Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snow Kiln

Snow, snow and more snow. In fact it is still snowing as I write. The past few days I have been spending about an hour each day pulling snow off roofs. Then shoveling it away. Another few inches and it will be waist deep on me. This is about twice what we usually get in a Winter. This is supposed to be the rain-shadow of the Coast Range. Now my poor kiln is also covered in the stuff. Only good part is that the water content is pretty low. Plus the fact that it would be -46 C like it is a bit to the North of us and beyond this storm track.
I was asked about the measurements of this kiln. Inside the chamber is 64 inches by 28 wide and 24 ish high. 9 courses high on the inside. Because it is made of used (very used) hardbrick there is mortar between the courses and that adds to the height. It is 9 inches thick. The Bourry Box has hobs. On top I use kiln shelves, a layer of soft brick then several layers of fiber blanket. The plans for this kiln were in Laid Back Wood-firing by Steve Harrison. I would recommend both the book and the kiln to anyone wanting to build a simple yet easy to fire kiln.Steve is very accessible and helpful. I have seen pots he fired for 16 hours in one of these kilns that are ringers for 4 day anagama fired work. Tons of ash and great flashing. I fire both 'naked' and glazed work and it works well for both.
It was so cold after my last firing that I neglected the usual clean up, thought it could wait until the Spring. As my studio is closed up until March it won't be until at least May before we fire again.
In the planning process for building two new kilns. One will be a gas conversion of an ancient Duncan electric and the other a 14.5 cu. ft.Flat Top. One will be updraft and the other crossdraft fired with propane. Too many days with the fire hazard up in the high and extreme range for wood firing so this will give me some options. Also will be able to do more frequent testing.
Meanwhile it is back to tend the wood stove and watch the snow come down.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

-40 Today, Time for Summer Memories

 A bit fuzzy, but the cranberries were huge this year. Best crop I have seen in over 40 years of picking them.
 More than 40 lbs. in this photo. Altogether we picked over 130 lbs. of different kinds of berries. All now frozen, canned or dried.these are Lingonberries, also know as low bush Cranberries, our favorite.
 On the Takhini River, east of Whitehorse and a little South, near Kusawa Lake. Camped, fished and picked berries. Quiet and beautiful.
 Some of my 'Stargazer" Oriental lilies. The blooms are huge, fragrant and just plain beautiful!
 We have gone soft in our old age. Pretty much had it with sleeping in a tent on the ground. Got our "Hawk" 4 Wheel Camper in June. Spent lots of time in it. Very minimal but all that we need.Much higher level of comfort than we're used to. We lived in it for over three weeks in the Fall on our trip to Alberta and B.C. Loved every minute! You do need to be organized in such a small place, but really, a furnace? Wonderful!!
Last but best. New change rooms and deck at Liard Hot Springs. Went down there a couple of times for multiple days. Never gets old!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Sales

 Cleaning shelves, got to be the worst job in pottery. This time it was angle grinder all the way.
 Kiln was in super-reduce mode, not good! Lots of refires in the back due to not enough air in the front. Did two back to back firings in the most horrible weather.
 And this is why. When I 'fixed' the top I made the air holes smaller than they were before. They were much bigger because the metal was warped and had opened up really big.....maybe that was why I got to temp hours faster than ever before??? Duh, and the fix was a f.....up.Off to my welder friend to open them up. Wish I still had all the wood I wasted. Oh well, live and learn!
 Don't have very much of this stuff left. I had left some home for the following sales and it's all gone too. Had lots of orders plus the sales. Really happy about it all. This was the first, over 4,000 people came. Considering the entire Yukon population is 33,000 I'd say that was good attendance!
Scarves, pots and dog fur hats. Ready for a rest. My next project is either buying or building a small propane fired kiln. I have 150 soft brick. Getting the bricks is the hard part. Sure I could make something that would work. Anyhow, now is the time to think and plan, building would be in the Spring. Tonight is supposed to get to -25 and colder the next few days. Last day of school is the 20 th.Time for a holiday!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Still Summer.....but the end is near.

 Harvest of first eggplants. Already dried and canned 60 lbs. of tomatoes, most of broccoli, cauliflowers and loads of mixed vegies. Garden looking a bit on the worn side. Still lots to go!
 Fall scarfs.

 Otter Falls. This beautiful waterfall used to be on the Canadian $5 bill. When they built a hydro damn on the river and messed it up they changed the bill! It had been raining when we went up there so the falls were 'on'.
Alaska Highway going North just out of Haines Junction, Yukon. Nice! Once our chickens are all in the freezer it becomes the time for lots of trips around the Territory. Trying out some new fly patterns. Drawing the same isn't the fly, it's your ability to cast and knowing how to 'fish' the fly.
Next week we'll be going South on the highway to Liard Hot Springs. Can't wait!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Silk Dyeing Workshop

 Cow with a new baby we saw a week or so ago.
 Some of my new latest work. Still having fun....
 Pottery shop transformed into a dyeing workshop.
 Too many colours to choose from!
 One of the three Lindas and her excellent work for the day.
More happy participants and their best efforts.

  Really nice day working with my old and new friends doing a silk scarf dyeing workshop. Sorry I didn't get photos of everyone's work. It was an all day effort. I was dead beat when I got home. The worst part is always packing up my shop here and transporting it to the school. Then packing it back up again to take back home. We will probably be doing another session sometime later in the Summer using natural dyes. Seems like I am going back to my roots......Been a few years but the knowledge and experience is always there. Will try to modernize it using the microwaves. I would never use it for food. As a tool for dyeing fibre/fabric-can't be beat!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Big Fly Order Finished!

There were so many boxes of flies that it was difficult to photograph them. From the smallest grayling/trout fly to the huge pike flies, here they are. Or were....all are now in the store in Whitehorse. After 30 years this is the last order for Sports North. They sold their building and are winding down the business in November and moving to Costa Rica!! Meanwhile there won't be any place to buy fishing stuff left. Who knows what will be happening next year!!
Back at the ranch I will start making pottery again tomorrow. It was -15 last night but will be warming up over the next week. Also silk scarves will get underway. Lots of developments coming up for the Summer.
Today was a typical Yukon spring day. Blue sky and lots of warmth in the sun.The swans are back. Won't be long and we will have leaves and all the birds will be back. Then the next flock will be the tourists. That will really be Summer!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Coming Up for Air

It has been a very busy almost four months since Christmas. I did a 1,200 piece pike fly order, then a sale in Whitehorse, a large scarf order and am just finishing a 5,500 plus fly order. Just 150 to go!! Meanwhile getting the greenhouse going and starting way too many plants. Seems to be a habit I can't break. Yesterday I took a break from it all and spent the day dyeing scarves with a couple of my friends at the school in Carcross.
The weather has been much cooler than average so the snow is still with us. Today was bright and sunny and melting! It was 4 outside and 30 in the greenhouse. I went truant on the job and spent the day transplanting. This morning I hosted a field trip for the K-4 class to the greenhouse. We planted seeds and I let them eat some of my lettuce and mustard plants. They wanted to eat them all! It was great fun. I do pottery with them on Thursdays so they are all my buddies.
The top photo is of the mouse imitation. Works great! Pike love them. Next post will be when I finish the last fly order, hopefully with a photo of them all. Won't know what to do after every waking moment working.