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Be sure to check back regularly to see just what chips have been falling in our "slow studio".

Do you know your corn farmer? Maybe you should.

There's nothing sweeter than fresh Alabama corn.  Typically there's a 10 day window (each year) that some big decisions must be made.  Well, that is if you are best friends with your farmer.

The best corn farmer in North Alabama, Jordan Hammer, called and shared that it was time.  He had just harvested his corn field, and if we wanted in, we had to move quick.

We arranged for our annual allotment of 12 dozen ears, met him just off the road in Killen, and made our annual transaction.  My gosh, I think Jordan outdid himself this year.  Possibly the best, sweetest corn ever.  Linda spent several hours each night after work shucking and creaming.  -- Not surprising that each night for dinner, just what we end up choosing for dinner.  yup, corn is a big part of it, if not the complete meal.  Monday night i gorged on nothing but four ears of corn.  Last night friends joined in on the fun, in a celebration of "corn, corn, and corn", well, there was also a tamale in there that Estella made (which are also quite amazing).

Corn may not be the best of summer, but it's gotta be in the top five. 

Just like almost all food choices, the best corn begins with our relationship with the farmer.  Building a friendship and trust (as well as cook, chef, restaurant owner)  with the farmer might just be the most important key to amazing southern food.  Well, that's the way we (not always successfully) try to do it.  

One more little rule that's worked for us is when dining out, if the owner is usually in the kitchen, there's a dang good chance the food will be exceptional.  We see this in the best restaurants in the country, as well as our local Chinese or Thai restaurant, or mexican taco trailer.   

Ah, one more that works for many, particularly when out of town, hungry and didn't do my restaurant home work - If there's a line get in it.  Usually works.  Sometimes presents some  - unexpected surprises. 

I'm fortunate that some people feel the same way about their furniture maker.   

 

By the way, Jordan has a second crop of corn started, that should be available in October or so. 

alabama corn season.

alabama corn season.

Museum of Alabama project

Just beginning to set up for the huge (for us) Museum of Alabama bench project.  This is the template the Washington DC design team provided.  Might just be some mods before we proceed. 

This is going to be fun one. 

Preparing for the amazing Museum of Alabama solid walnut bench project. 

Preparing for the amazing Museum of Alabama solid walnut bench project. 

new design with a history

Hoping to have pics to share of this one, all finished and assembled by the weekend.  It's in the finishing room being professionally sprayed with our earth/people friendly super beautiful, super durable water based finish.

new table design - pic of parts just before it was moved into the finishing room. 

new table design - pic of parts just before it was moved into the finishing room. 

Willow Fly Report

Although day temps are in the 80's , Fall is on it's way.  Days have been getting shorter for three weeks or so.  And now the Willow Flies are here again in mass.  Most afternoon's just as soon as I get home, my golden, Frassie, joins in on a cool down plunge and swim down river and back along the limestone cliff's and caves.  This is the South side (Florence side) of the Tennessee River - directly across from Dunnigan Slough.

This season I didn't observe the typical millions of flies seemingly everywhere in the air.  Only dozens flying.  But flies in the millions were floating along the river's south side, at a pretty brisk clip (looks like TVA is still dropping river lake levels from last weekend's rains.  On Wilson Lake it appeared to be a ribbon of floating willow flies approx 10' wide by possibly the length of the lake (13 miles or so I think).  I did receive a report that the flies were levitating in full force just a mile or so east.  

 

Google reminds us - it's Rembrandt's birthday

Just performed my first google search of the day, and was welcomed with a reminder that today is Rembrandt van Rijin's 407th birthday.   

Let's celebrate Rembrandt's 407th birthday.

Let's celebrate Rembrandt's 407th birthday.

Previous resident amazed with progress of the Shoals

I was honored with a brief visit yesterday by previous resident Steve Ainsley.  Locals will remember Steve as the publisher of the TimesDaily back in the late '80s, and proceeded to eventually become publisher of the Boston Globe.  He and his artist wife Ann have recently retired to Santa Barbara.

Steve is on a whirlwind driving/visiting/camping tour of the US.  He pulled up in his Volvo with bike mounted on top and camping gear, and several pairs of running shoes plus plus,  crammed in the back.

It appeared that he had zero room left, but we somehow managed to force a couple of small RWF pieces to add to his and Ann's growing collection.

We visited over lunch @ the new fab downtown Thai restaurant "Yumm".  He couldn't have been more impressed with his sushi lunch and the super cool interior and vibe.

Steve was instrumental in leading our community in a progressive and thoughtful direction decades ago.  Although he and Ann are firmly grounded in Santa Barbara,  I planted the seed of taking on some type of advisory role for the community's continued  supercool growth and direction.  His only comment is that we were doing just fine without his help.  I'm thinking we could do even "finer" with it!

I have a feeling Florence will be seeing more of Steve now that, for maybe the first time, he has time on his hands.   As everyone who knew Steve from our past, don't be a stranger!  We'd like to become your home away from (your new beautiful) home.  

 

Steve Ainsley, past Shoals resident - retired publisher Boston Globe

Steve Ainsley, past Shoals resident - retired publisher Boston Globe

steve ainsley road trip 2013

steve ainsley road trip 2013

Steve Ainsley road trip 

Steve Ainsley road trip 

Our own Rick Hall and Fame on NPR yesterday

Great surprise to hear our town Rick Hall and Fame documented on NPR yesterday.  Although I run into a few folks out of town that are "aware" of our little town's amazing music history, for the most part we've done a great job of keeping it a secret. 

Alabama's Tim Cook aced it yesterday at WWDC

I've been following,  working with as well as benefiting from Apple products since the Mac was introduced in '84.  I've only attended one WWDC years ago, but follow it, enjoying seeing what's around the corner each year.

I'm sure I could, but can't imagine running a business centered around Apple products as well as third party software. 

So much speculation that Apple can't continue their forward thinking products as they have in the past.  Probably can't maintain this momentum, with or without Steve.  But if yesterday's announcements and demonstrations of coming products is any indication, we will have plenty of amazing advances from Apple for quite a while. 

Alabama rarely get's good press or attention, many times rightly so.  It's great to see that one of Alabama's most glowing shining stars, Tim Cook is leading the entire outfit at Apple.  And the funny thing is most (here in Alabama) aren't aware of it.  

Alabama's own Tim Cook @ Apple WWDC 2013 Keynote.

Alabama's own Tim Cook @ Apple WWDC 2013 Keynote.

Jony Ives Apple Product demonstration @ WWDC

Steve Job's genius was often (and continues to be) manifested thru Jony Ive's product design.   Maybe not only his design, but his ability to communicate his design and inspiration.  Here's a bit of Jony's genius yesterday at WWDC:

I think there is a profound and enduring beauty 
in simplicity
in clarity
in efficiency
True simplicity is derived from so much more than from just the absence of clutter and ornamentation.  It's about bringing order to complexity.  

Cherry and sassafras rounds last week

Many beautiful spring mornings you might catch us finding outside work at the top of our list.  Last week, we spent several mornings planing these sassafras and cherry rounds.

A little metal can reek havoc with our carbide planing head.  Fortunately, we found this before our planer did.

Brief visit with Andy Mann

Andy Mann, Progress Bank's President is clearly pleased with the results so far of his new building.  Seems a little like a proud papa, and should be. 

Tour of UNA's Student Union Building

After the Progress Bank tour, we toured UNA's also super cool Student Union Building, also in progress.  This building is situated on UNA's  South most demarcation line, at the North end of Court Street. The intention is to bring the community together and welcome the community.  -  I'm thinking this amazing building might just accomplish it.

It's easy to see just where Hugo's modern vibe is right now.   The most pronounced feature here is a really huge gallery space, running the length of the building.  Huge ceilings, huge walls, massive open areas, lots of glass.  Oh, and we're finally getting a Starbucks.

I think UNA's gonna have something here.  Can't wait to see the final v.  - maybe before the end of the year.

A tour of the new progress bank - progress

Architect Hugo Dante's tour Thursday of the new to the shoals Progress Bank was quite impressive.  Seems to be shaping up to be quite a beautiful modern, very open, lots of glass structure.

I love the super cool "gallery" area that you'll walk right into from the front.  Huge walls, tall celiings, clean geometric layout where they plan to hang local artists work from time to time - with plans for artist showings, social events etc.

Tom Heflin losing his old oak

The street department is taking this beauty down from long time Tuscumbia attorney Tom Heflin's front yard.

I rarely have time to personally round them up like this but this one's maybe a little special.  In addition to being a beautiful old oak that's been here longer than any of us have, the burl at the trunk has a great chance of offering some amazing grain.

The final piece from this tree might just be worthy of a local fund raiser/auction of some kind.  I'd like to hear if there's a philanthropic group that might be interested in teaming. Furniture (or fund raisers)  from this one won't be seen before a year, more than likely a couple (primarily depending on the thickness of our milling.

Iphone pic of last week's rainbow

Finally getting around to downloading and posting these Iphone pics of the rainbow that briefly visited last week.  In the past I've attempted to take a few rainbow iphone pics (never having my GF1 at hand) with no success at all.  Some how I ended up with a bit better result this time.

Another custom order from Architect Phil Kean

This modern organic cocktail table was completed and shipped last week.  We collaborated with the super creative Rob Turner of the Phil Kean Architecture team in Winter Park.

Museum of Alabama photo shoot - just awful

  Having my photo taken - one of my most uncomfortable hangups. 

The Museum of Alabama sent master photographer Mark Gooch around the state to take pics of 20 Alabamians for the final exhibit of phase two of their amazing project.  Not really sure how I ended up in the mix, but the rest of the project seems to be totally first class.  They've hired world class Museum designers and fabricators for the project.  One of which just completed Presidential Library project in Texas.

Can you see that the photographer might just be "stumped" for the first time in his career?  - Can you see how much fun I'm having?  If I'm going to get over this one in my lifetime, I think I better get on with it.