Take-away & Addition
SUBTRACTION: The first part of any garden project at the Rancho. In order for me to come to grips with a space and really understand it I have to have a clean slate. So, last week I had our terrific gardener over to remove all the plants in the lowest of the backyard’s three tiers. Almost all succulents, he carefully dug them out and they were given to a good home elsewhere on our street. This left the tier bereft of anything but a very tall, and very sparse, palm; I love its emptiness. Unexpected bonus: Looking out from the house, sight-lines are again wide open to the historic cemetery and beyond. My plan, however, is not to leave the tier a blank. Rather it’s to make it into a sculpture garden … with large industrial machines as the works of art. The large factory fan in the photo is one of the pieces, and there will be at least two more: The dairy do-hickey in this post (click here) and an antique corn husker that was delivered today and can be seen after the jump. Depending on how they look within the tier I may add another. Now, note the word ‘add’ in that sentence, that’s the next important part of garden projects here: ADDITION. All the items above have been added recently to the mix and I love them as I do all new arrivals. Allow me to break down the alphabet soup …
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a.) Lidded metal containers: These were given to me by our friend and neighbor Susan, who found them in her attic. Each of the containers held some staple that would have fed the former residents of her home in the event of doomsday … The container shown in the lower right corner has a handwritten label describing its contents and price; Susan gave me 11 of these and I plan to use them as planters in an upcoming project. b.) Metal factory fan: I aim to use this as the focal point of the sculpture garden where it will function as a giant whirligig every afternoon when the breezes pick up. During a recent windstorm it was mesmerizing to watch the blades spin frantically in one direction, then the other, with the wind. A craigslist find, I offered the seller a few more bucks and he delivered it; a boon when you’re a lame-o such as myself. c.) Face hibachi: This little ‘cue retains its original handled grill as well as an interesting expression. Found during a pick at a local collector’s backyard just down the road … Oh, the junk! d.) Welded steel sundial: Another craigslist find, it wasn’t the original item that attracted me; I traded something I had for it after seeing it in the seller’s truck bed when he delivered the next item on our list. e.) Concrete roller: Marked Craftsmen on its rusted handle, both it and the sundial were delivered for just a few dollars more than what the sellers were asking. What’ll I do with it? I was thinking it would be a good end to a concrete path, as if the path had been rolled into place … but, who knows? f). Antique corn husker: Our most recent addition, I held this post until it was delivered today. I love its awesome size and rusted hull, not to mention its spiral crank wheel and that giant jello mold-shaped feeder on top. Found at a warehouse liquidation sale in downtown Riverside.
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I’d like each piece of machinery to be mounted on a pedestal of a sort, which will add to their sculptural importance. I’m still working out the pedestal’s shape, size, and material however. And because I have to rely on backs healthier than my own it could be awhile before I have the opportunity to move the pieces around to arrive at a pleasing, final arrangement … Still, I’m pretty excited about the pieces as well as the plan!