The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.
For over a year I have had an image in my head of a vertical garden at the back of one of our lots. One problem: there were four bins of compost in the spot where this needed to go. The bins were in bad shape and needed redoing, and moving it would be a big job.
- flower beds and borders
- rose gardens
- a secret garden
- an herb garden
- a kitchen garden (the French call it a potager)
- bagging and dragging garden leavings for trash pickup (not to mention the extra cost of bags and hauling)
- bundling of limbs and branches (we have a muncher shredder to speed up the process)
- tramping to the garden center to lug bags of compost home – it just waits for me in my bin until needed.
The Vertical Garden Comes to Light
- T-posts left from other projects (5 x $3.00)
- Four weathered pallets left from the old bins (4 x $5.00)
- Screws and hardware from our stash ($25.00)
- A mixture of hanging baskets I have managed to accumulate over the years, and (of course) ($30-$60.00)
- composted soil and plants
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
- a Stanley hand miter saw (that, as I said, I only use for 90 degree cuts for now)
- a small hammer (for small brads)
- a set of corner picture frame clamps (estate sale find)
- a multi-purpose screw driver
- a cordless power drill (my one power tool)
- Greased Lightning for cleaning the porcelain parts
- Nitrate gloves (to protect my manicure – of course!)
- Wood glue
- E-600 glue (it will hold anything!)
- Lots of small brads and screws (estate sale finds)
- Buckets of hex nuts and bolts (leftovers)
- Paint samples. I generally do not paint lath, but there are other bits I may add some color to.
- Cut the Lath into pairs of the same length. Most of the time I have already cleaned it, but if needed, I take a wire brush for a final scrub.
- Place into the frame clamps, gluing as you go
- Using a very small drill bit, drill two small pilot holes in each joint. Do not skip this step! 125 year old wood is well seasoned and can be brittle – this will avoid cracking.
- Nail each corner and let set for a few hours or overnight.
- Measure the bottom and cut the lengths of lath or other wood material for the base. I have used reclaimed cedar shingles or other bits of scrap wood as long as they are the same thickness
- Cut, glue and nail the base
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I have been leading a class at my church using the book: Living Forward. We have been meeting on Sunday evenings for two hours. Fundamental to this process is cultivating the ability to first, acknowledge where one is at present and then to “see”, to imagine, to dream about how you want things to be formed.
This takes courage, even grit, for most of us who are 50+. For us, life has formed and informed us in both good and bad ways. This process brings one face to face with baggage that needs unpacking. I suppose it is true for all ages, but there is a difference once one has a few years behind you.
For everyone it is a choice. Do we wish to:
- remain on our current path,
- simply tweak our current journey or
- make an about face?
Choosing, being intentional, will at least make us aware so that there are no regrets, no matter what choice we make.
Working in the Unseen
Imagination. Dreaming. Reaching into the invisible and acting on what we see. This is a cultivated skill.
In talking with our group, we have discussed real ways in which we can do this. One of the tangible ways I work my imagining muscle is through re-purposing and up-cycling found objects. Looking at a discarded, outdated or broken item and imagining it into something new, starts in a place within that only I can see. Most of the time it takes a combination of items that I put together to make this happen.
Formed – From Inspiration to Reality
My version started with a discarded chair, an old table, a bit of scalloped wood trim and vintage porcelain electrical insulator parts. A few dowels, decorative screws, glue and paint and here you go, a cute decorative shelf! It is looking for a permanent home at Kechi Korner.
- Whatever I might have in the pantry or frig becomes a one-time kind of meal.
- Scraps of cloth become a comforter, pillow or something for the wall. S
- craps of wood become art, wooden trays or even furniture.
- Dad, an auto salvage operator took old cars apart. They were scrapped out for usable parts and metal. Some parts were refurbished and resold, others just reused as is on another vehicle.
- Clothes were re-done and handed down. If they were too worn out, the cloth was remade into quilts, comforters or some other useful item (remember cloth dust rags?).
- Mom composted in the garden and turned grass clippings and leaves into flower beds (no pesticides were used!).