We have been active in the late summer garden, everything is growing it’s head off. The Lovely just picked two and a half kilos of beans. I took most of them straight down to Biota for Geordie to use in the restraunt. We have delivered baskets full of various veggies over the last few weeks, aubegines, zucchinis, mini orange pumpkins, sweet basil and bundles of shiso.
At this time of year we are getting the full abundance of the late summer heat. We have had regular rain falls all through the summer, so we just can’t eat it all. We bottle, dry and preserve a lot of it, but it is always nice to be able to give away our excess to our neighbours and friends as well.
The chefs at Biota are high-end creative and flexible people, they simply invent a dish for that day that will use what we take in. It’s a one-day special on the menu till it’s all gone.
The summer garden has been feeding us with lots of lovely meals, like pan fried, stuffed zucchini flowers and baked capsicums stuffed with ricotta, our own dried tommatos herbs and spices.
I’m back to work in the kiln factory again now. Warren and I put in a 5 day straight effort and almost finished the first one of the current pair of frames sitting in the shed.
I make all my own firebricks for my own kilns, but when it comes to building kilns for other potters, then I buy in commercial light weight insulating refractory firebricks. They come all packaged on a wooden pallet. I end up with lots of these used pallets. Some from ‘loscam’ and ‘chep’ are deposited and can be returned or exchanged to retrieve the deposit, but these days a lot more coming in on one-off, single-use, non-returnable pallets. I’ve been thinking how I can get some value out of these pallets. The last resort is to break them up and fire the kiln with them. This is OK, as long as they are only heat treated and not copper chrome treated ‘green’ timber. The ‘green’ treated timber can only be taken to the tip for burrial, and at some expense. A total waste. Fortunately, we don’t see any of these green treated ones turning up anymore, they are all heat-treated these days, so OK for burning.
This last week I disembled one after we had used all the bricks off it to build the kiln and them re-cycled the timber into the arch formwork for the kiln. I even recycled all the nails from the pallet to re-assemble the arch form work.
We finish the day with a 3 rice rissoto and summer garden excess.
lightly browned home grown onion and garlic in olive oil, red ,brown and white rice, deglazed with a cup of white wine, enriched with a chunk of my frozen marrow bone stock and softened with a pan full of stock, simmered down from what was left from yesterdays baked fish lunch.
I serve it on Clive Bowen slipware plates with steamed sword fish and a dollop of Janine’s freshly made basil pesto.
This latest kiln will be ready by the end of the week, so that I can start on the next one in the queue. I’d rather be making pots just now, but I know that I will need to pay out a lot of bills starting this week. Rego, insurance, council rates, land tax and the BAS statement, are all coming due. Just like so many creative types, I’m caught in the creative dilemma. Working for money to support my habit. My ceramic habit!
Did you hear the one about the potter who won the big lottery?
He said that it wouldn’t change his life at all.
He would just keep on making pots till all the money was used up!
At least we have a great life here working for ourselves, we don’t have to go to work for a boss! We live on a very low income, but have a millionaires quality of life. Last year we got a special tax concession of $500 from the tax dept. because we were living below the poverty line. We don’t think of ourselves as being in poverty. We’ve chosen this frugal austerity.
This Friday we’re having a day ‘off’, This will be our ‘weekend’. The Lovely and I will be firing the little portable wood fired kiln for its second outing. I’ve performed a bit of surgery on it to improve it a little more. At least I hope so. We’ll do a longer firing this time, we want to see if there can be some nice surface flashing if we fire for long enough? We’ll see what happens.
best wishes from doctor Steve and his very patient Janine
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