We have just finished our 5th weekend workshop in so many weeks, with only three more double-weekend high temperature woodfiring workshops to go before the fire restrictions cut in again for another year. For this workshop today, I have made ‘The King’ a new kiln out of spare parts and off-cuts. A bigger version of Stefan Jakob’s ‘Ikea’ garbage bin kiln concept. Stefan is a genius kiln maker and raku potter from Switzerland. He is one of the most impressive people that I have ever met. Check out Stefan’s site here; <http://www.raku.ch> Keramik & Animation.
If you are in Switzerland or Germany, get along to one of his amazing workshops. I’m sure that you won’t regret it.
For this new ‘improved’ version of Stefan’s kiln. I’ve made a stainless steel box and lid from off-cuts of stainless steel — because I can. Then lined it with 50mm. of ‘soluble’ ceramic fibre. It sits on a fire brick base that is the fire box and fitted with an old cast iron grill as fire bars. It’s all rather Heath Robinson, but works a treat. It’s at least 4 times larger than the original and fires just as easily.
We are well into the winter season and well past the solstice, but still no frost as yet. Only down to zero, but not minus oC as yet. We are eating our way through the cauliflowers. The second planting of the broccoli, which is well on its way, and just this night, we have had our first pick of Brussels sprouts.
They are so slow compared to other brassica plants. We have cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts, all in their rows.
All the citrus are ripening now and The King has made the first batch of Royal marmalade. We are also having a mix of citrus fruits for breakfast as well.
We zest the skins before cutting them up for breakfast.
Marmalade is so nice with coffee and toast on a winters morning.
Working so hard in the pottery and garden, getting my own work ready to fire tomorrow, cutting and splitting the wood for the firings and the for the workshops to come. Teaching the weekend workshops and fitting everything else in as well, we find that we are quite ‘bushed’ tonight after we come in from the last of our weekend workshop raku firing. It’s been quite cold and windy. So that now we have cleaned up and come inside, we light the fires, shower off the raku smoke smell and get warm.
We get quite tired after days like this and it is all we can do to get ourselves along to the veggie garden in the darkening gloom to pick the nights dinner, but we do. There is no other option. We are being self-reliant. The shops are all closed by now and they are all 30 kms away anyway, and it’s Sunday night, so that isn’t going to happen in a hurry.
We have beetroots to roast, potatoes to boil, along with Brussels sprouts, and a fish to steam. It all works well and we are proud to be able to enjoy such bounty from our own back yard. It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to feed our selves like this.
After dinner we both plonk ourselves down onto a seat in front of the idiot box to watch something or other on the TV or a DVD, I don’t know what and I’m past caring. We are going to veg out, we are too tired to do anything intellectual or meaningful.
This day is over and we’ve done enough, all we are good for is a seat and two veg.
Best wishes from the pale and waxy Mr ‘Dutch Cream-Kipfler’ and his regal (Janine)King Edward, the couch potatoes.