Learning curve

Rich is off doing his annual guy bonding thing- for the 32nd year in a row the same four men have gone to Myrtle Beach for four days of golfing and catch-up. Despite time and changes in circumstance they insist on doing it just as they did in the beginning. For a number of years they stayed in the same hotel but then that one got torn down and they had to start searching for another one with the same ambiance. I can track his reunion activities by signing onto our online bank account.

Denny’s: 10.46

Tupelo Bay Golf Center: 11:43

Big Daddy’s Roadhouse: 22.91

Damon’s Oceanfront Hotel: 18.93 (his half of a 32.00/night room)

Four days of golf with your guys: Priceless


After teaching the young folk on Friday, I’m taking this time for a little continuing education of my own with girlfriends. Saturday, I spent the whole day with Cathy taking a torch-fired enamel class at the Morean Art Center. One of the perks of teaching there is that I get a class for every class I teach and I had heard rave reviews about this one. Barbara Lewis, torch fired enamel guru, teaches the class and she was marvelous.(You can find her wonderful blog, Painting with Fire, here.) Artists who teach learn quickly that the key to running a good intensive workshop is organization- having everyone’s supplies laid out and ready and having a scheduled project plan in your head helps make it successful for students. You really only feel good if, at the end of the day, people take home a completed product and a knowledge base that lights their fire. Barbara’s workshop was all of that and if you ever get a chance to take a one day workshop from her, jump on it. It was everything I hoped and more. In stark contrast to my glass blowing experience in Chicago a couple years ago, this is something I can do. You probably don’t remember but I found the combination of weight, coordination and massive glowing furnaces overwhelming. Back in that class the rest of students were college age and the instructor was a burly strong experienced glass blower who kept yelling “DON’T get that molten glass on the edge of the glory hole!!”

(I’m going to spend some time today combining some of these with felted beads and see where that goes.)

In this class,  we worked with torches and beads, heating the metal to a glowing hot red and then adding the powder enamels- essentially ground glass- and refiring it repeatedly to get the desired colors and patterns. Six hours of it was a bit exhausting, partially because of the heat factor: 12 torches firing fulltilt for 6 hours made the room overly hot. But then I had a lovely dinner with friend, Cathy, and then it was home to bed.

Yesterday it was down to Worden Farms in Punta Gorda to learn about goat ownership and cheese making. I went into it thinking I’m ready for a couple of goats and the class was especially persuasive in letting me know that I am NOT ready for that. The more she talked enthusiastically about the joys of worming, fencing, protecting your goats and potentially toxic landscaping from each other and needing to breed them (duh) to get milk production but needing to keep bucks separate from does (two fenced enclosures! It’s getting harder by the moment to hide these hoof stock from the homeowner’s association!) the more I knew that what I really need is a source of good clean fresh goat’s milk. The cheese-making portion of the day was super. In short order she demonstrated and we tasted mozzarella, paneer and my favorite, chevre. Easy, pretty straightforward and delicious, especially with a few herbs tossed in here and there. I can’t wait to start making cheese-I like to think of it as Daniel bait; he comes for fresh chevre- and there’s a farm with dairy goats a short mile walk from the house in Asheville.

Okay- back to online price comparing pop-up drain assemblies. Torch firing enamel, cheese making, plumbing parts- so much to learn and so little time. Have a great start to the week!

10 responses to “Learning curve

  1. I started making cheese a few months ago and beware – it’s addicting! The making even more than the eating… there is a tendency to want to make it again and again to perfect it. Luckily, mozzarella freezes well, so when tomato season rolls around – you’ll be ready!

  2. I love that photo of hands on those udders. Wow. It’s a wildly beautiful perspective. Where do you get so much energy. Just one of your projects or adventures or classes would knock me out for a week. Great stuff on your plate.

  3. I probably couldn’t eat the cheese without dire consequences, so I’ll leave that to you. The beads and enameling I could handle – looks like great fun!!

  4. P.S. Are you ever still for a minute?

  5. So, I am admiring the pretty glass baubles, when–wham–I am hit in the face (well, ok, the eyes) by the sight of an udder. OKAY.

    Actually, very cool. I was holding my breath to see how you linked glass-fired baubles with goat udders, but you did it…at least you had a hand in both. He he.

  6. I love my goats but it really is a lot of work. Just this morning I had a farrier come do hooves. Congrats on cheese making. We love our homemade dairy products.

  7. OMG, Vicki! I was LOL at how effective you are in keeping track of the guys on their annual retreat. The fact that their hotel has been torn down should tell them something …or maybe it’s best to ignore things like that! And, the transition from the beautiful beads to a goat’s udder couldn’t have been funnier! Thanks for the giggles!

  8. I enjoyed being with you for enameling, but am glad I missed the dairy class. Ick. Now, take what you larned about raising goats and multiply it for alpacas and find a source of milk and wool and don’t mess with the animals!

  9. I am trying to imagine what a $32 a night hotel is like… they still have them that inexpensive? Truly a guy thing.

    Those beads are gorgeous. I think that part of your energy is the art… making things you can see and touch and savor is so satisfying. I love gardening but… these plants just don’t grow fast enough to let me see how it is all going to look in the end. As for glass blowing… well…. that “glory hole” sounds a little risque…. doesn’t it.

  10. Our friends have goats and they have trouble keeping them in their pens. They’re always jumping out. Almost every time I drop off or pick up Erin, at least one jumps the fence to visit.

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