Tuesday, October 30, 2012

confederate rose in bloom

Another week in the city working on the mountain wall which leaves me little time to compose and post (or read and comment) especially since my remaining time is being spent trying to get this dozen or so small pieces cast for the open house coming up the end of November/first of December.


I've posted a few pictures of the confederate rose that has been in full bloom the last couple of weeks. I've been taking so many pictures of it because it has been exceptionally beautiful this year. Amazing what a little rain will do.

I leave you with these.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

touching the earth

When I went to bed Friday night the fan was on and the windows were open. Sometime in the hours before dawn, a cold front blew in. Roused from sleep, I reached down to the foot of the bed and pulled the quilt up. At some point I became aware of Marc getting up to turn off the fan and again to close the windows.

It was overcast, cold, and blustery all day. 57˚ at the time I wrote this with a predicted low of 49˚ for that night, it was a winterish day. Today, Saturday, it is still overcast, cold (currently 50˚) and blowy. It looks like it's clearing up though.

I've been in the habit of picking up pecans once a day, getting anywhere from half of a gallon sized bucket's worth to a full one, but Friday was the first chance I had since Monday. I picked up two full buckets and then later, when I went out to water the garden, I stuffed my pockets full to bulging with the ones that were in my path that had fallen since. My one full box of pecans has become two.

I've abandoned my careful criss-crossing of the yard. I'm bored with that. I used to think of it as my pecan labyrinth. Lately I cover the yard in a more snaky fashion, wandering whither I go but eventually covering the entire field of interest. I think. It's still a labyrinth of sorts, I guess, though it has no structure at all.

I still contemplate stuff while I walk and I look forward to it not only for the goodness of the pecans that I'm collecting but also for the contact with the earth. I walk barefoot letting that energy flow up and into my feet. I need direct contact with the earth. I guess that's why I like to garden, to get out there and dig.

This lack of contact with the earth, the trend of living ever cleaner and more sterile lives, lives that are spent more and more indoors completely cut off from the planet that we sprang from, is, in my pet theory, one of the main reasons the human race has gone insane. And surely we must be insane considering all the damage we do to the ecosystem that we depend on for our very lives. Not to mention all the damage we do to each other.

Walking barefoot, digging in the dirt, wandering the woods and prairies, paddling the rivers, sleeping on the ground under the stars, these are the times when I have felt most serene. Being in touch with the earth, being covered in the earth, breathing the earth, absorbing the life and energy and magnetism of the planet keeps me centered. It's why, I guess, whenever I am unhappy or angry, my first impulse is to go outdoors, to let all that negative emotion drain away.

So while I am not sad to see the intense heat of summer fade away, I am less than excited about the cold winter days to come when I must, finally, for comfort's sake, put on shoes and limit my time outdoors.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


This adventure in country living continues.

Being out in the county as we are, we are not hooked up to the sewer system of the town so all our waste is taken care of by a septic system. In case you are unaware of what a septic system is (I, myself, only had a vague idea), it is the means by which your body's waste products are dealt with as well as the water from your sinks and bath.

There are several types of systems. Our elderly neighbor Frank of the Bountiful Garden, who built his house himself lo those many years ago, has a single pipe that goes from his brick 'tank' and loops around the house. My sister had, when she lived farther out in the county, a single tank with a drain field.

We have a three tank system, three 500 gallon tanks that are buried in the Little Back Yard. The first two tanks contain the effluvium and the third pumps it out to the drain field which in our case is twelve 70' perforated lines. That's the back half of the Big Back Yard.

We had no idea how long it had been since the system was 'serviced', a euphemism for pumping all the shit infused water out, so now that we are employed again (for the moment at least) we decided it might be a good idea to 'get 'er done' as it were. We've lived here full time for a little over 2 ½ years, owned the place for about the same length of time before moving permanently, it was vacant for a year before we bought it, and I think the system was put in five years prior to that so I think maybe it had never been serviced since it was put in.

Anyway, these guys showed up at 7:30 Saturday morning. I had arranged for them to come but I guess I should have asked what time they thought they might arrive. Fortunately, Marc had just gotten up and hearing the commotion outside, I did too.

the Little Back Yard

the truck

getting the hose in place

emptying tank 3, finding tank 2

tank 2

sucking up tank 2

finding tank 1


sucking up tank 1

covering it all back up

They hauled away 1200 gallons of shit infused water. Took them about an hour from the time they drove up til the time they drove off.

When we asked about how often we should have this done, he sort of hedged his answer.

It depends on how much you generate, he says.

I loved that.

Apparently, people 'generate' different amounts of shit depending on many factors including your size and what kinds of food you eat.

But basically, every 5 to 8 years so I guess we're good to go for a while.

Generate. That still amuses me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

things I did instead of being on-line

I have drawn the mountain.

I have made 6 out of at least 12 planned small waxes to cast for the open house.

The body of the peach box is in the kiln.

I picked up gallons and gallons of pecans.

I cleaned the bathroom! (a major chore)

I have latex molds of acorns in progress.

I dug around in the compost pile, soaked and scrubbed clean 34 peach pits.

I finally washed all the 24 plastic zip lock bags that I let pile up.

I updated the news page on my website.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

getting the garden in

Now that I am back at work with three commissions and other proposals to write, working at the store on Saturdays, and an open house to prepare for in just a few weeks, I have very little time to visit around blogland. My reading is hit and miss, commenting is sketchy, my own posts getting farther apart. Hopefully I will have more time to visit y'all, my virtual friends, mid-December but right now I need to be as productive as possible so if I seem to have gone missing at your place for now that's why, not because I have become bored.

Last Wednesday was farm day. The plan was to get both little gardens and the big garden planted. We have delayed getting them planted because we bought a new farm toy and it finally arrived last Tuesday!

a little electric garden tiller

After enlarging the garden and turning it by hand last spring we were determined not to do that again.

First I had to get all the weeds out that had grown unrestrained during the hot summer (did this a couple of weeks ago).

Then we added six bags of compost

and tilled it in.

Then the planting. We put in broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions (first time for onions), mustard greens (first time for these too). I've also planting seed for spinach, lettuce, and kholrabi in the empty space.

I took the trellises for the pole beans down in the little garden. It still has the japanese eggplant from spring which started producing again when it cooled off some. I planted carrot seeds in there. The other little garden is planted with lettuce and spinach.

Right now my feet are recovering from fire ant bites as the little fuckers moved in the dormant gardens during the summer. I think I have finally convinced them, for now at least, that they really don't want to live in the gardens.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

the map wall

It's October. Not only that, it's the tenth of October. I'm always sad to see September end because when September is gone then starts the endless holiday season...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Marcmas*, New Year's. I can already feel the pressure building.

*for those of you who aren't in the know, Marcmas is Marc's birthday.

I'm never one to wish winter in but it is always such a relief when January finally rolls around.

I'm already too busy with real work instead of the make work I busied myself with for the better part of the last year and a half. So what did I do? I said yes to participating in our friends the glass blowers' annual open house the first weekend of December (which is early this year, including the last day of November). What was I thinking! Well, besides wanting to spend a weekend with people I don't get to see very often anymore. I have nothing to sell since I have been spending my efforts on the botanica erotica series and the peach box.

Now I must find time to make a dozen or so small pieces. I have an idea that I think I can pull off, sort of a little reprise of my rock sculptures I did years ago. But. Must. Keep. It. Simple.


I am making progress on the drawings for the patterns for the mountain wall. I'm working on panel 3.

The map wall has been installed. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my one Saturday off a month from the store, but I was glad to be there once I got there. The team from the glass company did an amazing job manhandling those big panels in place, making all the minor adjustments so that all the lines lined up across the four panels. There's a lot of reflection though from the bank of windows across the room. I don't know what they may or may not do about that. Perhaps if they added some additional lighting up in the cove.

they already had panel 1 in place when I arrived

panel 2 in place

panel 3

angling panel 4 up into the cove

panel 4 in place


The map wall on the 10th floor of the Houston offices of Invesco.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I was unfriended yesterday on FB by someone who is sick of political posts. It's not the first time I've been unfriended, well the first time for this reason, but it was very sudden and, I feel, a little harsh. It was a short association, made through a high school group page that I found myself added to a while back but I enjoyed our little correspondences, a friendly person even though I have no clear memories of him from back then.

I made a post about, well, here was my post:

I don't understand why everyone says Romney won the debate. What is that based on, being aggressive and running rough shod over the moderator? Why does that make him the winner, because he talked louder, more forcefully while he was lying about his policies? Sheesh. How about honesty for a benchmark. How about not telling a bunch of lies and contradicting everything else you had said in your campaign previously as a mark for who wins? Calmly stating your policies and how they have helped raise the country from the cesspool he inherited (even with some exaggerations) means you lose? There is something seriously wrong with this country and I'm not talking about the politics.

While this seems on the surface to be about politics, it really wasn't. The politics was just the arena that this little act played out in. Yes, I support the imperfect, stretching the truth Obama and yes I did represent Romney as lying and contradicting all his previous policy statements, but I didn't make that up. It's been fact checked and in the news and even his campaign people had to make a correction to some of what he said.  But really, I could just as well have said Bozo 1 and Bozo 2.

Because what I was really trying to get at was the criteria upon which Romney was declared the winner of the debate. My point was directed more to what our culture considers a 'winner', that demeanor was more important than content.

The debate was framed as some sort of contest where there must be a clear winner and a loser. Why, first of all, does there have to be a winner or a loser instead of two people talking about their positions, making their cases, when the winning or losing will be determined by the election.

It seemed to me that the winner was declared the winner not because his arguments were better, his politics were better, but because he was more aggressive and forceful and I think that is a cultural condition, perhaps even a human condition, deeper that Dem vs Rep. It might be one reason why this nation is always at war, has been at war with few exceptions, since it's conception.

And we have, you know. We have been involved in one war or another and many times more than one at a time for nearly every year of our existence. You can look that up. We have the largest military, spend the most on warfare, have armed forces stationed in over 150 countries.

And that's what I think is wrong. The aggressive forceful guy, the bully if you will, gets called the winner over the thoughtful calm guy. Apparently, right or wrong, truth or falsehood, doesn't enter into it.

Content doesn't enter into it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

drawing the mountain

Now that the map wall is finished, scheduled to be installed tomorrow, I'm working on the drawings for the mountain wall. The graphic artist did a lot of work on the image before he sent it to me, breaking the black and white photograph down into 5 tones and then converting that into a line drawing.

It's my turn now to turn that line drawing into something I can use to cut the stencil and make the diagram from. I had both versions of the file printed out and have the 5 tone print hanging up on the wall in front of me and the line drawing on the table before me. I'm tracing the line drawing, doing some simplifying as I go. If I can't see it on the shaded print 7' in front of me, it doesn't go on the drawing I'm making.

turning this...

into this

To tell you the truth, I welcome the need to focus my mind on something because I am weary of the presidential election. It's just non-stop. I know who I am voting for and paying attention to the fray only makes me feel fearful of what will be if Obama is not re-elected. I will cast my vote and if more of the population agrees with me than not remains to be seen.


I have iTunes on shuffle, heavy on the blues, I have my pencil and eraser. My brain struggles to make sense of all these jagged, squiggly shapes, lines weaving in and out and so I visualize faces and animals and aliens and funny little cartoon fish and birds and poor little deformed creatures and body parts; feet, noses, long fingers, elongated legs.

a duck headed fish?

don't know what this is but it looks happy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the other ocean

This past weekend we had several storms move through giving us some gentle but mostly constant rain for about two days.

Clouds, water vapor; kind of like an ocean in the sky that gets too heavy and must drop some of it. Much like the land oceans that get too full and must give up some of their water to the sky.