24 hours in the yard

While I was snowed in the other day, I completed No. 49 on my woefully-out-of-date 101 Things list:

Not terribly exciting, but you can see the progress of the snowstorm, anyway. If the birdfeeder hadn’t been totally iced over, I could have filled it with seed and probably gotten more interesting shots. Oh well.


Phase Three

The work-in-progress that is my car continues. This afternoon, we chiseled off the ice so I could get inside, where I fired up the heater and the radio and covered the dashboard with illustrations from the old Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings cartoon:

The paint is kind of shiny, so I may have to get some velcro and a dark-colored cloth of some sort to cover the rainbow on really sunny days, but that shouldn’t be too difficult.

The moon and stars are to the left of the steering wheel. The other stuff is all over the passenger’s-side dashboard. I think the whole thing turned out really cute.

When I finished with my Simon drawings, I touched up the peace signs I’d put on the steering wheel a few weeks ago:

There wasn’t much else to do today. This is what our yard looks like right now:

The streets supposedly aren’t too bad at this point, so we’re going to check out the home and garden show over at the fairgrounds … because if there’s one thing I need, it’s a few more crazy ideas for the garden, don’t you think? ­čśë


Grateful Gnome

Jerry as lawn gnome. Inspired by a bumper sticker I bought the other day.

For some reason, this particular gnome was a little deformed. I didn’t notice when I bought it, because it was painted a hideous shade of reddish bronze, with black shading that kind of masked the distortion, but when I started working on it, I discovered that it apparently had been jostled or squished while it was drying, because the torso was twisted, and the back was all caved in on the left side. Very strange. Now that I think about it, I probably should have turned it into Salvador Dali instead of Jerry Garcia. Oh, well. I think it looks pretty good like it is….

I have now run out of lawn gnomes to paint, which means I will have to do something more useful with my time. Perhaps today would be a good day to finish the rugrats’ ABC book, which I started before Jamie was born and still haven’t completed. (I got stuck on K, and by the time I decided that K stood for Karmann Ghia, I was too busy to break out the watercolors. I’ll remedy that this afternoon….)


How I spent my day

Thanks to a winter storm, Ron and I had today off. Thanks to the same winter storm, we couldn’t leave the house, as my car (which was blocking our other vehicles in) was so thoroughly glazed with ice that I couldn’t open the door. The scraper was inside the car, so I couldn’t chisel it out, either.

Not to worry — I found plenty of ways to amuse myself.

Here is some of my handiwork:

The bedroom desperately needed to be decluttered, as you can see from the “before” pictures, but I just hadn’t been able to find the time to do it. Being trapped in the house all day, I had plenty of time on my hands for such pursuits. It sort of looks like a boutique with all that stuff hanging on the walls, but at least I can see what I have now, and I won’t have to go searching all over the house every time I need a scrunchie or a hairclip.

While the bedroom cleanup was probably the most useful and satisfying part of my day, it wasn’t the most entertaining. That honor goes to my KISS Army Gnomes:

I painted the Paul Stanley one last summer, but then I got so busy with school projects that I didn’t have time to finish the others.

In addition to decluttering the bedroom and painting lawn gnomes, I made lunch (omelets) and dinner (broccoli casserole with part of a leftover veggie tray from Braum’s on the side); cleaned the kitchen; cleaned the bathroom; and started a project that involves taking a picture of the backyard every hour, on the hour, for 24 hours. (I will be finished with this project at 9 a.m. and will post the results sometime thereafter.)

I have one more gnome left to paint. I’m thinking he might end up being Jerry Garcia’s doppelganger….


24 hours later

The promised ice storm finally arrived after lunch today, coating the pergola with tiny icicles. Aside from a little ice on my windows after school and a brief power outage (maybe an hour) this evening, it hasn’t been particularly problematic. Ron and I both have the day off tomorrow, so we’ll just putter around the house.

The dogs don’t like the ice, but they’ll be happy to have their humans around all day.


P.S.: The Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in three weeks!

Gollum in the garden?

This is Smeagol, the World’s Creepiest Lawn Ornament. I bought him tonight at Lowe’s because … well, because he’s the World’s Creepiest Lawn Ornament. How could I resist? The creepiest thing is that the little ridge on top of his head is actually part of a series of ridges that go all the way down his spine.

He bears a striking resemblance to the way I always pictured Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mind you, I hate the Lord of the Rings trilogy, having been forced to read it as a child … but as an English teacher, I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to buy my very own Gollum to tuck into an otherwise peaceful corner of a garden inhabited by a fire-breathing dragon.

Speaking of which …

… here are my fledgling dragon’s eyes. I like them a lot. I’m thinking of naming my dragon Jormungandr, a.k.a. The Midgard Serpent. It’s either that or Smaug….


Work in progress

Who says you can’t do any gardening in January? Ron pulled out dead tomato vines and burned them today while I was harvesting seed from some wild morning glory vines that have been trying to take over the yard. Instead of fighting weeds, I’ve decided to embrace them wholeheartedly and use them for my own fell purposes — chief among which is the creation of a dragon.

Step one: Pound two-foot lengths of PVC pipe into the ground to act as supports for strategically placed garden stakes — a pair of three-foot plant holders with a loop at the top, and a pair of six-foot spiral stakes.

These will form the ears and horns of the dragon:

Step two: Take a can of green spray paint to some terra cotta pots. I used a pair of 10-inch azalea pots and a pair of four-inch standard pots:

Step three: Remove enough soil to half-bury the standard pots — tipped onto their sides — a few feet in front of the stakes. These will serve as nostrils:

It doesn’t really look like a dragon yet, but if you squint a little bit and think about spring, you can tell how it will look when the azalea-pot eyes are painted and installed and the whole area has been planted in false strawberry, wild morning glory, and maybe a bit of liriope:

While I was running around to various lumberyards and garden centers this afternoon, I picked up a new birdfeeder for the pergola:

I also found time to hang up the new Green Man and relocate the old one to a place of honor near the sun-face birdfeeder on the front of the garage:

(Look — magic light! Everything is prettier just before sunset….)

That’s not bird poop on the feeder; we just forgot to take it down when we were painting the garage a few years ago, and I haven’t had time to pull it down and hose it off.

Not bad for a day I’d originally planned to waste. I’ll probably spend this evening making a batch of minestrone soup, painting my dragon’s eyes, and working on my KISS Army lawn gnomes.

Have a cozy Sunday evening, wherever you are.


Meddling in the affairs of dragons

“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”
— Bumper sticker slogan

So I’m looking at my Green Man plaque, and I start thinking about garden sculptures. This leads me to yet another Google search for photos of that fabulous Green Man sculpture at the Lost Gardens of Heligan … which, in turn, gets me thinking about how I might fashion a similar sculpture for my own backyard.

As I plot my battle plan, I start thinking about those fun stepping stones that look like an alligator surfacing from your yard, which makes me think that perhaps a dragon’s head would look even cooler than the Green Man’s face emerging from my lawn.

I start making a sketch. Eyes and nose could be sculpted out of Sackrete easily enough — but what about horns and ears? I start to draw pointy horns and realize they look an awful lot like those cheap wire obelisks you get at the garden center.

It occurs to me that it would be much easier to stick four wire obelisks into the ground and add a couple of concrete eyes than it would be to sculpt a 27-cubic-foot Chia Pet out of Sackrete.

At this point, I remember that I am lazy, so the dragon starts to sound better than the Green Man.

Then I remember that dragons breathe fire. Simultaneously, I remember that I have some latent pyromaniacal tendencies that haven’t had a real outlet since I quit bending neon tubes.

I realize abruptly that it would be easy to fashion dragon nostrils from half-buried flowerpots, into which I could insert smoke bombs and/or sparklers that would give the illusion that my dragon was actually alive and breathing fire at appropriate moments — say, the Fourth of July, or when friends come to visit.

Methinks it’s going to be a very entertaining afternoon….