand

A Friend at Hand

"Friend at Hand Pub"

“Friend at Hand Pub”

 

Another Pub down an alley

A Friend at Hand indeed!

 

 

 

There was a dog on the sign,

We couldn’t resist.

The mysterious woman in blue is my traveling companion, Wendy.  She’s in charge of finding our way but she became a believer in my  ability to find a pub.

 

 

 

Merry olde England the pubs and pagans tour

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the Fox & Goose Pub/hotel

 

Just returned from Merry Olde England on the pubs and pagans tour.  We stayed at the Fox and Goose in Wembly , London for the first 6 days, we tried to get the most from our London passes,  I’m sure the travel card was worth it.  TRAVEL TIP  the tube has many flights of steps at every stop.  Get at least three maps of your destination(one could be wrong)  Better yet book a ride from the airport and just look for the guy with a sign of your name. Or hump your luggage in a brain dead state and ask every one along the way for a place they’ve never heard of.

the breakfast place

the breakfast place

the guys at the breakfast placeThe coffee shop up the hill

Full of good intel on what to see and when the soccer games were happening nearby.

 

We did the London Bridge Experience and built up a powerful thirst, this pub was under the bridge and a great place to ride out the ten minute storm.  The “Shard” was struck by lightning while we sipped in cozy comfort.

under the London Brodge

under the London Bridge

cozy seats

cozy seats

the bar

the bar

 

 

 

 

 

I went up top to discover that the London Bridge is NOT the Tower Bridge.

London Bridge with Brit

London Bridge with Brit

one view from London Bridge, a PUB!

one view from London Bridge, a PUB!

Tower Bridge from London Bridge somewhat down the Thames

Tower Bridge from London Bridge somewhat down river

 

 

 

 

 

So we had a long list of sights to see and ended up meandering through a market, sipping beverages and nibbling tapas.

 

entering the market

entering the market

 

so many things to see so little time

colorful booth

colorful booth

Stay tuned for day two!!

 

The Hungry Hordes are at the door

The winter of 2013-14 has been relentless.

The deer have annihilated my arborvitae and the HOLLY BUSHES, I mean, who eats those prickly things?  Hungry deer that’s who, come to think of it pine is one of their favorites, ick.  We have electric fencing but you can’t fence in everything.

four does

deer in the back yard

Turkeys have been spotted in the front yard, thanks to Xena who lit up like a christmas tree when she saw them working their way down the edge of the garden.DSC_4680

Blue Jays and Cardinals have been emptying the front porch cat dish.  I do keep five seed feeders full and two suet spots, I guess the birds prefer a meatier diet in the winter. DSC_4985

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Larry does NOT find this funny!!!!

 

And the horses would love to see some green grass.  They are so stoic.

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