Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Brief Interlude with Reusable Resources

The combination of creating something practical and lovely in my yard combined with getting materials for free makes me a very happy person. So, whilst amidst all the chaos of commissions and workshop prep I thought I'd share my ongoing art project- using reusable (aka-FREE) resources to expand and landscape my yard!

My first project was my greenhouse- for obvious reasons (as well as that growing plants from seeds is a very spiritual practice) it is called the Glass Synagogue. The stained glass window was a gift (free!) from my friend Jim Standard- (a master stained glass artist I illustrated designs for in the past). The windows came from all the local folk (and my Dad) who sadly replaced their fabulous, if leaky, wooden framed windows with ugly aluminum. Four very nice men lifted the top half of the building onto the bottom for me. Its eight years old now and going strong (though leaky as a toddler after drinking a gallon of apple juice).

Spring of last year I built this chicken coop for my six lovely ladies, who seem happy to frolic in it and even happier to escape into the yard to search out worms and poop on my lawn. The wood for the base and edging and some of the fence came from Craigslist and Freecycle- mostly from a remodel in the nice JC neighborhood. And my good friend Sven built the coop but hadn't used it for years. Oddly enough- it was again 4 nice men who helped me move it across town and onto the stilts and floor I had built. Four nice men are a useful thing.

This was my latest project-using everyone's cast off broken cement to create a patio under our canopy. I started with a couple Freecycle links- a nice old man in Sebastopol with a half demolished patio, a young guy in Rincon valley with another half demolished pale blue patio, and then our neighbor down a bit across the street who tore up a sidewalk. Good for the arm muscles, schlepping all those 4" X 2' chunks. Still need to get a patio set with circular bottoms so the legs don't slip into the cracks before the thyme is all grown in.

My next door neighbor demolished a shed. Hooray for only dragging boards a short distance! Its built extra tall in hopes the chickens don't discover the veggies. Phineas drags a little chair over to stand on and coax the tomatoes and little zucchinis along. Also- I like to use my apple tree pruning to build twisty dark purple trellises like the one in the left box. A pink Pearl Apple bears five little apples in the middle.

An simple arch that leads to the tree house my father built for the boys. A dead plum tree taken over by my climbing rose that is sadly past its early spring, once a year explosion of blooms that trail up into the sky.The strong support beam is from Craigslist (did I mention this was ALL free?) and the rest fallen wood from the lower trees.

But I haven't shown you the fallen wood fort or the pruned branches tepee in the front yard. Sorry my kind Reader- another time. I must go and chainsaw slabs of wood and draw portraits now, not to mention make cream cheese and Jam sandwiches for hungry growing boys.

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