Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Corn and Concrete

It's been a busy week, yet again. Today Megan and Jaedon came out and we put up freezer corn. I haven't done it for probably 10 years!! It brought back a lot of memories! It had been so long, I almost forgot the procedure!! I found my old recipe scribbled on a sheet of paper stuck in my cookbook. It called for 12 C. of corn and luckily I had written down that it would take approx. 4 dozen ears of corn. What I didn't write down is that I really only needed about 18 ears of corn to end up with 12 C. of corn kernels, but I bet I used to buy 4 dozen ears so I could make 3 batches. It's not really worth going to all the trouble if you don't make several batches!

I did remember how messy it is! So we shucked the ears and cut the kernels off the cob outside. There was silk, and corn husks everywhere and we both had to clean our glasses off because the juice from the corn tends to spray everywhere!

Putting up freezer corn is a great thing to do with a friend (or family member - or BOTH!) When Megan was a little girl, my friend, Becky would come out to the house and bring all her kids, and they would run around and play outside while we did the corn. The shucking is probably the most time consuming part, but it provides a great opportunity to have some meaningful conversation and enjoy a beautiful day!

I would imagine that when women used to can and freeze on a regular basis, it would
turn into a bit of a social event with a friend or neighbor. It makes it more fun! Usually when I make freezer jam, I do it alone 'cos it's pretty quick and easy. But freezer corn is definitely a job for 2 people.

Jaedon was his usual angelic self for us and slept like (what else?) a baby!! He's really starting to get smiley and even is beginning to laugh out loud! Grampa made him happy by playing peek-a-boo.

The kiln is still progressing too. Scott came out again last Sunday and Steve used the second grinder we purchased and we ground more bricks. We've
made a pretty good dent in them and should be able to finish with one more session. The weather was cloudy and cool, unfortunately it wasn't as windy as the previous week, so the dust and sand didn't blow away as easily. We all looked like tired ghosts when we were done, and I noticed a slight cloud of dust hovering behind us as we moved around the yard. It reminded me of the "Pigpen" character on Charlie Brown.

Day before yesterday Steve and I got to work preparing the area where we poured the slab for the kiln to sit on. We decided that the sandy site where the above ground pool sat would be the perfect spot for the kiln. We spent most of the morning digging the footer, a trench about 9-12 inches deep and about as wide as a shovel. We're making the slab 10'x18' in size. The kiln will be quite a bit smaller than that, but we're going to put a roof over top and will use it for a picnic area when I'm not firing.

Steve probably dug 3/4 of it and I helped with one corner and the short side. He thought it would be funny to hold his "achin' back" when I took the picture. It turned out to be a prophetic pose because the next morning when he bent over to tie his shoes, he threw his back out!! I had tried to talk him into renting a little back-hoe but he insisted he could do it. I told him that I had no doubts about his abilities, I was just concerned about his back. So, I must've had a premonition (or wifely intuition or whatever "ition" you want to call it!) I knew exactly what had happened when he walked into the bedroom to put his shoes on and a minute later I heard him say (through clenched teeth) "D - &*%$# -!! Son-of-a-b&*%$!!!"

"Did you throw your back out?" I hollered. He a
nswered with a disgusted sounding yes and I walked into the room to find him lying on his stomach on the floor arching his back and groaning. Uh-oh, the concrete is supposed to arrive in a few hours!!

Luckily he wasn't rendered completely immobile, and my trusty friend, Scott, had offered to come out and help us get the job done! He also told us we'd need to rent a "bull float" for the initial smoothing (after screeding.) I've learned a lot about concrete in the last couple of days! Steve's using the bull float in one of the photos below.

With 2 male perfectionists on the job, not only did I feel like I wasn't needed, I'm pretty sure that the general assumption was that anything I could contribute to the process would be woefully inadequate. So, I weeded the garden, filled drink containers, and generally piddled around. The boys screeded and floated and troweled and watered, and after a few hours, they called it a day! And my beautiful slab is ready and waiting for us to start building the kiln upon it!

I'm not sure if we'll start building the kiln first or try to get the 4x4s and the roof put up so we can work on the kiln in some shade. As usual, we'll fly by the seat of our pants and see what happens. It's worked for me so far, why change now?!

I'm somewhat surprised at how quickly we're getting things accomplished. (Or maybe my goals aren't lofty enough!!) Not having to work full-time is definitely helpful. Hopefully we'll get most of our major projects done over the summer and fall, and then with a little luck, I'll sell some pots throughout fall and the holiday season. Once we get into heavy winter, we'll have to assess our situation and decide if Steve's going to continue his "life of leisure." (I'm sure he would argue with that description right now!) But eventually we will get a handle on things here, and I t
hink even he will get bored with sitting around the house all day! I suppose if the pottery does start selling, he could take over the household chores and give me even more time to spend in the studio!

Worst case scenario: pots don't sell at all and not only does Steve become a WalMart greeter, but I have to find work based on MY experience, which would mean waiting tables, cleaning houses, or working in a daycare facility! Not my idea of fun career choices! But hopefully the lucky penny that Scott said we should lay in the concrete will get the potting career off to a good start!! (Nobody would leave a hand print in the cement to commemorate the occasion so the penny had to suffice.)

I guess we'll just have to wait and
see what happens! I'm just trying to enjoy the present, and so far, I would say I'm succeeding!

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