I’ve been neglectful again; this week has been hectic. We’ve been scrambling to get the last of our Christmas season pottery orders out, keeping the kilns hot. We also picked up our beef this week and had our big shopping day in the city. Then we came home to find the kiln had failed, indicating we needed to replace the heating elements. It used to be we could get several hundred firings out of a set of elements, but I guess the manufacturers decided they weren’t making enough profit, so now we get around seventy-five firings. The worst part about changing the elements so often isn’t just the expense of the new elements or the time lost with a failed firing and having to set everything else aside for a day; each time we change the elements the soft insulating bricks break down a bit more when we remove the old, misshapen elements and the bricks are far and above the greatest cost of a new kiln.
But that’s enough bitching. We’re having fun in the studio despite the crunch. We made some Christmas pieces this year, for the first time in many years.
We’re going to have to modify our delicious dietary experiments somewhat. Ben and I were comparing notes and figured out that we’re both having some gastro-intestinal difficulties going on. We have been eating so healthy for so many years that all the butter and cream was too much of a shock to our systems. So we’ll modify Julia’s way of cooking. It won’t be as creamy and buttery delicious as her official recipes; I’ll be using a lot of canola oil instead of butter, and milk instead of cream. I’ll report on how things go.
Also, part of the reason my schedule is so hectic is because I’ve started writing a monthly column for a small paper published in Missoula. I don’t get paid, but it’s a lot of fun and will be a good writing experience. It’s also good to have a deadline every month.
Life moves slowly out here in the wilds of Montana, but it does move if you pay attention. There never seems to be enough time to do all the pottery, writing, reading, exercising and recreating I want to do, so I tend to spread myself pretty thin. What a shame that my body doesn’t follow suit and that my somewhat ADD mind does. It seems the older I get the more interests I pull out from my past and decide now is the time to start doing it. I certainly don’t have more daily time now than I did when I decided to wait until I did have more time, but I have far less time in my future than I had then. I just woke up one day and discovered I wasn’t getting any younger and that, indeed, I was progressively getting older so a sense of mild panic set in.
I suppose it really wouldn’t matter to anyone else if I never published a book or created great pieces of ceramic art or read a pile of wonderful books; but, then, if I cannot do something worthwhile for myself, how can I really do anything worthwhile for anyone else? If I’m too busy for myself, how can I not be too busy to be helpful for someone else?
Ben painting tumblers for Wyoming 4H
Wedging the clay
Throwing one of the 4H tumblers
Putting handles on a bean pot