Making more pots for Xmas Sale

Janine and I are back in the studio making more pots to re-stock the shelves for the next Open Studio Weekends coming up on the first two weekends of December.

While I am back throwing on the wheel. I am making a vanity basin for my friends Roxanne and John Lillis who lost their house in the Black Summer Fires, on the same day that we lost all our pottery, sheds, orchard etc.

I wanted to do something nice for them and their new house which is currently nearing completion. I wasn’t able to be of much assistance during the construction, as we were flat out working here to get our building done. So I promised that I would make them a bathroom vanity basin. This is my 2nd attempt, as the first one cracked. I will use it as a pot planter, as it has a hole in the bottom ready to go.

I have to make the hole in the base 12.5% larger then the plug fitting, as this clay shrinks that much. Actually, I’m making it 13.5% bigger , just to make sure that it will fit easily. Silicon hides all manner of sloppiness, if it turns out to be a little bit too big 🙂

With all this warm wet rainy weather, the garden is growing faster than we can find the time to weed it. So it’s looking a little bit neglected and over grown. I will have a garden blitz as soon as the open studio weekends are over.

In the mean time there has been a wonderful crop of artichokes. The just kept on coming and coming. These last few were a little bit past their best and getting a little bit wooly with lots of choke fluff. I peeled them, split them and extracted the ‘choke’ them boiled them and dressed them with a slightly soft mustard flavoured mayonnaise like sauce. something new for me. I liked it and will try it again.

I mixed a pretty standard olive oil and sherry vinegar dressing, added a spoonful of mayonnaise and a spoonful of dijon mustard, whisked it all together. Instant, easy and very delicately flavoured to go with the artichoke hearts.

For breakfast I’ve recently got a taste for an unusual combination of umami flavours. I toast a slice of my home baked rye bread and spread a little bit of aka miso over the toast, then a thin spread of Japanese fermented seaweed paste, and finally some organic, un-hulled tahini. It’s really savoury and very nice. I wonder if I’m lacking some sort of mineral in my diet, to make me want to eat this unusual combination?

We picked the last of the broad beans yesterday. They are such a wonderful springtime treat. The season is so short. Broadbeans are so particular. If I plant them too early, they flower and flower, but refuse to set any beans. If I plant them too late, they refuse to germinate in the cooler soil. I don’t know if it is my particular situation here and my terroir, or if other veggie gardeners find the same thing? I have just got used to them flowering for some time until the conditions are right for them to set beans. The ripening of the beans always seems to coincide with the winter/spring (sprinter) winds. Just when they are tall and laden with a heavy crop of beans, the winds come and knock them all over. I’ve learnt to stake the plot and run some rope around the plants to keep them vertical.

This spring I grew the same red flowering and purple podded peas that we have been growing here for years. Collecting our own seeds each summer as the plants dry off, so as to replant the following year.

We probably have just one more picking of the peas before the hot weather arrives to desiccate them. However, it seems that this year is declared to be a La Nina event year, so the onset of the heat mat be delayed. Apparently we can look forward to a wet and steamy beginning to summer.
Even though the garden looks like it is more or less abandoned, there is always something to pick for dinner in amongst the weeds.  The blue berry bushes are loaded and just starting to ripen. we can pick a punnet every other day at the moment, but there will soon come a time are the season peaks that we will be eating blueberries in everything and even preserving some.

Even though the garden looks like it is more or less abandoned, there is always something to pick for dinner in amongst the weeds. We are always so busy. There is always something to do. I can’t imagine that I will ever find my self being bored!