Thursday, June 30, 2011

Castor Plant

I met one of my neighbors the other day and she pointed out this unusual plant called a castor plant. It is of course the very same plant that is used to make castor oil.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Week On The Bench

This week I am going to try to clear up my workbench of projects. My good patient friend Brenda's project is next. The 3 feathers in this photo are already gone as you of yesterday afternoon. I may as well take advantage of my workshop being blocked by the kiln and turn the situation to my favor. Sort of like making lemonade when life serves you lemons or something like that.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I got a full weatherization grant last winter based on my low income status and on a chart like this. January is obviously the hardest on the furnace. The workman told me last fall that my furnace was 60% efficient. My gas bill for January was higher than my rent. This cute little house is an energy suck. The electric bill was just as high as the old furnace ran constantly. The weatherization grant would most likely cover the cost of a new furnace and insulation for the walls and a more efficient water heater possibly even central air. But I am not going to put my weatherization grant toward a property that I am not going to be living in. For those of you who have been following my predicament, please understand that it is not sustainable to live in a place that looks cosmetically nice, but has huge holes in the roof, water damage around the foundation and virtually no insulation. These were concerns I had last summer prior to moving in here. Promises were made, the job was rushed and I had trouble meeting my financial obligations. 87% of my income went to rent and utilities. I had no car insurance. I had no money to repair the car. It was a very scary winter for me. If I did not sell my feathers, I would not have been able to keep my lights on! 7 months of the year, this place is sustainable. My landlord is turning her back on my weatherization grant. A grant that could increase the value of the house. I am sure you realize it is a personal vendetta and not her just wanting to sell the house. She is not going to like paying those winter heating bills next winter while the house sits empty. Then again maybe an unsuspecting buyer will buy it, and weatherize. It would be sustainable to live here then.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here are 3 new silver feathers that I put together this weekend. I made them at the precise time of drum performances just to remind myself that I have a sacred hobby that feels as satisfying as performing. I made money this weekend rather than spend it. It will feel good to not be out of money the last few days of the month for a change. These feathers have turquoise, silver, cobalt and black seed beads that were recently donated by a friend. The feather projects have kept me financially afloat all winter. What a blessing! I have one for sale on eBay and Etsy at the moment. And I used some of the money to purchase new business cards. My high school reunion is coming up and I anticipate that some of my classmates may want a feather or two. I can't possibly anticipate the number of feathers I should bring with me, or the kind of beads folks might want; so business cards may insure a later sale. Hopefully when I move my workshop, I can set it up so that I don't have to miss any orders and can try to make some extra ones for the October reunion. I try to put a business card in with the feathers like these pictured, as folks may order more when they receive them as gifts. They make excellent gifts for all occasions. The woman who bought these is coming by tomorrow afternoon to visit my shop. She may see the other projects I have lined up on the bench and order something more. I want to keep the momentum going.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Further On Up The Road

My landlord sent her workman Thursday to move the kiln away from the house as it was blocking the water meter. I presume that the water company called her. I had not gotten around to calling them about it being blocked since I don't pay the water bill. They set up a barricade around the freshly dug dirt where the new drain was installed. As you can see from this angle it is going to be next to impossible to remove my workshop as the kiln is now more in the way than it was before. A case could be made that they are trying to prevent me from leaving. I imagine my landlords stubbornness and hostility will shine through any sort of deception she undoubtedly is planning for our upcoming court appearance. My original plan was to move the workshop first. But with all the obstacles being erected, I may have to postpone moving the workshop till last. The kiln now belongs to her, so I don't feel comfortable moving it, even to get it out of my way. Perhaps the ground will be harder by August 1st and I can remove the barriers they erected on Thursday. Pity, I had help lined up for the week after Comfest. I have things that need to be moved that are wider and longer than the opening between the kiln and the new barricade. I have things that will need to come strait out of the doorway and then turned at an angle. I guess I was just in too much of a hurry to get out of here. Maybe this matter is going to have to go in front of a judge after all. I think a judge could clearly see that they have blocked my exit and are delaying my move. Perhaps the move will be delayed till we can settle the matter of the kiln in court.

Friday, June 24, 2011

For Sale

The house I have been renting is up for sale. There is quite a bit of water damage and some pretty large holes in the roof but cosmetically it would be a great rental property for someone that doesn't mind a flooding basement and building debris in the heat registers. It is next door to Frijolito Farm. The gutters are rain barrel ready!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Community Festival 2011

Comfest is this weekend. It starts Friday with an opening drum circle. I am not sure that I am going to attend this year, but it is my favorite Columbus summer festival. Columbus Community Drummers are playing on Saturday. My partner always helped me get my big drum into the park. Without her help, I don't want to try and tackle the task. I will miss drumming at the opening drum circle, and I will miss performing at the Live Arts Stage with the drummers. My friend Steve B will be performing on Sunday morning at 11:00 at the Solar Stage. I recommend my readers go see Steve. I used to play guitar with Steve back before he became famous. It is three days of fun, laughter, and music. Maybe I will be more settled by next year and can return to my beloved festival. This summer my plans have all been changed for me by the veiled threats from my landlord. If you go to Comfest this year, please go see Wahru and the drummers at 7:40pm at the Live Arts Stage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unusual War Story

Yesterday my first short story was published. They say truth is stranger than fiction. The assignment was to write a war story. I almost disregarded the assignment as I have not ever been in the military. But my second thought was that I certainly have been involved in spiritual warfare. So I proceeded to write about my experience in a fictional context. Truth be known, more parts of the story are real than they are fiction. I did leave a lot of things out. My instinct is that it is not scarey enough. It sure was scarey when it happened. You can read the story here. It was published minutes after I submitted it, which seemed like a supernatural unusual twist. Perhaps it was just a glitch in the system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reverse Psychology

I heard that cigarette packaging is going to take a dramatic turn. 50% of the package will be dedicated to anti smoking ads. That is a complete turnaround from the glitzy film star glamor advertising that enticed my mother till her dying day. I smoked for over 30 years and most of them with the tortured awareness that it wasn't good for me. I can remember a field trip to COSI and an exhibit showing the difference between a coal miners lung and a lifelong smokers lung. They even passed a lung around for us to handle. It is not likely that the macabre packaging being proposed and brought into law will change a dedicated smoker. Maybe it will change young upstarting smokers though. I spent some time looking at the proposed ads this morning. The ugly teeth, the tracheotomy exhale, the corpse with the morgue tag on the toe. I didn't see any new ad that can convey the continuous poverty and desperation that I felt when I smoked. That would be a hard photo op.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where Are The Woodcarvers?

I have lost track of my woodcarving buddies since this unpleasant business with my landlord. I think it is important to try to continue working on my projects, even though the looming move ahead of me takes the wind out of my sails. I am working on trading my teaching skills for a temporary safe place to store my workshop. This would be a way to make it possible to continue working as I move. Today I am looking at a new place near OSU campus and all that goes with that. But before I check out that apartment, I am going to try and find my woodcarvers. I will probably move late summer and the Martin Janis center will be closer than the Gillie Center. Perhaps I can get the woodcarvers to move to Martin Janis. There is a full woodworking shop there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stubby's Progress

Many of you have asked about Stubby the cat. Stubby is healing rapidly from his surgery and ailments. Stubby is a sort of guardian of this property and I confess I am gonna miss him when I move. He greets me each time I return from an errand no matter how long or brief I am gone. He does his best to try to keep cats that do not belong here off the property. Even though I was going to purchase flea medication (Frontline) this month, I am holding off as I have not seen even one flea on him or any of the other cats. My neighbor feeds the cats a oatmeal tuna combo and I am thinking a spoonful of brewers yeast might be in the mix. At any rate, they all seem happy and healthy. I do have a Stubby the cat donate button on my blog. But right now we have everything we need.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fruit Salad

Yesterday I had a realization. It has been two weeks since I have eaten any meat! That is quite a feat in that I wasn't trying for that. Lately, I have been craving fruits and vegetables . Maybe it has to do with the heat wave we just experienced here in Ohio. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees, who wants to fire up the stove or grill? This spring I have been experiencing a surge of good health as I go off my medications. I don't want to become dependent on medication, in that I believe when the grid goes down, I won't be able to get my Lyrica or maybe not even Advil. I know that we can get almost everything our body needs from food. Now that big agriculture is pumping our meat with steroids and antibiotics, meat is not as attractive as it once was. But I always thought it would be a tough transition for me to give up meat altogether. My vegetarian friends are far from healthy. In fact they miss more work than any of their meat eating coworkers. Their skin in pasty like an anemic. They are always cancelling our activities because of one ailment or another, which is annoying if I have made special arrangements to feed them something that is palatable to them. Recently I read Lier Keith's book The Vegitarian Myth and the scales have fallen from my eyes! I wonder how long I can keep this up? Maybe I can use meat in the future as an energy booster. Could I get away with eating it only once or twice a week? Now that I am not dependent on red meat as a daily requirement, I may actually be healthier eating less of it! I know one thing. I make a killer fruit salad!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Published At Last

I took a creative writing class in high school and loved it. We had inspiring literature and English teachers. And in college I took English Literature, and Women's Studies courses. I have kept journals, and in 2007 I began blogging. Blogging for me, is like priming the pump. A good daily blog gets the cobwebs out of my head. Yesterday I got word that my first article is published and on the web. That means I get paid! And the more people that read my article the more money I will make. This is a humble beginning at a time when I need it most. If you have time today follow this link and read my first publication with yahoo.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


My friend Eve gave me these flowers to transplant. She got them from my other friend Hapi. Hapi got them from another friend named John who is now deceased. Hapi says they are called Buttercups. I don't know. Aunt Sue do you know? Aunt Sue loves flowers and I read her blog Sue's News faithfully. Hopefully Aunt Sue can tell me more about this flower that has made quite a journey.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Petro Annie's

On Weber Road in between Silver Street and Indianola Avenue is Petro Annie's; a sort of museum dedicated to petroleum, the automobile, and car culture. When I was moving to my present home in Linden, I passed Petro Annie's a couple times a day. I didn't have time to stop last summer. But this spring I pass Petro Annie's on my way to or from my garden plot. So today the open sign was on and I stopped in to see what was in there. I met Norm the owner and we had quite a talk about his collection and of course the price of gas. I began writing some content for Yahoo news today and thought Petro Annie's would be a great place to send people who have little money to spend on entertainment. There are many of us doing staycations this year. Petro Annie's is open Tuesday through Sunday 12-4. The space has an art deco 50's diner feel to it. There is lots to see in Norms collection. Stop in an see him. Tell him Concha Castaneda sent you. My Yahoo article has probably not been approved yet. I only wrote it on June 14. I tried to research it on the computer last summer. I could only find one review on the internet. That review didn't even have a picture. This place deserves some recognition for the display, the cleanliness, and the wit of the owner. In the meantime, I am officially writing for hire. Something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Datura Plant

In my youth I ingested the Datura plant. The plant can not be taken lightly. Many people who have used it have ended up in the emergency room. I was 32 at the time. I remember making a taco pie and eating several young plants that I had cultivated from a seed pod. I saw red for a day. I have since read literature that warns never to ingest Jimson Weed as it damages the cardiovascular system. It effected me for quite sometime. Mostly though it has effected my temperament. I don't take any abuse from anyone. I don't back down from a fight. The plants I have ingested have became my allies.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Cat In Art

This morning I heard an NPR story about a Cat Museum opening soon in Alliance Ohio. This is apparently an attempt at revitalizing the whole arts community which has taken a hit in our crippled economy. I was half asleep when I heard the story, so I am going to have to do some more research about this. I for one, think there are just not enough places and spaces that honor our feline 4 legged brothers and sisters. To my knowledge I have never set foot in Alliance Ohio, but I will be planning on making a journey when the museum opens.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Feet Are The Foundation

I am happy to report that my feet are so much better than last year at this time. Last year at this time, I had not gotten my orthotics. I didn't see my foot doctor until November after I moved. I had very little help moving, so I pretty much beat my feet and my body up for over a month. I was in pretty bad shape when I finally went to see a doctor. After a year of orthotics, medication, and 2 months of physical therapy, I am ready for the next move. My friend DD says feet are the foundation. The heat this spring is very healing to my arthritis. I have stopped taking Lyrica. The next time I move, I will be moving down steps instead of up steps, so I am anticipating an easier move altogether. And while I am sorry to leave this place and the micro farm next door, I am happy to have discovered who my true friends are. Sometimes it takes some crisis like the one I just lived through to weed out the "pretenders". My feet have been very good to me. Mrs. Gray says I am sturdy! Thanks Mrs. Gray. That has been my mantra and my affirmation.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lucky 13

Welcome paperdollsuicidepact. I don't have triskaidekaphobia, but I am very curious about your name. Paper Doll Suicide Pact sounds like a rock band name! I tried to find out a little bit about you paper...It seems you are a physics student and trying to make an Ohio Japanese haven of your home?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heavy Vintage Kiln

My landlord dropped off this old vintage Amoco kiln on June 4th. She has had it in her garage for over two years and suddenly decided that rather than pay for it, she would have her workmen drop it off in the middle of my sidewalk. The kiln is damaged and will probably never work again. It was a cleaver move except they covered up the city water meter making it impossible to read and damaging the cover. I have had ongoing water leakage in the basement and my studio is in jeopardy each time it rains.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Portrait Of Ted Strickland

The portrait of Ex Governor Ted Strickland was unveiled Tuesday the 7th. It was painted by Leslie Adams an artist from Toledo Ohio. I had the pleasure of meeting Governor Strickland last year about this time when he was still in office. I sure do hope that he plans to continue serving Ohio. It is a great painting of a great man.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Feather On eBay

I lost my bank account in 2005 returning from animal rescue after Hurricane Katrina. Not long after that eBay made some serious changes in their seller polices and I did not agree with them so I quit selling. Lori and I shared a bank account up until last year when I moved out. Last week I got squared away started a new bank account and reestablished my paypal account. Today I finally got to list one of my feathers on eBay. In addition to that, I now can use AdSense and make a little money on my daily blogs. Hopefully folks will click on the ads so I can get paid. I am happy to report that so far the ads seem to go with the content of my blog posts. I am not sure I would be able to do it otherwise. Of course I can't click on my own ads, so I am going to have to rely on my readership to report to me what happens when one does. Let me know. And do check out my eBay auctions. My username is skymetalsmith.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Annie's Memorial Communtiy Garden

I put some tomatoes in the ground and planted a row of corn in my garden plot Sunday morning. The location is nice...right in between where I am living now, and where I am living next. I am still having trouble with my right hand so digging was painful. But I am on the mend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

12 Followers To This Blog!

Alright! Welcome Art Car Barbara! I have been lookin for an excuse to use this 12 drummers drumming painting. I snagged this from google images.

Saturday, June 4, 2011



When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

Friday, June 3, 2011

More Hubcap Art

You never know when you are gonna see either an art car or more hubcap art! This car was in my neck of the woods. I don't expect to see it in an Art Car contest or anything...but it is cleaver.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Simple Solutions

It was over 95 degrees in my little house today (May 31). They issued an air quality alert. I have chest pains when there are air quality alerts, so I take this as a serious threat and am prepared to go to the library to cool down on days like today, when I have the gas to drive there. Even though the landlord promised central air last year, I don't guess it will get here this early in the spring...if at all. I have breathing problems as a result of smoking for 39 years, so I had to do something to try to beat some of the heat. I took a cold shower to cool down long enough to think strait. When I get too hot, my thoughts get fuzzy. The green blind from another property fits perfectly over my west window. It was as simple as driving a couple nails and hanging it. That is something that worked over on Deming Avenue. My partner worked in an air conditioned furniture store, so it wasn't ever an issue for her. The local food pantry at the time, tried to give me a free air conditioner, but I could not afford the hike in the electricity bill so I turned them down on their offer. I am glad I did, as I don't believe I would be eligible again this soon. It is very likely that I am eligible for a free air conditioner or fan from Healthcare Alliance this time around because of my breathing problems. I am still waiting for the weatherization people to show up and assess what needs to be done to make the house more energy efficient. They are due this spring or summer sometime. In the meantime I need to go see my doc about my breathing problems and see if he can get the bureaucratic process of an air conditioner started. This will require a simple form filled out by him and then another long day in a waiting room with other folks that might have worse problems than I. But maybe the waiting room will be cooler than trying to stay cool in here. The blind looks pretty good on the window. I would hate to think how hot it would have gotten in here today without it. Tomorrow (June 1) is supposed to be cooler.