Let’s Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

IMG_8064

This looks like as good a place as any to start my return to the most peaceful world I know.

There are many varieties of passionflower. I was given a pot of vines by a friend last Fall and, lacking any more sunny spaces along our fence, I planted them in a huge pot on the patio and ran out to The Natural Gardener for a nice big inspirational trellis. They survived our winter despite that snowstorm, but I was sure the gulf fritillaries would lay eggs and I’d be watching their caterpillar offspring devour all the greenery long before I had any of these amazing flowers.

Sometimes nature being full of surprises is a good thing. I’ve had blossoms in ones and twos all summer, and I even have one passionfruit!

IMG_8086

Probably won’t be making up many pints of passionfruit jelly tho. It seems fitting that passionfruit is believed by many people to have calming properties. As you know, I need all the calming I can get.

We’re having an incendiary summer. You know how in cold places there’s a big difference between freezing air and anything below zero? In Texas there’s a big difference between 95 and 105, and lately when the thermometer dips down into the mid-90s we go around feeling alive again. The air conditioner has to get to work in the afternoon just to keep the house at 82, and the landscape is as dry as my bank account after I pay the utility bill which I haven’t really done yet this month because holy cow.

Nevertheless, Travis and I have been savoring this long break between summer school and the start of classes a week from today. We have spent a large portion of every day working in the garage – door open, big fan blowing – making garden posts and experimenting with resin. It keeps me out of the bars most afternoons.

If we’re at work early enough, Supervisor Marco likes to keep track of things from someplace high on the welding truck.

IMG_8082

I now officially own a corral of garden posts.

IMG_8087

Well, two corrals to be honest. This is just the newest litter. I tie them against the certainty of collapse. My plan is to sell them for a bunch of monies.

If you’ll bear with me, I’ll show you a few. See the black one on the right with the orange flowers? It has some poetry on top:

IMG_7913

Here’s a piece of one I made for a neighbor who had an ugly pipe sticking up out of the ground:

IMG_7811

There are birds on it here & there also, as the neighbor is a great lover of all animals.

Something that’s been really fun is adding dimension, as with some poppy seedpods and other stuff I coated in polyurethane and epoxied into place:

IMG_8048

That landscape on the left is Floyd’s favorite. I was playing with paint because if you can’t play with paint adulthood is not worth it. I pour paint on a paper plate, invert the plate onto heavy watercolor paper, and place the paper on the post. Pull off the paper, and what do you have? I mean besides very colorful fingers. I want to work up a black and white version soon, and even did a dress rehearsal on paper. Purple poppies:

IMG_8098

Let’s hope my mood improves, mmkay?

The post that’s been occupying the front yard for weeks now is a beach theme, because I am not at the beach because Mary and I went to Italy instead and I cannot get through August without the beach.

IMG_7954

Can you believe I made the sand? Talk about a person who’s planning her retirement. Too lazy to go to the big box store, I gathered up some decomposed pink granite from the side yard into a heavy plastic bag and hammered the bejesus out of it. Very therapeutic. I’d been experimenting with spar varnish for a final finish, but the one I was using had a faint amber tint to it. Since it wouldn’t do for all the posts, I thought it might be nice here, after I’d epoxied the sand in place.

It ended up making the sand look wet, which I think is very cool.

IMG_7905

Store-bought sea shells and sand glass, but I already had those. So that’s what I get up to when it’s too hot to play in the yard and every plant in the landscape is half-dead by evening anyway. My “real” painting lessons were going terribly, so the return to garden-post-doodling was just the thing.

Speaking of a bunch of monies, that’s what would be needed to carry out any quantity of resin work. As with acrylics, I’m just trying to learn basic techniques like how to get resin off your shorts when you are too far into the mess when you finally remember you should have put on your apron.

IMG_8011

Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what you’ll have when the required 12 hours is up and you take the dust-protective plastic drawer off to check them out. (You know those annoying plastic chests with the super annoying plastic drawers? Turns out that one of the ones I picked up for free last bulk pick-up week is perfect for this job.)

IMG_8107

These are ones I made in little silicone molds. I have small canvases also, but so far I haven’t been able to produce any I like. I will, however, be pressing more flowers as soon as sidewalk pizza baking season is over.

IMG_8103

As you see, we have bubbles, so B/B- is our grade for this one. I had seen where, if you coat your flowers with resin before placing them on the first layer of resin (from which you have removed all bubbles with the help of your heat gun), you won’t get the bubbles. My visions of the kind of mess I would make with a small tray of resin, pressed flowers, and forceps caused me to skip this step, with predictable results. A small torch may do a better job exploding bubbles than a heat gun, but I fear many possible solutions to the Me + Torch equation.

All our flowers are not made of paint. The four $10 purslanes outside my workspace window have been a blast of color all summer long.

IMG_7749

And in the side yard where the shade is permanent, the night-blooming cereus has produced a flower or two. I think the buds are nearly as lovely as the flowers:

IMG_7863

The one by the front door produced a blossom that was a little different from the ones I’m used to; more spider-lily than long white cup of feathers.

IMG_7978

Floyd’s been hard at work trying to pick the best watermelon ever from the high selection at Central Market. Nothing takes you back to childhood faster than plunging your face into a cold slice of watermelon, and spitting the seeds all over the front yard.

IMG_8094

While we’re all out there, the quadrupeds always join us. Travis loves watermelon and the kitties love to think they are hiding. Put your hand right there, says Lucy Sparkletoes, and I will take a piece out of it.

IMG_7969

She’s not quite as scary as she thinks.

It’s good to be back.

IMG_7841

 

 

 

One thought on “Let’s Get Ourselves Back to the Garden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s