April update

April is always an interesting month.  It is the transition from winter to spring, the month taxes are due,  the month one better get ready to do all that yard work.  April 1st is also the anniversary of when I officially retired from my day job. For some reason, April Fools day seemed appropriate.

This April already has been busy.  The first week we got our new king sized mattress. I also got all the taxes filed.

April 10 I did a gas firing, we had put in my porcelain pieces glazed with Malcolm Davis Shino. However, the firing was hampered with the wind and gas issues. After candling all night, I turned on the main burners at 6 am.  It was 36 degrees outside.  Within the first hour, I went to check the temperature and found both burners off. At that time, the wind had yet to started to kick up, so my theory is that the gas pressure dropped enough to shut off the pilot burners, and hence the main burners.  In the next hour, I could watch the main gas line pressure drop from 5.5 psi to .7 psi. What that happened, the pressure to the burners would drop from .5 psi to almost 0 psi.  If the house and garage boiler happened to be on at the same time, the burners would go out. To avoid the conflict of gas demand, I turned both the house zones and the garage thermostats down.  This helped but didn’t eliminate the problem. When the sun came out and shined on the gas high-pressure regulator at the gas well, the pressure would drop. I suspect the high-pressure regulator had some icing going on and it was not until the temperature rose to above 45 degrees that this problem went away.  However, it was then that the wind became a problem.

The wind didn’t concern me much until after I started reduction,  Then the wind caused backflow, which blew dirty orange flames out ever opening in the kiln.  It would reduce the temperature by 20 – 30 degrees, mess up any reduction I had going and after it stopped the backflow, the reduction would go to hardly anything.  I no sooner would adjust the reduction to where I wanted it, then it would happen again.  The wind did this for the rest of the firing even close to the end. There was a time considered shutting the kiln off to re-fire on a less windy day, but I didn’t want the pots to have to cool through the reduction temperatures and then heat up to it twice.  The results came out much better than I expected. On the Shino pieces, I got smoky gray. The reduction on the bottom of the places was heavy carbon trapped.  The tumblers came out orange inside and smoky outside, with the brush waxed parts showing orange.

April is also National Poetry. I wrote a satire poem for my poetry friends and posted it on the website in celebration of the special month.  I also wrote a blog that Jane edited and approved for posting.

Johanna visited the 16th  to the 21s with Scott and Georgia.  We got to play Pickleball which was a lot of fun.  She and I came back from a game down 9 to 1 to win.  That was sweet.  We did Easter hiding eggs and candy.  Two weeks later, we found the last egg in a tissue box in the studio. One of the students grabbed a tissue from the box to blow her nose. It stuck like rotten eggs. An investigation found the egg in the tissue box.  Uck!

Rita went to Florida to get her Mom and take her back to Greencastle. She left April 23rd and  I went to Greencastle on May 4 to get her.