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Heavy Metal Comeback

February 9, 2015

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Behold the one that got away …



Rust, weathered wood, needles

What I’m referring to is the long, trough-like planter in the photo above. A heavy metal tank with an jagged opening cut into it lengthwise, I’d had one four or five years ago. Thing was I sold it to my friend Britney, and upon the ol’ rusty, riveted, way-too-heavy thing’s departure I began to pine for it. It didn’t matter that I’d never come up with a satisfying purpose for the thing, or found a spot for it where it didn’t look out of place, I still thought I’d made a mistake letting it go. Feeling this way bugged me; I pride myself on not sniveling over departed things. I thought I’d feel better seeing the trough in its new home atop Britney’s awesome hillside deck, but no: It had become the one that got away.

So imagine my delight — shock, really — when I was visiting my friend Bobbi’s shop and I saw the same trough in her garden area! Of course it wasn’t the same thing, but it was very, very close. Giddy and dizzy, I ran inside to ask her about it: Where’d it come from; who was selling it; how much?! It had been part of a pick by a local dealer, in San Bernardino county somewhere, and was $80. Now don’t hold me to these details; fact is I was so insanely excited by the sight of it that I may have all of them wrong. Anyway, I paid for it and begged Bobbi to put a sold sign on it lest it slip through my grasp again. Before it was delivered to the Rancho I was scouting around for a stand that might hold my prodigal trough off the ground, something metal and in a compatible state of rusticity. When none of my usual sources came through for me, I decided I’d have to have one made, probably by Martín, in nearby Perris Valley.* I arranged for the trough’s delivery, planning to measure it for a stand once it arrived. But when the trough arrived there was another surprise: It fit perfectly in a stand I already had! Made of welded steel, the stand featured four splayed legs, two thick curved bands of steel up top, and a mesh shelf below …  Oh, and there’s one more thing: I’d bought the stand from Martín months before!

With the stand and trough united I was excited to fill it with plants … sadly, that would have to wait until scheduled exterior house painting had been accomplished … something that took months to accomplish due to weather. Finally, the day had come: House was painted, everything had been moved back into place and I could finally buy plants for the trough. I wanted to buy them from one of my fave local succulent sources, but there was a problem. Much of his stock had fallen victim to frost, and the remaining stuff that looked good was going to the upcoming succulent show. Happily, his cacti looked good; I bought a boxful of his best and they worked out smashingly. I’d come home with more than I needed, so I planted the surplus in complementary vessels of galvanized steel, cast iron and ceramic. I’m very pleased with my cactus garden and enjoy the idea that my trough is back where it belongs!


*Check Martín‘s listings on craigslist (Inland Empire key words: martin perris); 951-322-9915. A welder/sculptor, Martín’s a tireless picker and junk vendor; he’s got stuff at his home, as well as several yards off-site. Scroll through the photos on his craigs-listings and you’ll see that he’s got lots and lots of stuff!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Valorie Larson permalink
    February 9, 2015 7:29 am

    I have to say that I am so happy you are back! I so enjoy reading your blog. You have this amazing way of describing all the interesting details of your creations. From your ideas and your search, to the culmination of the whole experience, I’m sure all your readers would agree that not only is it a very fun read but we also get to enjoy your amazing art!
    I was so excited to find this new post in my mailbox tonite, to read about your journey in this awesome creation seemed like the perfect end to a long perfect day.
    Welcome back Reuben!

    • February 9, 2015 4:40 pm

      Wow, thanks, Valorie … I worry sometimes that I’m going on too long, but I think it’s all part of the creative process. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. February 9, 2015 2:17 pm

    Reuben, it’s marvelous and I had no idea that you had sellers remorse, you hid it well! Is that a grinding stone that I see? Is it new? For some reason, I have a thing for grinding stones and this one looks particularly awesome. Nice job!

    One of these days, we should take a field trip to your succulent guy… we just have the same-o-same-o around here and I know there is so much more out there.

    • February 9, 2015 4:44 pm

      I agree, WF: It’s hard to find interesting succulents going through local nurseries. As for seller’s remorse: I was surprised and kept wondering why I was feeling that way; not like me at all. Thankfully the universe saw fit to quell my remorse by placing another tank in my path!

  3. DaveinToronto permalink
    February 9, 2015 2:57 pm

    You are funny:
    “It fit perfectly in a stand I already had!”

    Reuben’s serendipity. Thanks for the smile this morning.

  4. February 9, 2015 4:02 pm

    I love that trough! It would fit perfectly on my apartment balcony. I will have to start a search for something similar.

    • February 9, 2015 4:46 pm

      Wishing you luck on your search, Angeline! They’re out there … A visitor told me they’d seen another tank like mine in the high desert.

  5. Guida permalink
    February 9, 2015 5:38 pm

    Great !!!!!!

  6. February 9, 2015 6:57 pm

    How lucky to find another trough, and to have it fit in your stand. Love the arrangement with the cacti and the masks. Tell me about the stand that looks like a drum with an elephants head…. I like it!

    • February 9, 2015 6:59 pm

      Hi, Val, that stand is actually an old African stool I’ve had for years and years. It moves inside, then outside and is an always dependable stand/stool/table.

  7. Linda Garrison permalink
    February 12, 2015 4:42 am

    Love it all! You have such a good eye! Inspiring me to do something with the back yard and succulents, of course!

    • February 12, 2015 5:03 am

      Thanks, Linda … If you do send me a pic of your project; I’d love to see it! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  8. Vickie Perez permalink
    February 13, 2015 6:00 am

    So glad you’re creating again again. Totally understand when there comes a piece that
    tells you too late that it really didn’t want to leave! I’m hoping your inspirations will help me get to doing.

    • February 13, 2015 3:52 pm

      Go, Vickie, go! The world needs to see more of your singular pieces. Again: Go, Vickie, go!

  9. Vickie Perez permalink
    February 14, 2015 5:31 am

    You crack me up!! It still dumfounds me that anyone is actually liking what I fell into when I started with broken toy parts. But that was before I met you and Paul. I’m lucky I didn’t lose more than I did to the freeze. Hope to start building again in the next couple of days. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to build tennis shoes out of wire for the old clamp on roller skates. Tom thinks I should just a pair of old shoes but I think this is boring. I see it in my minds eye. Now that my thumb is almost healed I can start. It argued with a razor blade and lost. Shame on it, uh? Ouch……..

    • February 14, 2015 6:03 am

      Isn’t it frustrating to see in your mind’s eye but not make happen? I’m in that same predicament right now, but I’m almost ready to jump … if the project turns out it should be amazing! And, yes, your projects are perennial faves on Pinterest and other sites, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  10. Vickie Perez permalink
    February 14, 2015 6:09 am

    I’ve been back and forth with the starting. Too many other things getting in the way. But sunshine and no wind will help a bunch. One of the problems with working out of doors. Time will tell if the mind pictures can find their out of my fingertips.

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