Friday, January 23, 2009

Water Buffalo

Another day covered in sand and concrete dust...woo hoo. I've gotten the bulk of my schedule completed and it's still light outside. Well actually the sky is becoming soft and blurry so it will probably be dark within thirty minutes or so. I really am looking forward to those long summer days once again. More so this year than usual. I don't know if the winter has been just too trying for me or maybe I'm just getting old.

But there is no denying the lure of a warm summer night with all the inherent sounds of garden life. And we have some beautiful gardens and landscapes in our neighborhood. Many of which I was fortunate enough to have made some contribution to. This year will be no different. I have several jobs in mind for our home from pathways to water features. There is also one carry-over job from last season that went uncompleted at a clients home due to last summers constant rainfall. Oh well, the gardens fared well anyway.

My pic today is yet another Booga. This one is very large as Booga's go, over 30". I always thought he looked like a member of the Loyal Order Of Water Buffalo's...for all you Flintstones fans. This one now resides in a clients garden.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Myself

As luck would have it I have a few hours between chores which really means it's time to replenish my supplies. I'm off to the local big box store for more material. It's well below zero outside so everything will surely feel much heavier today as I struggle through the snow covered parking lot.

I don't know if it's the pace I've set for myself or I've tapped a new reserve of creative juices but an old stage play of mine popped into my head last night and it's been chattering away ever since. I now find myself in the familiar position of jotting notes, talking to myself and gesturing as I polish dialogue. And it doesn't matter where I am, working at home or shopping in public. I'm sure I appear nuts which is why I try to frequent the same stores where I'm recognized. Wouldn't want to get sent home from the store with a note. Which did happen once by the way...different story.

My pic today is another Booga head...the Cossack. This one is around twenty four inches tall.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ram Is Back

Well the Ram is back home with a sparkling set of new brake lines. So now that my contribution to the Canadian economy has been made, via Dave - my mechanic, I can concentrate on my work once again. And though today started with a grind it actually began to tip ever so slightly in my favor. And with Canada Blooms less than eight weeks away it felt good to regain some control.

I've now decided to increase the number and variety of pieces I will be bringing to Canada Blooms so my days have just gotten a little longer. And so it goes. Today's pic was taken by Jewel. It's one of our White Pines.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good Look See

Never before has a Tuesday in January felt so much like a Tuesday in January. My work for the day is far from done and my head is already spinning from the tasks at hand. New goals and new obstacles. And I haven't even mentioned that my trusty Dodge Ram blew a brake line in the driveway yesterday morning. Of course it could always be worse. The line could have held out just ten more minutes when I would have been fully surrounded on the highway at 100 plus km per hour. Life is funny like that...well it is for me anyway.

It reminded me of a story my mum told for years while I was growing up. When I was around four years old I stepped off the curb to chase my ball. I appeared from between two parked cars into the sight line of a speeding late 50's black Cadillac. Apparently this vehicle came to a wildly screaming stop drawing the attention and wrath of several stroller pushing mothers on the street.

The way my mum told it I always seemed to be an accident on the verge of happening. She could recount how I would calmly walk to the edge of disaster, give it a good "look-see" all the while teetering precariously and then just as calmly turn and walk back. I can recall on more than one occasion being found by Police, neighbours or just good old Samaritan's and being returned to a wildly hysterical version of my mother. Unfortunately for her I was the typical wandering child. I could be drawn into following a leaping grasshopper for blocks. At the time I could never understand all the fuss that I caused.

In keeping with old memories I'm bringing back my pic of Brian. This was one of the first items I carved and I named him in memory of a close friend of mine that once walked to the edge of disaster but decided to step off. Life really is funny like that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snap Crackle Pop

For about a week now I've been working on a twenty four hour clock. My goal is to have one thousand pieces available for the opening of the upcoming Canada Blooms show in Toronto. Production is on target but does require some dedicated coordination of mixing, curing, and storing. Not to mention the frequent last minute runs to the local big box store to replenish my sand and cement inventory. And that's where this post picks up.

A few days ago I had been churning along in a perfect groove. The day was falling into place but my supply of raw materials was running low. I had given myself forty five minutes to pick up fresh supplies in order to get in more production for the evening. I wrapped myself up accordingly and exited the house only to find the snow plow had once again done it's best to ruin my schedule, my back and my day. The end of our driveway looked like the Great Wall Of China's little brother. Back in the house I went, to now replace my outerwear for the task at hand...shovelling. In my haste, and haze of frustration, I picked up a toque I would normally only wear when clearing snow behind our house...where I can labor unseen. Now this toque rises above my head to add a good ten inches to my matter how well you pull it down. To the innocent passerby it must have looked as if I were trying to disguise a horn growing from the top of my head.

All said and done it took me about twenty minutes to clear our driveway. I did finally have to resort to cutting through the mess with a snow blower to try to recover lost time. I then found myself in the cab of my Dodge Ram rumbling towards my original destination all the while verbally composing my next letter to the city regarding my frustration with the snow issue...another story.

It was at this point I realized that my head was rubbing the ceiling inside my truck. Without realizing it I had left on the massive toque. Checking myself in the rear view mirror I looked like
a garden gnome for god sakes. I pulled the toque off with a snap crackle pop and now my hair reached for the ceiling with a life of its own. So the toque went back on and remained on for my trip into the big box. And of course wouldn't you know it...the sun broke out just enough for people to crack open their jackets and remove their hats. But not me. I wore my toque proudly feeling I had found one small way to be different today. Even if I looked like a wizard. I can hardly wait for summer to break out the socks and sandals.
My pic today is of the stone cat that guards our porch garden.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Concrete Woo Hoo

Well the count down has begun. The count down until the Canada Blooms show that is. And though it was always in the forefront of my mind I really started to feel the pressure on the first day of the new year. While I thought I had planned pretty well there are always a few loose ends that materialize from seemingly nowhere.

The majority of the prep work has been the building of work racks and benches but luckily all that is reusable for the next time around. Which means last minute runs to the local big box store for more lumber, sand or cement. And of course one can only hope the passing snow plow hasn't walled in our driveway between those runs, yet again.

So after a little more than a week into the new year I am finally ready to mix the first batch of concrete, woo hoo. My pic today is an image of a sculpted squirrel table. Basically a Hosta leaf with legs. The legs keep it above the ground cover while the natural vein pattern assures it won't fill with water. A few nuts and you're in business...or the squirrel is anyway. This one is in a pewter finish and it sits adjacent to our patio.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ginkgo Affair

If it's possible to have a favourite tree mine would be the Ginkgo, or Maidenhair as it's sometimes referred to. Anything that's tenacious enough to survive thousands of years definitely earns my respect. And when I say thousands of years I'm speaking of the individual tree itself not only the species.

Case in point, a 3,000 year old specimen has been reported in Shandong province in China. No wonder it's been referred to as a living fossil. And I haven't even mentioned the brilliant fan shaped leaves which have been depicted over the centuries in fabrics, paintings, pottery, furniture and so on. And speaking of its leaves the Ginkgo's are not only beautiful but are also in their own unique class, from a horticultural stand point that is.

We have one Ginkgo tree on our property that always puts my imagination into overdrive. Now that doesn't mean that I, or anyone, ever owns a Ginkgo but simply put it's on loan for our enjoyment. To think that in one, two or maybe even three thousand years, we, and everything around us, buildings and roads, will be long gone but our Ginkgo could very well be going strong. And I will have been one of the caretakers in it's long life. I consider it an honourable distinction.

My pic today is a shot of the actual leaves of a Ginkgo. Very artsy I might add.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Terms Of Spring

Is it just me or is anyone else already thinking in terms of spring? Yes the temps are still below zero outside and there's plenty of snow but today I found myself thinking ahead to the warm weather just over a dozen plus weeks away. And out of habit I had started adding notes to my spring journal regarding new plantings and garden sculpture ideas.

Before I knew it I had arrived in a very positive state of mind. And it had snuck up on waking from a great dream. You know, the kind that leaves you in a fantastic mood for the rest of your day. Now all I have to do is make it through the next three months reasonably intact.

For my pic today I have this shot I took of a tiny pocket garden beside our back deck. It's just a small vignette but it speaks volumes. In actuality it's only about four square feet but with the Easter Island figure it comes across as a window to another world.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Years To Spare

It's the first day of the new year, 2009, and I should be travelling by personal jet pack today...that is according to the ten year old version of myself. I'm always awed by the actual notion of the future. Not so much the events waiting to take place but the notion itself of a future and a past.

Which probably explains my fascination with rock. What else connects our past, present and future with hundreds of millions of years to spare?
I've heard time described as a river or folds layered one on top of each other, usually as a prelude to the time travel argument. And in some circles time travel has been bandied about as a real possibility.
And what if it were eventually possible? Would you really walk away from everything you had right now and travel to a past or future block of time? Knowing full well you may only get one shot with no chance of returning. It could definitely keep you up all night trying to sort it all out.
Today's pic shows a wooden carving that occupies one of our garden beds. And in typical Canadian winter fashion he's wearing a hat and scarf made of snow.