Wednesday, September 30, 2009

See ya summer!

It's been a slice! Summer, that is.

But we knew it was coming, it's been the talk around town for the last several days - a shift in the weather, yes, a drop in temperature, sure, a seasonal change, s'about time, but I don't think anyone was prepared for snow! 

In anticipation, I got out the knitting needles at the beginning of the week and have been warming them up again for a winter full of wooly projects. Bring on the yarn! Last night I even shared my couch with a few of the gals and we knitted up a storm while another blew in outdoors. 

It has been a terrific summer and extended warm September month here in Utah, and although I'd prefer a few more days of fall rather than skipping straight to winter, I welcome the cooler air. The weekend weather was stunning, and we spent much of it outdoors. The kids and I cycled down to the dam at the mouth of the canyon and met up with friends for a little fishing expedition. No luck with the fish, but the water was warm enough to at least get in ankle deep. 

Then later, we snuck in a warm evening cookout up the canyon on Sunday with the same gang and another family. The gaggle of kids were happy to forage in the woods, climb trees and roast marshmallows while we older kids hung out by the fire and made a vow to do this kind of thing more often

We just might have to bring along our parkas!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Aggressive Aggies

It's homecoming weekend at USU. That usually can be summed up in a parade,  a whole lot of street painting and a big college football game. Last year it seemed fairly tame, not that huge of a partying crowd around these parts. Especially since the majority of them forgo the boozing it up component that I was familiar with in my undergraduate years - doesn't jive with the faith here. 

Strangely enough this weekend seemed to be full of reckless and rowdy college student incidents. On Saturday morning we stopped in at the studio before heading down to the farmer's market to find the kiln compound and parking area outside the clay department littered with broken shards of pots. Unbeknownst to anyone in the ceramics program, someone or group of someones had thought to make a game of smashing up whatever pottery they could find around the kilns. It's sad, really. Especially since Robin, Bobby and Christa had just finished their firing and not all the work had made it indoors. 

Robin was lucky to not have lost anything, but poor Christa had some of her favorite bowls destroyed.  But here is a look at some of the work that did make it out and survived the sober homecoming razing. 

Robin is spending some quality time in the studio today with his dremmel and the dozen teapots he plans to whip into shape for Monday's crit. The kids and I are having a lazy Sunday afternoon nap (hopefully) to catch up on some lost sleep after our neighborhood frat house kept us up with their after midnight basketball practice (Did I mention that we got new neighbors this year - 5 college undergraduate boys)! 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't get cocky

I once wrote in a cover letter that I had a  "passion for heritage and history", which is altogether true, but nonetheless considered corny by my brother and the result of many family jokes. Regardless, I am just fine with having an interest in Geneology, reading historical fiction and nurturing my love for the old and antiqued! 

Perhaps just another reason why I married 'the potter' and can appreciate the aesthetic of woodfired pottery. Plus the fact that I would way prefer to eat off of something that looks as though it has withstood the test of time, than Corningware! We are all eagerly awaiting the opening of the kiln today to see what surprises lay inside. I am hoping this first round of teapots will bedazzle us all, and he can use them to enter a whole raft of shows and exhibitions. Robin has already peeked a few times, but to be fair to the others, has tied his hands behind his back and agreed to wait until they could all unload together. 

In my attempts to pass on my nostalgia for simpler times, we
drove out yesterday to the American West Heritage centre for a storytime in their lobby. We've been to several
kid focused events at the Heritage centre, but this was a first for their free preschool program. Isla and Roscoe teamed up with a dozen other toddlers and preschoolers to listen to a story about a dinosaur and then make dinosaur skin with clay and dried corn cobs. Roscoe was more interested in trying to eat the kernels than play with the clay. But the highlight of the trip for the kids was the cocky rooster that insisted on sharing their popcorn treat outside the building after the program. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fruit n' Fire

We went to a barbeque this past weekend, to some friends that live just around the corner from us, and I was asked what I'd been up to of late. My response went something like this...
Well, we've been:
picking pears
dehyrating pears
juicing pears
making pear tarts
dehyrating more pears
making pear and blueberry pie
delivering pears to neighbors and the studio

....I can hardly pear the thought that there is a ton of fruit still up in the tree! To tell you the truth, I wouldn't say that I'm even all that fond of pears but it has been fun to seek out a couple new recipes this year from last year. Robin has enjoyed the taste testing as well as some others at the studio and in the neighborhood. And it looks like we'll have enough dried fruit to last until next year I am sure of it. 

Not sure if pears are stamina food, but they seem to have been keeping Robin going this weekend with all the hours he's been putting in at school. They fired off the train kiln last night. The firing crew included this suspicious looking pair, Bobby and Christa. 

The three of them filled the kiln on Saturday morning with their functional wares, bowls, cups, bottles and a whole whack of teapots. Robin has a crit coming up in the next couple weeks, his first of the year, so it'll be great to have some finished work for that. 

After a slice of pear and blueberry pie and a glass of two buck Chuck last night, I headed off to bed and Robin headed back to the kiln to throw a few more logs on the fire.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wood prep

Robin is getting ready to fire the train kiln this coming weekend so he's been busy this week firing bisque kilns, glazing and of course doing wood prep. The wood situation in this town is perplexing, especially since this program seems to have been built on it's reputation for wood firing. And when you wood fire, need wood! It seems the only wood that is easy to come by and affordable is cottonwood at the city dump - not an ideal species for high fire kilns. 

The students always seem to find/get/buy the wood they need though when it comes to firing the kilns. After all, that's what they're here to do. Fellow grad, Sunshine is also firing this weekend, the catenary arch wood kiln (not unlike the one we have back home in the Kootenays). It'll be a smokey weekend in the kiln compound, and who knows, there is even talk about firing up the pizza oven.  

Monday, September 14, 2009

Deja Vu

Remember this? 

Turns out the seasons are slightly different down here in the semi-desert zone. The growing season is longer to say the least. We've been harvesting basil! Our neighbors Ed and Marilyn generously loaded us up on enough basil for us to whip up some pesto for supper tonight, and then some.... 

We've been supplying the neighborhood with pears this past week, our tree in the backyard is heavy with fruit an I've been spending more time picking the overripened ones off the ground than up in the tree. So when we showed up on Marilyn's doorstep with pears and discovered that they happened to be her favorite fruit, she gifted us with a whole harvesting from her own garden. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Just tucked two very tired little people into bed after pulling their limp exhausted bodies out of their car seats, several hours past their bed time, and not a peep from either of them in the transition from car to bed. We've been festivalling! The last couple days seem to have had more of an agenda than most weeks do for us. 

Friday morning started out with a hike up Green Canyon with our friends Kate and her two kiddies. We didn't anticipate getting very far because we were all on foot, including Roscoe and his similarly pint sized friend Maggie. We stopped to check out many leaves and rocks and sticks along the trail, but I have to say they did pretty good. Then later that afternoon we picked up Robin and headed over to the campus where they were having a kids festival for USU families. Various departments put together plenty of child friendly crafts and activities which kept Isla and Roscoe well entertained, their favorite booth was the fishing pond. My favorites were watching Isla eat a dried cricket at the Anthropology booth, and seeing a gummy bear explode after being injected with some liquid at the Physics booth. 

Then this morning we rode to the Gardener's Market to purchase our weekly produce. Luckily we ran into some neighbors that happily agreed to bring our veggies home with them in their car. I was thankful to not have to pull the additional weight up the big hill home since I was hauling the bike trailer with the two kids in it.  Isla and Roscoe are heavy enough as it is, its a pretty darn big hill and it is corn and peach season after all. 

Our afternoon took us out Logan Canyon to the local ski hill, Beaver Mountain, where they were hosting the first annual Beaver Mountain outdoor music festival. We didn't get their until after 4 p.m. and I was anticipating a short stay, but the kids were troopers and they danced, ran around, ate junk food, played foosball and danced some more until they both insisted on being carried around at which point I decided it was probably time to head home. I think tomorrow we'll likely lay low. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Onggi Adam

Our good friend Adam Field has been staying with us all this week. Adam is another one of these clay junkies that Robin met way back at a workshop at the Archie Bray and he is currently on a month long ceramics focused tour, with his first stop - Logan Utah! 

Adam came up to fire two kilns here at the school, the salt and soda, with a body of work that he'll be showing at Trax Gallery in California that opens this coming weekend. He certainly burned the midnight oil while he was here, staying up late each night glazing and loading and firing off the two kilns. I had a chance to sneak over and check out his wares the morning after he unloaded and it looks like it'll be sweet show. 

While he's at Trax he's also offering a Korean Onggi ware workshop. In 2008, while living in Korea, Adam did a 10 month apprenticeship with Onggi Master Kim Il Mann. Onggi is a Korean pottery tradition (earthenware) for making large storage vessels for everyday use (storage for pickled vegetables, bean pastes, soy sauces etc). The technique used to make these jars is what is so amazing, because the method produces monumental sized jars in very little time. 

Adam has become quite well known for this video that he made and put up on You Tube that shows this method of making Onggi ware.

After that he's got three more workshops before he heads back to Durango, CO to pick up his son Juno and then the two of them head over to Korea to meet up with his wife Heesoo who is expecting their second baby this fall! Whew, and I thought my life was exhausting. Good luck to you Adam, it was great to hang out this week. 

Monday, September 7, 2009

A day in Idaho

This morning we took some friends up on an offer to tag along with them for the day and spent our holiday Monday paddling along a river about an hour's drive north of Logan, near Preston Idaho. Robin opted for a productive day in the studio, but was surely missed, although I don't think we could have squeezed one more person in the canoe. 

Our friends Caroline and Mark are avid paddlers and spent much of their leisure time kayaking and canoeing these parts. Their daughter Arianne and Isla are very good little pals and Isla couldn't think of a better way than to spend the day - in a boat with her friend and a whole bunch of snacks and toys. 

Some other neighbors came along as well with their daughter, who couldn't resist the toy/snack boat either, so we totalled 6 in the canoe. Needless to say, we were riding a little low in the river, and even high centered ourselves on a rock at one point. 
We decided to leave Roscoe with our friend Lisa on shore, as she had her 1 month old baby girl with her. But we made sure Roscoe got some canoe time in himself at the pull out so that he didn't feel too left out of the excitement.

After the paddling adventure we headed straight for the hotsprings nearby and spent the remainder of the day climbing stairs and riding a 6 storey tube waterslide. It was the strangest operation I've ever seen - Riverside Resort is a public swimming spot with a series of hot pools of varying temperatures, and a giant spiraling tube waterslide as it's main feature, in the middle of this tiny farm town in southeastern Idaho. Both Isla and Roscoe loved it and kept dragging me back up almost as soon as we hit the water. I can already tell my thighs aren't going to be as thrilled tomorrow morning. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Big bed for Belly

Since arriving back in Utah a few weeks ago, I have noticed a certain little person making a presence in our bed more and more during the middle of the night. Some nights I give in and just let her crawl in beside me and we both easily fall back asleep. Then there are other nights that I lay awake gasping for air as I am sandwiched between two heaters. 

I decided that beyond an incentive for her to sleep the entire night in her own bed, she is probably ready for a bigger bed. So we talked up the idea for a few days, did a bit of research on mattress prices and then chose today to make the purchase. We took advantage of all the big labour day weekend sales and got a pretty good mattress for a fair price. 

What was even more fun was taking her out to buy sheets. Why am I not surprised that we came home with a hot pink comforter to boot? It's boldness has inspired me to get working on her first quilt this winter. I may have to enlist the help of my mom, an expert quilter, at least to get me going on the project. 

Isla was pretty excited tonight at bedtime, even stopped me short of finishing her story before bed to say she was ready to go to sleep.  

And it'll sure beat sleeping on the floor! 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tea time

Robin submitted his proposal this week for his graduate studio class and I expect our lone teapot that we brought down with us is soon to find some competition. The graduates have to outline their intentions at the beginning of each semester as to how they plan to focus those endless hours they put in over there. 

Robin's idea has been to focus on 'pouring vessels', beginning with teapots, coffee pots and then move on to pitchers. This summer he made a whack load of them for the studio sale we had at our place and I think the process of making those forms again after a year of concentrating on the larger pieces worked up his appetite to make some more this fall. The photos are some quick shots he took of some of the work he had at the sale. 

Besides he insists there is no better person to be making teapots under the watchful eye of -  John Neely - a teapot master. Robin is really looking forward to pushing along his forms and getting them into crit with John. 

John has a show up right now with AKAR, where you can see his current body of work. AKAR is likely the leading ceramics gallery in the country, based out of of Iowa city which began as an architectural practice which then bridged to open a gallery and design store not limited to ceramics, but certainly with strong clay representation. It's online presence is huge for ceramic artists and collectors. Perhaps one day there might be a DuPont pot or two available on AKAR! 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A parent's worst fear

I got a phone call this morning from Isla's teacher at her preschool that there had been a fire in the building this morning, of course everyone was safe and had been evacuated immediately, and I was to pick her up at a different location. What??? News article

Turns out it was a small kitchen fire that mostly just filled the building with smoke. The kids were quickly gathered up and taken across the street to the University's Spectrum - the indoor Basketball stadium and spent a hour playing with basketballs until they were eventually bussed to the public safety building on campus since they weren't able to go back to the building. 

When I picked her up she seemed happy to see me and to realize an end to her dramatic morning. That's a lot for a little one to absorb. She later shared with us over dinner that she thought she'd like to be a firefighter one day. So it must not have been too terribly traumatic. She also seemed excited to have got to ride a bus, and to take home a USU Junior police officer sticker.  

She went off to bed tonight without a worry, her belly full of ice cream. I'm just happy she's safe in her bed.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Anniver-soiree!

Tonight there was a big party, it included wine and fine Italian cuisine and a smashing couple all dolled up to hit the town in honor of their 8th wedding anniversary. Robin and I were the only two party guests invited - and for good reason. It was actually a fairly impromptu decision, I was tickled when we were able to rally our neighbors to take on the kidlets for the dinner hour (or two) which left us free to go out. 

We headed off to a local joint that the locals rave about, a little classier choice than Angie's Diner or the Olive Garden. This place, Le Nonne, offered ambiance AND amazing cuisine. We had a great waiter and since our night out began early enough in the evening to accommodate for small children, we even had the pick of the patio as to where to sit. 

The place actually had a very similar feel and calibre to a favorite back home in Nelson, The All Season's Cafe. Even the outdoor patio had a familiar set up beneath a canopy of over arching trees. Once owned by some good friends, and another connection to the place was with our very good friend Adam who is still the head chef, the place was always our top pick for a special night out. I fondly remember several anniversary dinners being served up at the All Seasons in the past 8 years, so it was only fitting that we fall upon a place much like it tonight. 
We toasted one another on the past eight years of marriage and to the next eight months of the school year ahead. One thing is for sure - we both know how lucky we are to have found and held on to one another in this crazy so called life.