Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cool air

I am enjoying the feel of of the nice Canadian high that Stephanie probably wishes she'd kept for herself (42/107??? EWWW). They have been promising it for at least the past 36 hours and today was hotter in the lab than yesterday, which was no joke either.

The hole dug into my malarial swamp of a backyard, the one which threatened to consume the digging machine in sticky mud, back in the wet season? It became the home of eleven greenfrogs and a pickerel frog. Over the past couple of dry weeks it shrank down by about half, which explains one way or another the smaller population of frogs (down to the two or three largest). I hope the decrease wasn't ranophagy by cats or the other frogs. It is raining sporadically but enthusiastically now and I am hoping it will fill back up. I have considered using the hose, but my water comes directly from the water that I suspect underlies the swamp and it might just drain the pool at the same rate it fills.

So with the digging and so forth I have been having an interest in making Northeastern Native-style pots, fired in one's campfire. But Concord seems to be deficient in art supply shops and even more in any of them with potter's clay. They say, maybe in Nashua. or Boston. But it says in the bookthat the clay sources of indigenous potters are often within a kilometer of their homes or encampments.

So the other not very nice, but not obscenely hot, day, Monday, I went out to plant my Ligularia, my Salix Nishiki, and a stolen cattail out near the pit/frog home/hereinafter referred to misleadingly as 'pond.' The mosquitoes were somewhere else and Sarah picked plantain and thoughtfully laid down a mulched path, and I determined to dig a hole. The heap of spoil, pondfill, whatever, had hardened into a barely tractable lump (I have a mattock. Actually, I have three, and this was the medium one). Sarah has been a digger for a while, even if now retired, and both of us looked speculatively at the pile. I broke off some of it and moistened it in the traditional 'spit test,' a quick and disgusting archaeological trick to get an idea of the soil texture. This stuff made a long, flexible worm. in fact, I have all the clay this indigenous person will ever need. I have severl pounds soaking, some I sieved while it was dry and some I am just seeing whther the rocks and sand fall out in solution. Pots before Christmas!

And the frogs will like it if their hole gets bigger. Maybe I'll get a chance to line it, but I know there are already dragonfly eggs in the muck at the bottom.


juno said...

Reading all this, the frogs and dragonfly eggs, and grubby digging and clay covered just a pure, quiet pleasure.

Norma said...

Oh, girl, you KNOW I'm there with you! I would love to know how to make pots in a campfire! I'll trade you a bottle of tincture for a pot for Xmas? I harvested more Motherwort today and have the "double tincture" started now.

Laurie said...

Gotta get all the refuse out so that you don't slice your hands in the clay, and so that you don't fire something with all kinds of fatal weak spots in the body. Some clay bodies intentionally have schmutz in them, but it is fired clay broken/ground up and put back in for design elements, not for strength of piece. Pots are like spinning and knitting. But messier.

Sheila said...

I will look forward as much to your raveling tale of how you create the pots as to the pictures of the pots themselves.