Friday, February 16, 2018

Fifty-Three Cents

We mourn as does our whole nation, the recent senseless loss of life at the school in Florida. When bad things happen it makes all of us sad. Sometimes focusing on good things helps. A good thing happened to us yesterday. Our credit union called to let us know they'd forgotten to give us our change of fifty-three cents when we paid a bill; they said they deposited the fifty-three cents into our account.

Oops I spoke too soon, my hot water heater broke last night. We drained the remaining water out last evening. I knew it was old and needed to be replaced, We planned to replace it when the weather warmed up. The hot water heater has forced me to move up the scheduling. Of course the price of them has gone up quite a bit.

I've cut my left thumb right under the nail so I haven't been able to work in clay but I've been painting. Above is the rudimentary beginnings of a black bear in a meadow painting. I never realized how often I use my thumb till now. A hot water heater and a thumb are small things in the scheme of things. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Monday, February 12, 2018


In the open pastures below our home I noticed the robins have returned but I didn't see a bluebird. I love seeing the robins running with spurts and stops. They're listening for a worm below the surface of the grass. Hopefully I'll see bluebirds this week. A warmer weather pattern is now upon us. I took the photo above in my California garden. I love how the robin's breast is camouflaged by the pyracantha berries.

Here's my little boy, Barney. He keeps me entertained. Mostly he keeps Gary company. He has an affinity for Gary much I think due to his past. Who am I to discount his history.
Every animal every human has a past and it's up to us to accommodate their needs. To accept others as they are not as we want them or expect them to be. Barney's eyes always look a little wild like they do in this photo.
Along the driveway you see our freshly pruned fruit trees with golden creeping jenny, Lysimachia nummularia, beneath. It's turned a reddish hue from the winter cold. I'm not sure this ground cover will come back. I just looked it up; it's hardy in my zone.
One of my thyme plants rather threadbare like many are after this winter's onslaught. I plan to cut back the lavender, marjoram, oregano, Spanish Tarragon, and thyme with an electric pruner and hope Spring will reward me with a return to their former beauty. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce

Spaghetti squash with peanut sauce is quick and easy.  I learned about spaghetti squash from another blogger. I had never had it before. It's delicious and now I have it routinely. Slice your spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Careful with the knife when slicing the squash, it's easy for it to slip since the squash is hard to cut.
Place the squash face down in a glass baking dish filled with one inch of water. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 to 60 minutes in a 400 F oven. I still call foil - tin foil, does anyone else do that? Squash are cooked when a fork inserted through the outer skin goes in and comes out easily.

Remove the squash and scrape the inside with the tine of a folk to create the "spaghetti". Place the squash on a plate and drizzle with store bought peanut sauce. Of course you can make your own peanut sauce, if you don't have time why not make it easy on yourself.

Yesterday Gary and I pruned the fruit trees. Gary reaches the taller branches; I cut the lower ones. Every time we prune the trees Gary can't seem to grasp cutting the branch to an outward facing bud to encourage the tree to be open in the center. He keeps saying "I'm not a gardener". Oh well we got the job done. Today I'll prune the young crabapple I planted. Then I'll weed my bin. I think I might plant some garlic this year and later some leaf lettuce. Can you tell we have a bit warmer weather? And it's sunny today. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Anna Pottery

Near a good source of clay in Anna, Illinois, the Kirkpatricks established Anna Pottery in 1859. Near Anna were beds of the brown clay the Kirkpatricks used for their stoneware. There was also a large quarry of kaolin clay, which the company sold to potteries that used this white clay.

In 1860 Anna Pottery employed eleven men and produced "800,000 gallons per year" of pottery (each container was stamped on the side with the number of gallons it could hold). The Anna Pottery was a two-story wood-frame building. The basement contained the clay-grinding equipment powered by horses, a drying room with a hot-air furnace, and two kilns that held up to 2,000 gallons each of stoneware. The upper stories contained storage space and workrooms where pottery was hand formed.

Some of the products made in the pottery were jugs, plates, crocks, pitchers, milk pans, fruit jars, funnels, flower urns, cemetery urns, buckets, fire brick, chimney pots, window sills, arches, roof tiles, stems of tobacco pipes, and drainage pipe. The pottery was also known for its unusual one-of-a-kind pieces of stoneware(snake jugs, cemetery urns). These art pieces reflected ideas and themes of the rural past, temperance, history, and love of nature. 

Cornwall & Wallace owned Anna Pottery from 1860-1896. It remained in the Kirkpatrick family till 1900. It closed in 1910, when consumers preferred more modern and convenient containers of tin and glass. Many Anna Pottery pieces have broken auction records, especially jugs, snake jugs and pigs decorated with maps of the day. The Illinois Fair Jug above from 1864 sold for $86,250 at auction in 2011. (Portions reprinted from the Illinois State Museum site). Thanks for reading and for all your comments.