Sunday, November 10, 2013

Porcupine Year

This morning when Ben crossed the creek to give the two steers some range cake, he found one of them had encountered a porcupine. The poor critter’s lips and chin were covered with dozens of quills.

Situations like that always stress me out terribly, but we got the steers across the creek and into the corral without a problem. Then we rigged up a squeeze chute and lured the quilled steer into it and secured him so we could pull the quills out.

It didn’t exactly come off without a hitch, but we got the job done.

I was actually able to relax my stress level before we even got the steer secured in our makeshift chute, mainly because I laughed to myself when I realized that this incident was one more piece of evidence that this year – which I have now labeled The Year of the Porcupine – that something was released from hell and wrapped itself tightly around 2013.

We started working outside the studio in January and didn’t finish until yesterday. We didn’t get any of our goals for the studio done and my writing came to a complete and exhausted halt late last spring. Then today the steer got nailed by a porcupine.

In between all that, the designs on our Dano ware, the pottery we make for Dano Youth Camp, went completely the way of the porcupine year from hell: the pine boughs and flowers were coming out speckled with white dots.

We changed our glaze twice, then tried seven more recipes and still we got the speckling. Just last weekend we finally had enough time to figure out that the problem was with the clay body rather than the glaze recipes. So we got Monday off and zipped up to The Archie Bray Foundation in Helena to get five hundred pounds of a different clay body to tide us over until we can get our own recipe worked out – one of our goals for this past year – and get some of it ordered.

Unless, of course, we have another porcupine year.

Between now and the new year we’ll be swamped just catching up with pottery orders. So, now our goals for next year will be the ones we had for this year.


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