And, suddenly, it's December. Cats cluster around the heater vents, and the bears are shaking out their Christmas stockings.

We're already two weeks into Holiday Market, and starting to worry about re-stock. Fortunately, we load the glaze kiln today, just in time to unload Friday night for this weekend.

It's been a hectic couple of weeks, since Clayfolk, particularly after I realized we were meant to be unloading the kiln December 7, not loading. Fourteen-hour days in the studio, making and trimming and handling pots, moving pots around, trying to dry pots in front of the space heater or on top of the kiln. Only blew up one baker in the bisque firing, which is an accomplishment, considering.

Started glazing finally Wednesday evening, more long days down at Club Mud, averaging fifty or sixty pieces per day. Thank God for Denise--because she was willing to work at Holiday Market while I glazed, we're able to load the kiln only a day late.

I'm constantly grateful for her help. Like a farmer's wife is a farmer, too, Denise is a potter, even if she doesn't sit down at the wheel and do the high-profile, flashy part. She helps. She helps recycle clay, and load kilns, and sort and count pots and sit the booth and sell pots, frankly better than I do sometimes. I don't know how this family business would run without her.

When I'm writing these posts, and I say we, I'm not being precious, or authorial, or imperial.

Just honest.

And Last, But Not Least...

Our last event of the 2017 Holiday Season! Saturday Market's Holiday Market, at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene. The Market is open 10 am-6 pm, Saturday's and Sundays, plus the last three days before Christmas. We'll finally close for the season at 4 pm Christmas Eve. And collapse into bed for some well-deserved rest.

Encore Pattern of the Month:

As fall drifts toward winter, flocks of small birds are swarming through our trees: bushtits, juncos, and, of course, chickadees...

The Sounds of Memory

I went time-traveling this morning, cast adrift by a sound that echoed out of the mist above my head. I found myself back on my Grandpa's farm, a little place scratched out of the pine woods near Fairchild, Wisconsin.

Visiting Grandpa Flick was always an adventure; I don't think his place had changed much since World War II. He never had indoor plumbing, so we used to fight for the privilege of swinging on the handle of the cast-iron pump and catching ice-cold water to drink in the handle-less tin dipper.

Of course, that meant we had to patronize that other exemplar of outdoor plumbing: the weathered wood outhouse, back by the garage. I remember the splintery seat, the big brown spider spinning a web above the door, the can of barn lime you dashed down the hole in the summer to keep the smell more or less under control.

Unlike our farm, Grandpa didn't have any close neighbors. It seemed like the forest crowded in right up to the fence-line, thick and dark and impenetrable. Strange noises came out of it, screams and chitters and a harsh, almost metallic "deed-deed-deed." I imagined all manner of creatures, from lynx to bobcat to pterodactyl (I always was an imaginative child), just on the other side of the barbed wire.

Today, of course, I recognize the screams and chitters as blue jays and red squirrels, disputing over who had title to all the ripe pine seeds. And that eerie, metallic three-note call belongs to the chickadees that flocked invisible in the fog above my head this morning.

Chickadees have been visible on my pottery lately, on plates, pastas and pie dishes, mugs and bowls, bakers and cookie jars, pitchers and sugar bowls.


See other patterns...