Monday, April 30, 2012


So here is my table in its new home. It is bought and paid for but I always consider my art stuff mine, lent out for other's to enjoy, much like a diamond that you can never own but only become a part of its history.  It was a fun challenge and interesting project but I don't think I will go into the table business.  It was just one of those accidents in life where the customer wanted a five foot table and I just happened to have a five foot steel ring.  Fortuitous for both of us!
   I like the fluted steel columns as legs and would like to see what a smaller table might look like supported by a single column.  So, I will be thinking about that.
   A lot of what I do is just accidental, serendipitous, finding things I wasn't looking for and then making something of them that I hadn't thought about.  I meet people that way too, an accidental encounter and then something clicks and something happens.  Open to ideas and chance encounters.  "Why can't we all just get along?"  I think about Rodney King!  My mind will do that.  Jump from the solidness of steel to the philosophical and poetic in a heartbeat.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Table

I have worked  with wood for much longer than my experience with steel, just haven't done it for years.So I get this email from a hit off Craigslist, can I make a five foot round pic-nic table?  I like to think that I can do anything and so responded, "sure, what is your budget?" Something around 2 hundred dollars, nothing too fancy, was the response.
   It is a good thing I am retired and don't have anything better to do I am thinking.  The cedar top cost me $75,
the steel ring I got a long time ago and was saving for a divided yin-yang type gate, something really cool but also really expensive and not likely to happen in this wretched economy.  It was a "found" thing and didn't cost me anything, so I just "threw it in".  The legs are left-overs from another table I made for a local night club.
They are fluted steel and were originally made for light poles, the old type that one might see in New Orleans.
That table had a marble top and cost the owners of the bar about $1,800.  I threw them in when my customer sent me a photo of where the table was to nestled with the trunks of three stately oak trees as a back drop
Once I get involved in a project I always try to make it better, always thinking this might be the last art piece that I ever do. He is suppose to finish the top himself, that was our agreement, but yesterday the sun was out and it was a beautiful day and I just couldn't resist!  So I dashed to the local hardware, paint supply store and bought a quart of "Daly's Sea Fin" Teak Oil.  If you are not aware of this product I'll tell you about it and you will love me forever!  Of its type it is the BEST product on the market and can be used in lots of ways.  Most teak oils remain tacky for hours if not days and this one dries to a hardness withing hours.  It is great for decks or outdoor furniture, but here is where you will love me:  Put some on a rag and wipe down your kitchen cabinets with it or apply to your piano or other fine furniture.  It takes minutes and will look as if you spent hundreds of dollars and hired a professional to refinish your cabinets.  You did.  Me!  Allowed to dry between coats you can add several layers of this oil and it will build up and appear as a fine lacquered finish.   It will remove fine scratches.  Seriously, try it.
   Anyway, I spend the $17 on a quart and applied the first coat and now here is a photo for your approval.
I will probably never find another five foot ring so I will probably never make another of these but I do have a bunch of smaller rings where I could make four foot round tables.  Now I have to clean my shop.  I had to empty several cabinets just to find the wood working tools that I had put away so long ago.  My shop is a mess but I found tools that I thought were long gone and, like riding a bicycle, I still remember how they  work.
   Not a get rich quick scheme for sure but a fun project. I think he will be happy!                

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30 minute promise

The trick to getting stuff done is the 30 minute promise.  Even when I am tired and having a bad day 30 minutes seems like a small enough burden, something I could do even when maybe I don't want to do it.   It is never a lie, after 30 minutes if I am still sore and tired and miserable and just not involved then, times up and I will quit.
Mostly I have discovered that it doesn't happen this way.  We have had several really nice days recently, an early tease of Spring that surely will be dampened with more rain and my garden was calling to me.  It is three weeks too early to rototil  the entire garden but I wanted to do a small section, about 10' x 20' for the early crops.  Thirty minutes worth of work!  Once you begin a project it is so easy to lose track of time and the project itself becomes important, not the clock.  I ended up tilling a larger area, enough to make a path, and then shoveling that smooth, creating raised areas for potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions and lettuce, all early crops.  Then I raked and smoothed the soil, planted stakes and strung some yarn to designate straight lines and now that part of the garden is done!  A couple hours later!
 three rows of carrots!
    Just "one more" 30 minute promise!  I went to the store and purchased the Wave Petunias I like so much, telling myself that I would plant them on another day. and then another and another and I worked all day in the garden!
   Getting started is the hardest part of any job.  I know a guitar builder (luthier?) who never promises himself more than 30 minutes at a time and I know writers and painters who promise themselves only 30 minutes each and every day.
   Sometimes I give myself "assignments", just a task to get me going, get my material out and the blood flowing.  I like potted plants and have single pedestals all over my garden but I was curious about making a long narrow table to put several plants on.  My normal instinct would be to make one with lots of detail, lots of ornamental iron and perhaps a nice stone top but in this economy I knew I could never sell it.  So the assignment I gave myself was to create this table and be able to sell it for $50.  The top is #1 cedar, a 2" X 6" I bought for $11. The legs were made from scrap I had around the shop.  The finished table is 36" tall, 12" wide and 48" long.  The legs came out pretty nice and I could imagine selling them as a product in the local hardware store where people could buy their own boards to use as a top! hmmm?
    Sometimes assignments will lead to other assignments and almost always that "30 minute promise" will stretch time without ever looking at the clock.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Nice Day!

Wow, yesterday was so nice, almost 80 degrees, blue sky everywhere and my garden is screaming for attention!  I think we only get one day of this and we are in for mid sixties and cloudy for the next week, but clearly Spring is very near.  I have been doing my Spring Chores! and that means dump runs!
One load to the steel scrap yards, this time unloading scrap from my shop to their yard.  I didn't buy anything which is not usual for me.  Most often I unload my scrap and then pick up someone else's that I found more interesting!  The economy is so bad at the moment I can't make any more stuff from steel because I know I will never sell it.  Discouraging, for sure.
    The snow only a couple weeks ago took out a lot of branches from my trees so I made a trip to that recycling yard also.  What a great place that is!  Whatever you give them they grind it all up and sell it back to you as mulch.  Love it.  Then, with a little sadness I made a trip to the landfill, the "dump" where it is not recycled but added to the height of a mountain.  A mountain of trash.  One day we will find something to do with this stuff and it will be mined.  I hope.
    I bought and planted 36 "wave petunias", two to a pot and eighteen pots!   Most are elevated and placed on pedestals around the front entrance of my garden.  You have to walk through a wall of flowers to get to the garden itself.  I have trimmed my Trumpet Vine that covers the archway to my garden, so that will be beautiful should you ever visit me!  The garden itself is still too wet to turn the soil over and prepare it for vegetables but my tomatoes are waiting in the greenhouse enjoying the sun and warmth that comes through those windows.
   I am returning to "MyBook"!   Slowly and with a little different approach although still stuck on the same story.  Mostly because it is true and easy to remember.  You can find MyBook HERE. I am really after comments and considerations, criticisms and any ideas or surreptitious routes and suggestions!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ya Gotta Pay The Hookers!

Wow, like some plot in a cheap mystery book that got rejected because it just wasn't plausible. How can our Secret Service be so dumb?  It seems that they wouldn't have been caught if they had just paid their bill. Makes me wonder how long this has been going on?  Crap!  I thought You paid them!  No, I thought You paid them!  I paid them the last time!
   Well, I know it is a tough job, jumping in front of bullets and all but really?  Hookers?  In Columbia?  A country known for its coffee and coke?  and gangsters and cartels?  Might be easy to pry secrets while under the sheets?
   No, I do not believe in conspiracy theories.  We are just too damned dumb!  At least those in charge are!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eight Degrees

We can't read every language and don't listen to whales much nor hear the sound of the sea.  We know something is happening, cherry blossoms are earlier this year, not so much snow, an early Spring.
   The Northwest Passage will be open soon and we can book voyage, sail from Europe to China on the Northern Route through Canada.  Clear, blue water from glaziers melting faster than we care to admit.
There is land under the Arctic ice and we will claim it, new territory to conquer!  Less ice could mean more rain, Biblical Floods.  It has happened before. A self cleaning, flushing the system.
   A simple three degrees makes a big difference.  Could be freezing or not.  Beautiful Alaska, home to so much we call Nature has dead Spruce trees, a horizon of fire waiting.  Three degrees there allowed a beetle to survive and spread from tree to tree for miles after miles killing along the way.
   It is not land that holds the heat; it is the Oceans and they are getting warmer, angry waters.  Funny, how much we claim to love nature and flowers and forest animals and pretty things and fail to hear their cry.
   Eight degrees warmer now.  The warmest March on record and April is heating up. Might be a warm one.
A long, hot summer.  I wonder.  I wonder, I wonder?
   How is your weather?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I always start my tomato seeds in my greenhouse on April Fools Day and they are up already!  I save the seeds from the best tomatoes from year to year and every year they just get better and better. This is very easy to do if you want to try it.  Ignore all the complicated advise about fermenting them and such.  Just squish some seeds from a good tomato onto a paper towel and put them in a book.  Next Spring tear off little sections of towel with the seed and plant it.  I always get about 98% germination which is better than the seed packets you can buy and I know where they came from.
   Did you know that saving seeds is ILLEGAL?  Especially if you are a farmer and grow commercially.
Google "Monsanto" to discover what you are eating and how they manipulate the food resources. Pretty scary.
   I don't plant genetically modified seeds or use any pesticides or herbicides in my garden.  Healthy plants don't need these.