…and not one of the fifty shades everyone was talking about.

It has now been three weeks in a row that we haven’t seen the sun here. According to the weather forecast, this isn’t going to change soon. I think the longest I can remember an overcast stretch here is two weeks, so three (with at least another on the way) is getting a bit dull (no pun intended). In late January I’d expect the days to just begin to lengthen, but in these conditions it’s hard to tell.

The garden has also put me on a new path, or rather, reintroduced me to an old one. After fighting with the hardpan clay under my property for years, I finally had a lightbulb moment last summer: make it work for me rather than against me. I played around with ceramics a lot as a child, and the clay under my backyard is actually pretty pure. I have more free time in winter (no garden), so I’ve been processing clay to make it workable. Hopefully when the weather warms up and I can be messy outside, I can build a few things for the garden, then take them somewhere to be fired. My very own terracotta pots and saucers, how nice that would be.

(Most potters will tell you that working with clay is quite therapeutic, but I suspect most modern potters don’t have to break their backs to dig it out of the ground, then thump it around either dry or in water so they can sieve the larger particles out by hand…)

I need to make friends with someone who has a stone grinder that I can use on all the shale in my garden as well. Shale is just compressed clay, and usually fairly soft as stone goes, so it would be wonderful to get rid of all the shale piled up in various corners that way. I could be wrong about this, but I seem to remember reading that a lot of clay used in the ceramics industry these days comes from pulverised shale.

Anyway, most of the clay I have is gray. As above, so below?

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