Archive for July, 2012

When the house was hooked into the new town sewer system,

blueberries, July 2012

we ended up with a large trench that ran along the side of the houses driveway, all the way to the sidewalk. The ground was rough and dug up so it made sense to just go ahead and plant there instead of trying to sod over it. (the clay soil around here is so heavy it was hard to leave a partially worked area alone) Since it was such a large space and with fairly poor ground we decided to stick with shrubs. Of course, I wanted ones that would produce so we went for an assortment of blueberries and then capped it at the end with a rose. Blueberries work best when you have several different varietals mixed together, to allow for easy cross pollination. So far, I think we have something like 7 or 8 planted. (it helps that one of the big bushes we found is one of those 3-in-one where a couple of additional varieties are grafted onto an existing plant) So far, it seems like we do have enough types to keep them happy since there was very good fruit set. They went in last year and also had lots of berries, but we didn’t get any since the birds would eat all of them long before they were ripe enough to pick. Considering that my three cherries as well as all the saskatoon berries have already been taken I decided to take drastic action and netted the blueberries. So far it’s keeping the thieving birds at bay and we’ve actually gotten to taste a few. The problem is that at least one of the local robins has figured out how to duck under the nets and help himself to a snack. We’re going to have to reconfigure the nets to keep the clever little beggar out. They’ve been delicious but clearly, the netting will be a necessity, going forward, if we ever want to get any for ourselves. (and if I have more than a handful of cherries set next year, that tree is getting wrapped too!)


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Some of the things that mother finds, take a bit of research for me to even be sure what

Balinese shadow puppets

they are. These were one of those times I had to do some checking to be sure that they were really what I had first thought. It turns out that they are actual Balinese shadow puppets. Dating them is harder, but it seems most likely that they are somewhere in the 30-50 year age range since they are finely done, and leather with horn and wood fittings but are painted, not gilded. The larger one is god/demon figure while the smaller is one of a trio of brothers, who tend to be comic relief characters. Considering that it’s really only the arms are articulated, I was surprised at how easy it move them in ways that give a sense of life. I could try and frame them, but it seemed a waste, since they couldn’t be played with then.

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I will often go off on these odd little art tangents all on my own, but sometimes

“before” version of the painting

it can be fun to be pushed in a specific direction. I’ve stayed somewhat active in an arts community and every so often there will be some silly project or trade challenges. The most recent one was inspired by Adding Monsters to Thrift Store Paintings. The idea is to add in some interest to some less than exciting “art”. Considering the number of vintage pieces we’ve picked up for their frames, we’ve developed a bit of a collection of less-than-professional and/or dated artworks, now without frames. While they are generally not worth making up new frames for them,

completed altered painting

I find it hard to actually throw them away, so they just sort of…accumulate. It was fun to go through them to select one for modification. This painting was an easy choice since, while the painter had some skill, it was oddly enough coloured, and was also an unexciting enough subject that it wasn’t too likely to find a home as was. It was dated from the seventies so it didn’t have any historical value either. Painting isn’t one of my strengths, so I decided against getting too ambitious about what I planned to do and limited myself to just tentacles that would hint at a Lovecraftian horror, lurking below the waves. My intent was to try and make the finished piece look like it always been that way, so I felt it was pretty successful, if definitely a little creepy.

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I’ve decided that I’m starting a new collection.

thimbleberry, July 2012

I’m going to go for as many different varieties of the Rubus genus (raspberries, blackberries etc.) as I can find and get to survive here on the property. So far we have the large patch of ever-bearing raspberries we put in a couple of years ago, that’s filled in nicely and mother is keeping a hawk-eye on it’s fruit development. And some blackberries are on their third summer. This past year we added some canes of thimble-berries. They are a type that, unlike the ever-bearing, only set fruit on the second-year canes. We had some good growth last year, and the winter was mild enough that most of the canes survived. That means that we had at least some flower set for this season and they are already staring to ripen. The production is much lower than than the main patch, but at Mother is getting a small handful of berries a day and is happy with the taste, so it looks like we’ll be keeping them. We’ve also got a line on some wild black raspberries that are cluttering up a friend’s property, so that would get me four types. I think one of the yellows as well as a boysenberry will be my objectives for next year. I’m trying to think of it as a long-term project. At least the plot is big enough that it should take a while before I’ll start having trouble finding spaces for them.

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