Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the best things about summer, part one

 Strawberries
Our neighbor showed us a wonderful place to pick strawberries, just down the road from us. They only charge $1 a pound, the fields are nice and clean with plenty of straw between the rows (comfy to sit on), of course there are beautiful views all around, and it has been a family farm for generations. 
Local berries are the finest
I think scones  make the best shortcake. We have been watching World Cup Soccer like mad fanatics (yes, even the 4 am games); eating our breakfast of scones with strawberries and whipped cream every day between games. Pure bliss.
Barley flour scones (shortcake)
I already told you about my newest favorite cookbook, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. I have been making scones for years and years and these are by far the new favorite. The barley flour adds a bit of texture, like cornmeal but much more recessive. It has a robust flavor, deep and rich. The author describes it thusly "barley flour has a distinctly sweet,creamy quality that tastes great with fruit". 
I don't think it is really fair to print her recipe here, but if you use my scone recipe and substitute barley flour for half of the all purpose and swap out the milk for buttermilk (& adjust leavening for the additional acid, right?), you will be really close to this. The cookbook is worth the price simply for the scones, as far as I'm concerned, but there are many more flours I have yet to explore in there.

John Cleese on soccer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

infrastructure repair

studio, west end
Last year the outlets along the west wall of the studio quit working. I didn't really need power over there, so I just ignored it. Remember the time estimate rule for owner-builders? It holds that one must increase the time estimate for each job by the next time factor; one hour should equal one day, one day should be rounded up to one week, etc. This has always held true in my experience.
view toward the east, we are facing south
This week the power stopped working all along the entire east & south walls.
the culprit, barely visible on the wall below the table
electrical tool basket
I could not procrastinate any longer.
bad, bad outlet
I  located the guilty party.
worn out original outlet installed in 1976
It had completely disintegrated. I backtracked from there and replaced several outlets and all is well again. Not as bad (as in time-consuming repair) as I had thought. Something else must be wrong, it only took a few hours to fix.

Earthworks by Robert Smithson. Nice.

Friday, June 11, 2010

chickadees and color tests

thirty-seven color tests
Glaze testing is so tedious, but I am invariably filled with wildly hopeful expectations as they go into the kiln.
black-capped chickadees in the works
I am dying a little with all this chubby cuteness.
finished chickadees
hole for nail on the back
When they are still wet, I push a nail into the back to make a slot for hanging. That way you don't have to install the birds & leaves series permanently if you can't.

*the tests came out great, but not very interesting to you (I'm guessing).

Look at what bees can do with color!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

trained slug

breakfast is served
Hey, that's my cucumber plant!
at least she has good manners (sits up straight at the table)
There are two good starts left, that's all I need anyway. The nibbled one was already nearly dead.

Another entertaining animal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

presents

very charming handmade tag
Lemon Verbena! (not pot)
My friend's husband wondered if she was giving me a bag of marijuana for my birthday. Hahaha, darn!
hand-painted little mushroom
nice gills
Peace Lily
so delicate
Lucy had a delightful birthday.