Thursday, October 30, 2008

Smoking Peppers, Making Ash and my Darn Wrist

Mary found out that some carrier (couldn't be the usual guy that delivers packages to us) left a package on our neighbor's front porch when she went to check our mail yesterday afternoon. The Blue Rooster, Sammy said.
Our new chiminea!
I drove my truck to my neighbor's house and Mary and I loaded it, took it to our garden and upacked it and set it up. Then of course, we built a fire, using some apple wood from an old tree that fell recently. Jeffrey Dean says apple wood ash makes a pretty green used in a glaze, so I can write this purchase off as an ash maker. Also, I'll be using it culinarily as I'm thinking of drying some peppers on top of the chimney.

This morning, I cut up some more apple tree with my trusty electric chain saw (plug in in and it goes - never a problem starting it) and started a fire in the chiminea. It's chilly outside, so it's nice to stand and warm myself by the fire. I took the opportunity to play a couple of tunes on my whistle.
The kiln is cooling. Right now, it's probably about 700 degrees F. My left wrist has been bothering me lately. I think I figured out what stressed it out the most: stamping some cylinders of clay on the wheel a couple of weeks ago while forming some tree vases. I keep picking up heavy items with my left hand and hurting it. So, I think I'll make some tree platters, and help Mary with some square plate and other things slab built.

Yesterday afternoon, I was inspired to take a bunch of photos of the current stock of large tree platters. I've got 15 large platters right now. I believe Mary is going to upload them to my webpage today, and I'm thinking of making a slide show with them for somewhere online.

The clay froze again last night, and I'll have to sop up some of the puddles that formed on top. It's still very wet, but it's drying around the edges, so I'm having to scrape the dry up and bury it in the middle with the wet clay. I'm using a different method of drying this time. The picture below is a view of the bottom of the trough I'm currently using. The water drips out of the bottom for the first day or so.
The clay has been poured into a trough lined with canvas, the bottom of the trough being lined with wire fencing material. The edge of the clay dries too fast, though.

A bisque-firing is next, followed by a couple of glaze firings, then perhaps my local clay will be ready to throw, as well as the left wrist.




cookingwithgas said...

The hardest thing about smoking peppers is keeping them lit.
We just smoked some locally raised beef last night for the meeting at STARworks- maybe if you are there- you can taste some.
I love using apple wood for pork, chicken and fish- or I should say- I love when Mark uses apple wood.

cone10 said...

Mike, Get triple duty out of the apple wood! Use it to smoke poultry fish or pork, stay warm by the fire, and then use the ash for glaze. Could take a while to get enough for glaze that way though. Maybe my priorities are upside down?