On comes the long hot summer

things are still happening at the farm. Chickens are still squirting out eggs, the goat has pumped out gallons and gallons of milk. we are still exploring what to do with our abundance. Turmeric and garlic scape goat cheese is quite lovely. there is a tremendous peace in the daily rituals. I’m fortunate to be able to choose much of the activities in those rituals.

Viann has still not figured how to jump to the ceiling, but most every other horizontal surface in the barn has her prints on it. the thing about barn rituals, especially when goats are involved, if I forget even a single step in the ritual, they will exploit the omission because there is almost always food at the other end if the mistake. My mistake, not theirs. They are quick and thorough. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, Ann is ever so much a goat. It’s not just the “cute cuddly mischievous kid” that gets into everything. She hasn’t gotten another tray of eggs airborne or rocketed a full milk pail off the milk stand for at least a month. I will say, she can pop a garbage can lid faster than I can. She does this inverted J-hook maneuver that ends with her face at feed level. She is a good girl though. I can almost always get through the morning with no mishaps out there. Everyone knows what has to happen.

There is a single addition back there that has been long over-do. One of the original hens (without a name) has insisted for her entire life that she wants to sit on eggs. So I finally figured how to let her do just that. I have her 10 eggs to sit on and mostly kept her locked in the next box for almost a month. She would announce that she wanted out in the evenings. this was new to me. I had somehow assumed that she would just sit on the eggs and not move till they all hatched. But, no. She would pop out a HUGE turd, drink a gallon of water and slam as much feed as I would drop for her. If it was dry and not too late, she would pop in for a dust bath in the coop addition. Then she is directly back into the box. She brought 7 eggs to hatching. One of those chicks didn’t survive the first couple of days. Now there are 6 little peepers clouded around her. It’s good to see. with some luck, the Auracona rooster back there got his bit into one of those chicks and with a little more luck, it’s a hen=blue eggs. at the moment, 3 are dark and 3 are not dark. the eggs were the darkest brown and whitest white ones I could find the day I gave them to her. It’s exciting in it’s way. Never a dull moment back there.

The studio in my garage has been even more exciting. I’ve churned some stuff out that I didn’t know I would be able to make. some of them suck. the proportion of suckyness goes down quick once I’ve made 20 or more of a shape. I started doing stuff with slabs and license plates. It’s astounding. I’m shaken to know that I did these. this is not bragging. these aren’t world class or anything. to hold a single vessel in my hand, I see the problems. I can see where I didn’t smooth something over or flatten something. I can do that with every pot I’ve ever made. But with these new ones, when I blur my already blurry vision, I see so many possibilities. I am simply blown away. Leah has mentioned that when I go out into the garage, it’s like I’m not at the house anymore. I loose time when I’m working. I loose the feeling of time. The passing of time. There is this endless moment that is throwing. hard but not too hard, wet but not too wet. I’m shooting for 3-pull vessels. New forms are rarely done in 3 pulls at first. there is an endless number of ways to screw up a pot. simply endless. double that, because there is destroying stuff on the wheel and then there are all the ways to wreck one after the fact. Statistically, it feels like it’s almost impossible to make pots. the beauty of it is that in amongst those mistakes are these revelation of pure form. A clean pull. a true form. they tend to be at times when my mind finds a path to quietness. when I’m railing away at the things I’ve said and done over the years, the things I’ve heard, the forms sag, the lines are blurred. nothing comes out the way i SAW in my mind. but those moments of stillness are profound. the thrum of the wheel’s bearings sets time. it’s like driving without a speedometer. basing things on the engine noise. sitting on 100 mph through the Montana desert on my 70′ CB750 put me in the same spot. Almost painful. the shriek of the wind has faded and the engine rattle has hammered thoughts into silence and there, buried in all that chaos, is the gentle ting ting ting of the little bell I had hung under the gas tank. THAT kind of quiet. that kind of vastness. held in the 5/32 of an inch between my fingers. the clay snaps and pops. I’ve remembered how to see with my finger tips. Rather, I’ve remember that I used to be able to see through my finger tips. that vision that happens with the eyes closed. it’s like hearing without my ears. there are just so many more possibilities tucked into that 5/32″. I remember. I remember just exactly how little I know about making things out of clay. I remember how long a path I have to walk down to be a Potter. somewhere north of 10,000 hours according to Gladwell. till then I’m goofing off.


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