Friday, May 31, 2013

I met Barbra Joan!

 The blogging world is interesting, full of fantasies, misrepresentations, out and out weirdos, conflicting ideas and
clashing personalities.  It is not really easy to lay bare your personality, philosophy and ways of dealing with life in a few paragraphs.  Certainly I have been accused of this or that, thought too liberal and even thought too conservative and over the four years I have been blogging most of my "followers" have dropped by the wayside.  In their defense, some of them are dead.  I began blogging when I got cancer four years ago and started because I really wanted to know who it was this cancer was attempting to kill.  I am still working on that even though the cancer is long gone.  I am a survivor!
   Barbra Joan, a nice Southern sounding name for a Jersey Girl with a New York Accent, was one of my first "followers" and, of course, I followed her!  She is an amazing woman, young for her years (pretty "hot" really, I included pictures!) and a fellow artist, a fellow in this struggling world, attempting to find laughter and meaning in a topsy turvy world.
Four years we have blogged and sent the occasional private email, even talking "politics" off the grid, and this and that and
encouragement in art and in life.
Barbra Joan lives in Florida, 3000 miles from Oregon and the
chance to meet is about the same as winning a lottery ticket, but
that's what happened!  She had the opportunity to sail the Alaskan
Seas, visit friends in Washington and for a few days was only hours
Barbra is younger (and did I say "Hot"?), funny, smarter and far
more charming in person and her little tiny five foot frame is
capable of a huge bear hug!  We had a great, far too short, afternoon together
and a wonderful light dinner of fish and chips!
Ain't life strange? and fantastic! I have some of her paintings
on my studio wall and now I have met the artist!  What a small

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Between Raindrops

 The photo I take often because it changes so fast!
 Pot is made from steel and covered in slate: snap peas.
 Snap peas grown in a pot I made.
 These are experimental, grown in 18" sections of PVC pipe, easy to water and control weeds, my first tomatoes were on these plants.
 Never before this early!
 Nice, healthy tomato plant!
Paths from bark mulch, lots of metal
 Copper panel
Bridge to house side. Pollen tassels are everywhere!
 Row of tomatoes started from seed saved from my best tomatoes from last year.
We had the most beautiful first week in May, nice and warm and even hitting 80 degrees.  For the first time ever I tilled my garden in April and it got off to a great start.  Since then it has been raining every day and seems more like coastal weather, rainy and windy and cold.  The flowers get the worst of this, the vegetables go into hibernation and the tomatoes go into shock.  It might be the end of June before they recuperate. I would hate to be a farmer.  They must be the consummate gamblers.  Too hot, too wet, too cold, too dry!
 My Slate Walled Greenhouse
 IN the garden
These are some photos I took this morning between rain showers.
 My shop and Garden Entry with Trumpet Vine
 My little pool, too cold for skinny dipping!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I have friends in Florida...

Well, I do NOW!  That is where the winning Powerball Ticket was purchased so almost anyone from Florida could become my friend.  That is what would happen, wouldn't it?  Friends you never knew and relatives you never met would come crawling out of the woodwork.  Really, what would you do if you had won?  I would probably spend it on wine, women and song and squander the rest.  I have a brand new roof on my house and am in the process of painting it so I don't need anything in that department.  My garden this year is the best I've ever done and I have no more room for more flower pots.  I have a 1989 Mercedes in excellent condition, brand new tires even and I really hate cars anyway.  My work truck has some dents but I like it that way.  It can be used and used up but it can't be hurt.  I would keep it.
   The odds of winning of course were astronomical!  Like, choose a number that I am thinking of between 1 and 20, except it was choose five numbers between 1 and 175 MILLION!  But it is a dream, right?  A fantasy and those who spent a couple bucks on it did no harm but I suspect some spent the milk money or even the rent on it and that is the down side to the Lottery.  A voluntary tax on poor people so someone can fulfill their greed.
   The fun part would be in giving it away and that could become a job in itself.  Lots of people have won the lottery to be dead or murdered soon after!   You would need bodyguards and food tasters and it would change your life dramatically and maybe not for the best. What would you do?
   I always hear "Travel" and it makes me laugh.  Travelling anywhere is really within reach of anyone wanting to travel somewhere.  $3,000 will still get you a "round the world flight" and for less than a thousand bucks you can fly anywhere in the USA and get a return ticket.  $300 bucks can get you a long way from home.
People who say they want to travel will happily spend $30,000 on a car that will never get further than 500 miles from their driveway.
    I really don't know what I would do and at least I woke up today not having that problem.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I like potted plants

 Steel lined, slate flower pot, 12" x 12" xx 30"
And I am always hunting for new ones, unusual things I can turn
into a potted flower pot or I make my own.  Recently a client
hired me to make steel raised garden beds for her garden.  This
involved two beds that were 12' x 3' and two beds that were
about 5' x 6' and about 18" tall.  This was to replace her old and rotten cedar flower beds. I liked this idea, raised beds that
could last for a hundred years so decided to make some smaller
ones for myself, about 12" x 12" x 30" and another set about 8"
This is the photo I post often as it changes often.
deep.  Some I left as natural rusty metal and others I covered in
 This one has Blackberry vine and an accompanying trellis
This used to be a fountain but this year will be home to green beans! I hope they like the copper and slate wall.
slate and grouted the joints then built a steel frame to raise them
This one has Snap Peas growing in it.
 Rusty Steel, about 16" x 16" x 36"
off the ground.
 Slate covered steel, 8" deep and perfect for lettuce!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mt Garden Today

I keep losing my photos on Picasa, don't know why?
Here are some recent ones though.
Now the weather is cooling, it has been hot for May.
We are more "normal" forecast for the next ten days,
65F. during the day and 48 at night, and a little rain,
but not too much.
 Little Garden Pool, 8' x 15' x 3' deep, nice on a hot day!

  Area between Greenhouse and Garden
Blue Berries and Flowers and Jasmine

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Steel Flower Beds

The old flower beds had seen their day.  Nice at the time,
made from 2 x 6 cedar with 4 x 4 corner posts,
they were rotten and falling apart.  So, what to do?
I took the 2 x 6 top ledger board off and removed the lag
bolts so the outside would be smooth and even if
still a bit rotten.   Then I surrounded these beds in 14 
gauge sheet metal, angle iron corners and a sleeker
1 1/2" top rail.  It sounds simpler than it was.  There
were four flower beds total, two were 3' x 12' and
2 were 5' x 6'.  We began the day (my helper and I)
at 7:30 AM t my shop, loading tool and supplies and 
the pre-cut metal sheeting.  We finished the job at
7PM and it was 7:30 by the time the truck was
unloaded. Me?  A 12 hour day?  I am retired!,
66 years old and still suffering the effects of Chemo-
therapy.  It was all crazy and I am still tired but
the job was beautiful, fun to do and interesting to
see the difference the steel sides made.  And...
heck, yeah, I can still do it!  Maybe not two days
in a row though!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Protecting Tomatoes

Little garden pool, photo taken yesterday.
I have built up my soil from living in the same place for over forty years.  I have always had a garden.
This is the first year I have had my garden in while still April.  Normally the soil is too wet and the days too cold and I have to wait until mid-May, sometimes the very end of May.  This is crazy weather, my tomatoes are in already and I have to protect the young plants from the hot sun.  The weather man is expecting over 85 degrees this weekend!
I will leave this cloth up for at least a week,
giving the plants time to acclimate.

These are my five biggest and best
plants but I will plant a total of 25.
 Shade cloth to protect tomatoes from the hot sun!
 This is the area in front of my garden with all of the flower pots. I will post updates of this area from time to time.