Monday, September 22, 2014
My parents live in the middle of nowhere, thousands of acres of forest surround them. And a few farms. If you drive a few miles, you come across a village of 300 with a post office, gas station, cafe, bank, general store and school. The ice cream stand closed a few years ago. ANYWAY, except for 100+ years ago when there were about 100 farms in that town (maybe 7 now), it has always been empty and remote and forested (history of the area, click here).
My sister was in the middle of Muller State forest recently and came across an old state historical marker describing that area as the former estate of the Muller family, a French nobleman...!!! Apparently 200 years ago, Muller ran from France with a barrel of gold and silver and bought 2700 acres of remote forest (it is still remote forest) and built himself a chateau of logs, hiring 150 men in the process, and proceeded to live there with his family as if it was a fortress. After a couple of years Napoleon was defeated and they all moved back to France.... read the history, it is pretty darn interesting.
SO anyway, the original house burned down in 1907. What is left of it is difficult to locate. The wife and I went to the marker and started hiking into the woods. We followed a path up a hill and...never saw a thing. Until we got to the top and found a huge pond (small lake!) that was just a gorgeous gem, utterly beautiful and isolated. And not on any maps, seemingly with no name. We figured we would return down the path and look around more carefully, and YES, we found the ruins of the chateau. In the woods there are some depressions and rectangular shapes dug into the forest floor, with many foundation rocks (no doubt people have been scrounging for treasure there for a long time). I should have taken a picture, because we also saw a brick. Half a brick. I will return and look around more carefully, but on Saturday I was feeling a little Blair Witch Project, as you sometimes feel when in the middle of the spooky nowhere......
Sunday, September 21, 2014
OK, so sure, a cheesy tourist type photo...I had to deliver pots to Cooperstown Art Association on Saturday, and I have shown you pictures of that. In the gorgeous lakeside park is a statue from James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Penny and I make a convincing statue, hmm? Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
I have been fiddling around with calzones this week...gluten-free doughs tend to be more wet and sticky than wheat doughs, and you need to roll out calzone dough to make a turnover. Based upon the original gluten-free on a shoestring pizza recipe, with added potato starch and an egg, huzzah! A nice, soft, flexible, AWESOME calzone dough. I made them twice, for one of those 4 meals in a row yummy weeks.... the filling is a ricotta like mix of soy with sauteed eggplant, tomato, spinach and olives and WAY TOO much spice... oh GOODness....
The wife was reminding me of what I was thinking all day:
"when we started dating you fed me calzones and I WAS GONE, totally fell for you..."
so there is some history there! If only macho men realized that a good woman will lose her heart for you not because you have a monster truck but because you are a master chef....
In other news, frost was predicted last night. Seems pretty damn EARLY, you know? I don't know yet if we have frost but temps do seem to be in the 30s. My Cali and Florida friends are like "WTF, 30s in SEPTEMBER???". The world overall has had a hot year but upstate NY has been a mite chilly....
I took down the screen doors and made pumpkin bread. That sh!t usually happens in October...sigh...
Anyway, our neighbors madly harvested tomatoes and we got SO MANY and I made a quick pot of marinara sauce OH GOSH the house smells good... have a great weekend!
Thursday, September 18, 2014
I love those old maps, where Europeans drew dragons and monsters at the margins of exploration... sorta like "OK we don't know what's west of Buffalo, so probably it is DRAGONS!".
AND the Welsh flag is maybe the coolest in the world.
SO my old pal Susan writes to say she will visit from Kentucky next week. To work backwards:
Susan asked a couple of years ago if I could make her a dragon grudge pot: a sphere she had in mind with a dragon head where she could write about people who make her mad on slips of paper then burn them inside the dragon to, you know, chill out and maybe the grudge would go up in smoke and ease her mind.
So, with her visit, she wanted 2 more.
But working backwards, as I say, who is she? One of the first people I met age 17 as a Bennington College freshman. There was a party at her dorm next to mine and I was covered with clay. I had just discovered pottery and the college open studios and was covered with the stuff (a badge of honor at my college was to be covered with artsy fartsy crap....JD Salinger who wrote CATCHER IN THE RYE said the very thing in his story FRANNY AND ZOOEY "......Bennington or Sarah Lawrence girl who looked like she’d spent the whole train ride in the john, sculpting or painting or something”)
I went to college to meet that girl and BECOME, um, that girl....
Susan asked me what I had been doing and I said "throwing pots" and she mistook it for some new way of enjoying weed (which is probably true for some potters and t0kers...).
We had many of the same classes. Bennington is a tiny college, less than 600 students when we were there, but many students I never met even if I saw them around, and others I saw all the time, like Susan. We both student taught in the same kindergarten for over a year, and my sophmore year we had rooms next to each other in an off campus house. Havn't seen her since, like, 1986..... ANYWAY, so she got me thinking about dragons. I find dragons amusing some of the time, although when it comes to stuff like that, you probably know all too well I am more a GODZILLA type of guy.
I made her 2 grudge pots...they are COOLER than the first one. These will let the smoke out of their nostrils and mouth!
And they got me thinking about dragon mugs....I think these things KICK ASS. All 4 are already sold, but I like them a LOT and am making more.....
(pottery by Gary Rith)
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
SO, like I was saying yesterday, I do not do much wholesaling (selling a special order of multiple items to a gallery at a discount). But I DO with Tom's, a favorite store of mine in Binghamton, NY.... brought them 6 boxes Tuesday, which as you see on the table, is a LOT of my stuff. The pic with me shows the last couple of items I had there on the top shelf.
My goodness they treat me like a king. Tom is an old 60s radical who opened a groovy emporium and....the decades have past, and he still has a VERY groovy emporium, lucky me!
- Chateau Muller..?
- Indian Hunter and his dog...
- cute in real life, almost as cute in clay :)
- the way to woo a woman: CALZONES as comfort food....
- DRAGONS: here there be monsters!
- speaking of wholesale....
- "much too expensive" vs. "you don't charge enough"...
- what an AWESOME harvest: gluten-free and vegan las...
- not QUITE a hurricane....
- wine, pottery, music?!
- what do you follow?
- what happens when we glaze....
- the only thing cuter than a BEAGLE is a beagle PUP...
- apple pie minus the pie!
- 1969 part TWO
- 1969....part one!
- the HIGH and the LOW....
- extraordinary things....
- muggy once again....
- next month the snow starts to fly....
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