When Art Explodes (or firing up the new ceramics kiln)

I’ve been wanting one ever since college; which was [cough] a long time ago.

After getting settled into my house where I finally have room (a great basement and a detached garage for future expansion) I started checking craigslist for used kilns and potters wheels every few weeks. They were all either too expensive or too far away.

I finally got lucky and found a small old Duncan kiln that would plug into regular household current (didn’t have time or energy to wire up 220 in the basement) and an old ( and virtually indestructible) Shimpoo RK-2 potters wheel just across the bridge.

Before I committed to the sale, I checked around and discovered that Paragon, who purchased Duncan had the manuals online for download and still sold parts, so that sealed the deal.

Although my manual was not available online, I emailed Paragon and was sent the correct manual for my kiln. That’s pretty awesome customer service!

My dance friend Jason rode out with me to pick them up and helped me schlep them into the basement.

I decided that I didn’t want to develop bad habits on the wheel since it had been so long since I had used one, so I signed up for classes at Throwing Mud Gallery and it didn’t take too long to get the feel for it again.

Once I was confident that I knew what I was doing again, I started playing on the wheel.

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I threw what I thought was a decent bowl and got it trimmed up.

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Firing an old manual kiln takes work, calculations, practice and more than a bit of luck…

There is no computer to ramp up, hold or cool down so you must pay attention. It has a kiln sitter which holds a pyrometric cone or bar designs to melt as certain fireing temperatures known as “cones”. If adjusted properly, when the bar or cone melts a lever drops which shuts the kiln off. There is also a safety timer which will shut the kiln off after a certain amount of time in case the kiln sitter does not work.

Here’s a shot of the kiln sitter from inside the kiln.

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and after a firing to cone.

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With the timer set, the cone in the kiln sitter and my first home made creation inside, it was time to fire up the kiln.

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The next morning I was super excited to see what I would find.


I found one blown up pot. The bottom was blown off and what was left was in tiny pieces. It must have been an impressive explosion.

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At least when I mess up, I do it big.

Of course, we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. I learned several things from this.

First, make certain that the pot is bone dry, or candle it first (fire on low setting with lid propped open to dry it out, which will wear the kiln elements out early).

Next, ramp up the heat very slowly. (kind of a pain with a manual kiln, but better than having to vacuum up pottery shards.

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After doing some reading and talking to Mark at Throwing Mud, I threw another pot, dried it fully and tried again with a slow, three stage ramp up.

This time it was SUCCESS!

I got a lovely, bisque fired pot ready to be glazed.

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and more ready to go in for the next firing once they are trimmed up…

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I really didn’t want to mess up the glaze firing, so I was very careful with my ramp up and cool down.

The next morning, I discovered an intact glazed pot 🙂
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I did a little happy dance after that.

This pot is under fired which is no biggie, I can just refire it. What would have been bad would have been blowing it up, or melting it to the shelf.

My little ancient Craigslist kiln will fire some glazes to perfection, but just doesn’t have quite enough ooomph for high fire glazes, the only ones which are certified food safe. Since I want to create functional art, I want my plates/bowls/bottles to be food safe.

So I got an awesome deal on this Paragon Xpress 1193 High Fire Kiln (aka “My Precious”)

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This means that I can use my cute little Craigslist Duncan kiln for bisque firing and the Paragon for glaze firing. Just like a “real” studio.

Soon, I will be able to turn out things like this at home (although I’ll still do some studio time at Throwing Mud because I like everyone there 🙂

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If you need me, I’ll be down in my basement in my studio.

Oh, how wonderful it is to be able to say that after all these years.


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One Year Ago Today – The Evolution of a Hilltop Home

In the interest of providing a bit of background, this is a blog entry from April 17tn 2010

I can’t rant today.

I can only Do the Happy Dance!!!

I am approved for a modest home loan to buy a modest house in a gritty Tacoma neighborhood.

Ideally, it will be a cute little craftsman fixer upper.

I will have a garden and a greenhouse again.

I will have bird feeders so that BadKitty (an indoor cat) will again be able to watch birds (her favorite activity), chatter and run around like a maniac. (maybe she’ll drop some of her “small apartment pudge”)

I will have a guest room so my friends can have a comfortable place to sleep when they come visit.

I will have a real dining room in which to serve my (day after) Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve meals to friends.

I will have a hot tub and a BBQ grill (I have budgeted for these)

I will no longer share walls (or ceilings or floors) with people not of my choosing.

At this time last year, I could not even imagine this.

I am going house shopping today after work.

One year ago today, the plan dream I laid out here came true (and then some).

One year ago today, I closed escrow on my gritty little house on Tacoma’s hilltop.

Not only do I have the old house with the original wood floors, dining room for entertaining, fabulous garden and a kitty who is happy, healthy and fit, I have found a wonderful community up here.

Words can’t do the last year justice, so I put it to music in a slide show…

In a weak attempt at words, I wrote this last June


This old house has stood for nearly 100 years
It was occupied by Italian immigrants in 1917
It housed families during the great depression
It has seen troops return from two world wars

This old house was built from the forests of the Pacific Northwest
Its beams are thick and sturdy
Its floors are old growth Douglas Fir
Its roof grows moss if not well maintained

This old house is in a historic neighborhood
It has been the home of the Crips gang
It has fallen into disrepair
It has been lovingly restored

This old house is guarded by lion statues in the front
Its old Bay Laurel tree in the back is home to a nest of crows
It is in a vibrant, revitalized community
It is surrounded by friendly, caring, proactive neighbors

This old house will be warm and welcoming
it will host many holiday gatherings
it will offer hospitality to friends, family and neighbors
it will be filled with love

This old house is flawed
This old house is beautiful
This house is a work in progress
This old house is loved

If only this old house could talk


Mood: Happy


Random Updatey Goodness and Website Redesign

This update is so random, I’m not even tagging it “tacoma” to show up on feedtacoma.com.

I’ve been terribly remiss about blogging and sending email updates to my non-blog reading friends; it’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, it’s that I’ve been so stinking busy, I haven’t had time to update. [BAD Lisa]

I’ve been busy with the day job, the magazine gig and of course, the fire spinning.

I’m performing on Friday night for what promises to be a very fun all girl 50th Birthday party where I’ll get to spin fire on the beach and enjoy the company of very cool women, good food and cocktails.

I realized that I didn’t have any business cards that didn’t have outdated contact info and didn’t have time to print any new ones up, so after I ordered some which now include photography, writing and fire spinning (which won’t arrive in time for Friday) I just edited an image, added some text and got them printed up as wallet size photos.

*dear stalkers-don’t get excited; this is a googlevoice number that does NOT ring to my phone and on which I can block you.

I also updated my website; you can check it out here at WildCelticRose.net

I’ve been having a BLAST spinning fire, and have some great mentors, Deanna, Becki, Cathy and Tabitha. It’s going to be an amazing summer performing.

Becki has taken some very cool photos…

You should check out her other work at Stardragon Photography

Obligatory Fire Spinning Video…

if the video does not embed properly in you reader or browser you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

The garden is doing well, although I’m not certain when I’ll be able to take my peppers out of the greenhouse. If it wasn’t for having heat mats and grow lights in the basement, a greenhouse and wall-o-water insulators, I would not have tomatoes this year.

Here is the Juliet tomato (parent to the grape tomato) I started from seed in the basement.

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I’m super excited about the asparagus bed. Anyone who has ever been over here in the summer, knows how much I like to grill salmon and asparagus. I have to leave the plants alone this year to let them establish. Since they are already two year old crowns, I can start harvesting next year. It is taking all the self control I have not to snap off some tasty spears.

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The Liberty and Braeburn apple trees are blooming (if the SummerRed doesn’t bloom soon, I’d best hope for a neighbor growing a pollinator-wouldn’t a late summer bearing variety bloom before the varieties that ripen later?)

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It looks to be a good year for blueberries

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The cold wet winter and spring seem to have been good for the cherries. (note to self, get bird netting)

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Speaking of cherries, the Kwanzan flowering cherries I planted in the front yard are blooming.

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The hard work I put in planting 704 flower bulbs sure paid off, as soon as the daffodils were done, the tulips took over.

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A VERY special treat have been the stunning parrot tulips I planted in honor of my dear friend Karen who lost her brave battle with cancer last December.

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The chickens are fat, sassy and naughty. As you can see, MaryAnn has gotten into the garden area.

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As you can see from the following video, the chicken round ups are becoming rather routine.

if the video doesn’t embed properly in your reader/browser, you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

One week from today will be the one year anniversary of escrow closing on this old house.

I shall be hosting a houseiversary celebration soon (well as soon as we get a decent day for a BBQ)




What a difference a year makes

I just realized that a year ago Saturday, I made the offer on this old house.

The back yard is no longer a hardpan dumping ground for trash, rotting furniture, junk vehicles or broken television sets overgrown with grass and weeds; its’ a small urban farm. (OK, the grass is a little long right now, but it hasn’t been dry enough to mow.

Although it hasn’t fully “sprung” (pun intended) to life for the season, it is a great improvement.

Out of the nine fruit trees I planted: three apple, three cherry, plum, peach, and a pear to replace the 100 year old one that came crashing down in November’s wind storm, the new Oregon Curl Free peach is the first to bloom.

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The Italian Prune Plum is not far behind.

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The asparagus bed is planted (yes, the plants are upside down in the picture, but they aren’t planted that way)

From Drop Box

and the strawberry beds are weeded and cleaned up (I still have a dozen or so strawberry plants I need people to come get; they are trying to take over)

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the “cold weather” crops, lettuce, peas, brocolli are doing fine in the greenhouse and are almost ready to move outside (if icy death would quit falling out of the sky)

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the peppers and tomatoes are doing well with the heat mat on only at night; hopefully I’ll be able to turn that off soon. (if the weather ever cooperates, yeah right…)

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My lilacs that arrived from Rain Tree Nursery bare root a few weeks ago are budding out and one is already starting to bloom.

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The front yard was weeds and some really ugly “two man” rocks someone had painted white thinking it was “decorative”.

It’s full of flowers now…

These (several hundred) bulbs were a pain to plant (I dug them good and deep so they’d come back every year) but it’s paying off now (and I’ll never have to do it again)

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The special parrot tulips that I planted in honor of mine and Bonnie’s friend Karen who tragically lost her battle with cancer this year are getting ready to bloom as well.

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The crocus and muscari I planted in the parking strip are adding some cherry color around the flowering cherry trees as well. (the Kwanzan trees will bloom next month, along with my pink flowering dogwood)

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I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s such a great improvement over this time last year.


Mood: Happy


the end of an era (a century actually)

One of the joys of owning an historic home is the repair and restoration work that constantly needs to be done.

The “bones” of these 100 year old houses are solid. They were built out of real wood and our attics reveal beefy beams.

The plumbing, electrical and masonry work, eventually fail.

Such is the case of the chimney in my wonderful old home on the hilltop

It does not vent the grand fireplaces of the North end.

The hilltop was the immigrant and working class neighborhood of those who built Tacoma, the port, the rails, the timber industry. My home was built by Italian immigrants from Cicely at the turn of the century.

My four story chimney is in the center of the house and is an integral part of the structure.

It begins in the basement where an antique ash clean out door and old vents grace the base of the structure. It continues on to the main floor with it’s 12 foot ceilings where it served as ventilation for the cook and heating stoves. It continues on into the enormous and extremely tall finished attic and then protruded well over six feet from the highest peak of the steep Victorian pitches of the roof.

And it was failing. Water was seeping through the old bricks and the mortar which was little more than loose sand into my upstairs room.

The only thing it was venting (or could vent) is the gas furnace and gas water heater.

To rebuild it, would be well over $6,000. Possibly more. (at least $4,000 just for labor)

As much as I love the historic character of my home, I could not justify that much money (that I didn’t have) to preserve something that even in good shape was a serious earthquake hazard. It would never accept ventilations from a wood stove should I choose to install one, along with what it was already venting

So I made the difficult decision to have the top part of the chimney knocked down and a pipe run though the three story portion in the house to vent the appliances.

Since the chimney is part of the central structure, I had the portion in the basement (where the furnace heating water that had come down the chimney creating steam had seriously deteriorated the structure) re pointed to stabilize it. The sections running through the rest of the house were protected by structure and plaster so they were fine as is.

Once the top of the clay liner was sawed off, the chimney was so weak that the guys were almost able to push it over.

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It took about half and hour to get down to the roof level.

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the water heater and furnace were re vented.

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the pipe was run through from the basement

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all of the holes in the base of the old chimney were filled with mortar. (woo hoo, no more exhaust in the house)

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and the base re pointed

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The truly creepy thing was that the exhaust was almost completely blocked which means that I could have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning at any time or the furnace would have burned out.

So I guess the chimney failing was a blessing in disguise.

The pipe is not as charming as the giant old chimney

chimney and seedling photos march 2011 007

but I will not die in my sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning, water will no longer leak into my attic, and I do not have to worry about the collapse of an insanely tall chimney during an earthquake (living in a geologically active and volcanic area, they are a fact of life)

This house has stood through the strongest earthquakes in the region in recorded history (living on the Ring of Fire and in the Cascadia subduction zone, that’s saying something.

I’ve made it just a bit safer (note to self, get a gas shut off wrench and keep it next to the meter, gas explosions are bad)


Mood: Contemplative


Life Goes On…

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sort of blog update that wasn’t about food, gardening or an impersonal/general topic (or just cell phone photos so you all know I’m still alive), so I’m going to do a regular update. *note, I’m hoping to get back to blogging on a regular basis

I guess we could start with the “Weekend Update” (“Jane you ignorant slut” – if you’re too young to remember when Saturday Night Live was good, just keep moving, nothing to see here)

I signed my new magazine contract (has it been six years already?) for another year writing and doing photography for South Sound (and sometimes 425) Magazine and got that off in the mail

Friday afternoon/evening, I met the girls for happy hour at Café De Vino and had some excellent wine and bruchetta and a great time. After that, Cherie and I headed over to the Mandolin Café to meet some other folks and listen to music. I made it a fairly early night.

On Saturday, I was up bright and early to finish up the basement project. For the first time since I got all of my mother’s stuff that had to be sorted through, I can easily walk around in there and use it. The counter is all set up with my grow lights for my garden seedlings, the craft/sewing table is ready to be used and the brewing equipment is ready to go (note to self, brew a batch of beer before the yeast dies)


The things that are boxed, only used seasonally are neatly stacked under the stairs and out of the way. (the “wine cellar” is now on the cool side of the basement as well)


The bike stable is now in the gear room which I organized a few months ago.

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Here are the before shots of the basement and gear room

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After the basement project was completed, I headed out to Goodwill to find a tacky formal bridesmaid or prom dress to costume up for Carnival and then to Joanne’s to get mask and headdress making goodies.

At goodwill, I found a (fabulously tacky) dress with a beaded bodice, a ruffle and which was short in front and long in back. PERFECT. I found some beads for 99 cents each and some gold/bronze Brazilian leather high heel sandals. To that, I added by “Bad Fairy” wings and was good to go.

Next I hit Joanne’s and purchased materials to make a mask. I think it came out pretty well. I added some feathers to a tiara for a headdress (note to self, next time, more feathers) the fun thing about the mask is that my bangs covered the top of the mask and my hair was up and the feathers on the side blended in with my hair. I looked like some crazy red tail hawk/peacock fairy.

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Here’s the final costume.

Here are Cherie, Nicole and I at TaCarnival

We headed across the street to the event at the Image Crew Studio for their grand opening, which was the hopping party in town. Since it was not a Carnival party we got a lot of interesting looks when we walked in. (but since it was members of the art community, no one thought much of it)

Soon, Cindi, Destini and Carmela joined us and then Daniel and Gayle arrived also all in costume. I think we kind of hijacked their party 😉

When I was trying to walk down the hill in those stupid heels (which were already killing my feet) I had a bit more inertia than I was comfortable with, so I grabbd a signpost, took off the shoes (and pantyhose, not going to ruin them by walking on the street in them) and wandered around downtown Tacoma commando 😉 and no, it’s not the first time I’ve done that and it won’t likely be the last.

Sunday, I was up bright and early to meet Bill for a bike ride. I had a bike of his that I wanted to ride to check out the geometry and sizing so that I could decide if I wanted to Prodeal one or not.

I’ve decided to make the commitment to a completely car free commute (which includes the van pools at work) so I needed to get a bike that didn’t have skinny race tires or a carbon frame (the steep cobbled potholed streets of Tacoma would kill my road or race bike during a daily commute) it also has disk brakes which are a big plus on our steep streets as are the super low gears in the back 11-32).

THIS is the bike I ordered the Scott Sub 20 Hybrid. I will add a rack and panniers, a women’s seat, and switch the pedals out for a combo platform/SPD, but other than that, it will be ready to rock and roll (impatiently waiting for it to arrive)

Her name is going to be Xena (because she’s going to be my road warrior bike) She will join “Blue” (mountain bike) “Flash” (road bike) and “Diva” (triathlon/race bike) in the stable.

After the ride, I headed home and planted my lilacs and roses (I am going to climb up the ladder and bitch slap any roofer or chimney guy who even thinks about tossing something off the roof and/or stomping/setting a ladder up on my landscaping after last time-I am still pissed about that)

Sunday afternoon was Stitch and Bitch where we had record attendance. Every seat in the living room (and a few brought in from the dining room) was filled with people happily knitting, crocheting, card weaving. It was awesome.

After that, Cathi, Jim and I headed over to the park across the street for some poi spinning. Becki thinks that I will be ready to spin fire by an event we’ll both be attending on the 19th of this month, so that will be my first FIRE spin. I am SO excited.

Monday I finally got my taxes e-filed and then started on paperwork to take the sheister that sold me my house to court over the roof issues.

First, Francine and I walked down to the courthouse (exercise and errands in one trip) which seemed to be a logical place to file court paperwork.

Oh NO… Only the district court (way down in South Tacoma) handles small claims, so we had to hoof it back up the hill to go get my truck and haul butt down there before it closed.

I walked in, paperwork in hand with 20 minutes to spare. Yay!

Then I was asked, “Do you have a contract stating that you can sue him in Pierce County?”

Uh… What?

Apparently, even though the contract was executed in Pierce County I have to go up to Everett (Tacoma to Everett on a weekday? That’s beyond the worst traffic nightmare ever) to sue him there because that’s where he lives.

I was NOT amused, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

I guess I’ll wait until I have my new bike and just take the train up. No way am I driving up there during the week.

At least I got all the paperwork together. I have the contract he signed agreeing to make repairs to code according to the pre-purchase inspection, all the pictures, statements from the roofers that the shoddy repairs he had done by some fly by night lackey were not to code (and that the materials used were wrong for the application and applied improperly) and caused the roof failure.

It should be a slam dunk. He’s lucky I’m only doing small claims for part of the cost rather than taking him to real court.

So my time’s been spent on: the day job, the magazine job, the house, my little urban farm and chickens, volunteering, learning to knit and spin fiber, poi spinning, and getting back to playing my violin (and once I’m 100% healed from the fall, masters swim, spin class, and triathlon training). I’m also trying to make an effort to get out for more social events as well (it’s tempting after a long day with a very early wakeup to go home and just chill and be a bit hermit like) I’m excited about getting back outside for some more photo adventures as well.

Life’s been insanely busy, but good.


Mood: Tired


In One Piece and Only Slightly Frozen

For those who live here, none of this is news, but we’re in the middle of a deep freeze (with an added bonus of snow/ice storm and high winds knocking out power)

I’ll write up a more detailed report of stuff in general later (I’m working from home today) but wanted to let folks who have been seeing the news coverage know that I’m one of the lucky ones.

A group of us did the “Let it Snow” bike ride on Sunday. It was snowing (we sang “Let it Snow” at the tops of our lungs for most of the ride) and we cut the ride a bit short so as not to be caught out (especially not across the bridge) when it started to stick. That was a good call as it was sticking when I finally got home from the HUB.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the “Snopocalypse PreFunk Ride” – Here we are on the one non-snowy portion of the ride on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

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The rest of the photos are available by clicking here

Sunday was a snowy night… Here’s what we woke up to

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I woke up Monday morning (normally I have Mondays off, but I wanted to work Monday and take Wednesday off instead for Thanksgiving prep work) and even though I “could” have put the truck and four wheel drive and gotten down the hill, that little voice inside my head (that I always regret not listening to) said, “Oh HELL no.”

I logged into work from home and said that due to the wet snow in the ice and the steepness of the hills I have to come down to get to the train station or freeway, I would wait until conditions improved to try to come in.

Improve they did NOT.

This bus accident happened on the hill I would have had to drive down

bus flipped over

and then the “Interstate incidents” started. One by one interstates and highways became blocked by disabled semis and spun out cars. This went on all morning, and only got worse in the evening.

Buses crashed (over 200 metro buses were disabled last night), even the trains were affected. Interstates closed down completely as people abandoned their disabled/out of gas vehicles for fear of freezing to death in the single digit (with wind chill) temperatures. Some people spent TEN hours stuck in stuck in their cards on I-5, some even had to spend the night in their cars. They were out this morning checking cars for people who might not have gotten out last night.

Of course, all the abandoned cars make it difficult for snow plows and sand/salt trucks to get around and do their jobs.

The unfortunate combination of an Arctic Blast with sustained temperatures in the teens (negative temps with wind chill) wet snow and ice was bad enough, but then another wind storm blew in. Puget Sound Energy reported 66,000 without power, Tacoma power had 9,200 and there were numerous outages reported by Peninsula and Seattle Light companies as well.

Last night was a very dangerous night to be without power and an alternate heat source.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have a freestanding gas fireplace (SO glad I put it in this summer before I needed it) gas hot water and a gas stove to cook on.

I have insulated the pipes, keep heat on in the basement, and am making sure the faucets are dripping a bit in case they do freeze so they won’t burst.

All my trees stayed upright although I’m worried about some of the smaller ones just breaking off and my bay laurel is making very disturbing creaking noises because it’s frozen. If that one comes down (not too likely) it could take my roof off the back of the house and kill the grape arbor and green house.

I kept hearing something shatter and hit the window last night. I finally realized that it was icicles breaking off the eves of the roof.

It’s not going to get above freezing for several days, and it’s supposed to be 13 degrees tonight in Tacoma. I may have to bring the chickens (who were NOT amused one bit by their first snow fall) into the basement to avoid frostbite on their combs and wattles and I’m spending a lot of time going back and forth to replace their frozen water with fresh water.

November Snow 2010 015

The hummingbirds are keeping me busy rotating frozen feeders with thawed ones. Apparently I’m the only one in the neighborhood doing so because there is a major feeding frenzy going on out there right now. Those poor little guys and girls need all the energy they can get to over winter here, especially in a year like this.

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November Snow 2010 040

For anyone not from here that wonders why a relatively small amount of snow (compared to other places) causes such gridlock…

It’s the ice baby… the snow here is super wet and sits on top of a layer of ice.

Here’s a video taken last night in Seattle (I give a solid score of “10” to the white car doin gthe loop de loops, and I’m so glad the bus didn’t flip over like ours in Tacoma did.

If the video doesn’t imbed in your browser or reader, you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

Yeah, it’s going to be interesting for a few more days.

Hopefully it will thaw so that I can make my trip to Norpoint and Seattle Thanksgiving morning.

I don’t plan on being a statistic (one man died on I-5 in Tacoma last night), on the news or in a YouTube video for my foolish choice to travel.


Mood: Cold


Hilltop Homestead, a Work in Progress

Now that there isn’t quite so much yard/garden/orchard/chicken things to take care of, I’m turning my time and attention to the house and making it more functional.

Last night and today was re-organizing the pantry (oooh, exciting, I know…)

This hundred year old house has a combination pantry/cold room in the back (the cool side of the house) the original structure where blocks of ice were put in to keep food cold is still there.

It has a counter, drawers, cabinets where cold/iced food was stored and a wall of shelves.

This is what it looked like the day I made the offer.

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Unfortunately, it became a bit of a dumping ground for anything that I didn’t have any place else to put; and after five months, was not anything even remotely resembling a functional pantry.

Moved all the spa chemicals, plant food, hardware, furniture polish, glad storange containers with lids that don’t match, and random bits & bobs to cabinets and am actually using the shelves for food.

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I cleared off the tile “counter” and have my drying racks set up. I use this area to dry herbs, peppers and soap as well as to cool pies, cakes, bread and cookies when they come out of the oven.

It’s not pretty, but it’s functional; some day I’ll remodel.

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I added a plant shelf to the window sill so that I could put more plants in this window which has a lovely Eastern exposure which my African violets and Christmas Cacti really like.

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This window is where my “shiny things” have gathered. They like the morning sun 😉

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In order to save space and keep things accessible, I hung my pots and pans.

Pantry 009

I also installed a couple more shelves

Pantry 010

This was my one big project left to do…

Well, except for the basement, but that’s going to take all winter.


Mood: Accomplished


First Halloween on the Hilltop

Last night was pretty awesome.

It was my first Halloween on the Hilltop.

Eight years ago, I fled my home to escape an abusive marriage and lived in a crappy apartment owned by slum lords in a place where we didn’t get trick or treaters; it was an old house converted to apartments which had a locked front door-and no kids in the five apartment building. It was in the Stadium District so folks brought their kids to the community event then went home.

It’s just not Halloween without decorating and having fun giving candy to the kidlets.

This year was finally my year to haunt the house again. I used to go over to my friend Molly’s to haunt her house on Halloween, but it wasn’t the same. In addition to not being my house, she lives in a Mormon neighborhood so there are very few trick or treaters, virtually none when Halloween falls on a Sunday.

I had a blast decorating the house; I put even more out on the actual day than I previous posted pictures of…

The Spider and the Rat worked out perfectly and I had a fog machine hooked up. I had a remote inside the house, so when I’d hear kids come up on the porch, I’d fire it up.

I had to take the video of the house before it was fully dark because once it got dark, the streets were full of cute, happy costumed kiddies and I was busy busy busy. It was awesome.

I bought candy for 100 after having been told by neighbors to expect 80 or so.

Apparently, I was a victim of my own success. I’ve had the house lit up for a couple of weeks and people who had been driving by made a point to come back so I got more trick or treaters than my neighbors.

104 trick or treaters cleaned me out by 8:35 PM. I gave my last Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup to a cute little bug) I was sad to have to turn the lights out then, but it worked out OK because that was about the time that it started to rain so the streets cleared out pretty quickly.

Next year, I’ll buy more candy.

It was AWESOME!!!

And since I’m already on YouTube I had to share a funny Halloween Appropriate video that was making the rounds yesterday.

And some cute video of our tiger cubs at Pt Defiance playing with their Halloween pumpkins.

Happy Halloween all; I can’t wait for next year…

Of course, now I’m planning my infamous “day after Thanksgiving feast/anti-Black Friday protest, Christmas Eve dinner, and Wine Hog which are all open to anyone who would like an invite.

I <3 the Holiday Season and I adore my hood. ~L Mood: Happy Halloween


Hilltop House/Urban Farm Update

I thought I’d post another video of the house (mostly garden) renovations that have occurred over the last two months on my little Hilltop Urban Farm.

For comparison, here’s what it looked like two months ago…

DANG! The difference, especially in the yard shocks even ME

That’s it for now, I’ll try to come up with some actual blog content later this evening.