Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

New Addition to My Terrarium

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

My niece made a terrarium for my birthday. I have cared for several gardens, but this was my first garden in a jar.

The end of January I moved the terrarium to a new location for a bit more light. When I opened the terrarium Friday morning I discovered a new addition.

Terrarium Interior

Terrarium Interior

Fungus Detail Interior

First glance I thought it was mineral deposits.

Fungus Detail Interior

Sent a couple of images to a friend who works at a botanic garden. Best guess from the images was a fungus.

Removed Ferns

I removed the ferns, cleaned their roots, and potted them up.

Terrarium Interior

Terrarium Interior After the Removal of the Ferns

Curious how the fungus growth will evolve. It brings to mind textural, lichen-like glazes I used when I was working in clay.


Unknown Plant Update and New Planting

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

Seeds

Unknown Seeds

Seedlings

Unexpectedly, within 5 days there were seedlings.

Plant Update

The plant looked like this 31 October 2016.

Then so much went wrong. The plant was eaten by a furry one, and then it had bugs, it was eaten again…

Eaten Plant

and then it began to die.

Dying Plant

The plant currently looks like this.

New Planting

Sensing that the plant is sure to die, I planted another pot of seeds 4 February 2017.

Now I wait.


Rescued Cactus Update

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

I rescued some cactus bits that had fallen from this plant in June of 2016. The plant was confined by the fence.

Cactus

Shortly before the plant was confined by the fence, it had several large and lovey white flowers.

I potted up the bits–

Cactus

And now it has loads of new growth–

Cactus

Actually, I recently removed a few starts to make more plants.

A couple of detail images of new additions to its growth. I like that they look sharp and pointy.

Cactus Detail

Cactus Detail

I suspect that the sharp pointy growth is for self propagation.


Seedlings and Growth

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

I planted Hard-shelled Birdhouse Gourds (Cucurbita lagenaria) on November 6th. Four gourd plants emerged December 14th.

Gourds

Since I am still dealing with the squirrel and the weather has been cold and at times rainy, the plants are living in the bathroom. It is the room with the best daily light.

Gourds

The tendrils needed something to grasp onto so I attached some cotton twine to a wallpiece above the gourds. When the time comes for the plants to be moved to the garden, I can snip the twine and use it to attach the gourds to the garden fence.

Will the artist care that I am attaching something to their piece? Nope, it is one of my See a Penny… pieces.

Gourds


Western Peonies (Paeonia brownii) grow on the mountains on the California Central Coast. For some reason the plants are not readily available for purchase in the community nurseries.

I have attempted to grow them from collected seed, but never had success. That was until today. Well, apparently the plants were growing, but I did not realize the growth until this morning.

In early November I placed 10 seeds in a plastic bag with damp vermiculite. I also placed a few seeds in a pot of soil. The seeds in vermiculite have not shown any growth activity.

Peonies

Since I had not anticipated growth in the pot, I wasn’t paying attention. Unfortunately, the pot was in my studio, not very much light, so the seedlings are leggy. I moved the pot to a location with more light.


I found this little something in one of my garden beds in late December. Couldn’t identify it, thinking that it is probably a lily. I planted it.

Unknown Bulb

This is what it looks like today.

Unknown Plant


Squirrel Damage Update

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

We still have not completed work on renovating our garden because we have at least one squirrel who has taken up residence.

Squirrel Hole

I could not move the tape further in. Not sure if the tunnel goes down or makes an abrupt turn. And the tape did not bump into the squirrel.

Squirrel Hole

The squirrel may not be using this hole. I suspect that the two holes are connected by an underground tunnel.

We attempted making a bird feeder that would prevent the squirrel access.

Squirrel in Birdfeeder


Growth Then and Now

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Mushroom

Wednesday

Mushroom

Thursday

Mushroom

Friday

Mushroom

Saturday After a Night of Rain

Mushroom

Detail


Happy New Year

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

2017 January 1

We have one holiday tradition. Go to the beach on the first day of the new year. Often it is so warm, we are pealing off layers. Not today. It was overcast and chilly.
Weather

Screenshot from Weather.com

It was also high tide so it was necessary to stay close to the rocks. While I was waiting for the tide I noticed the juxtaposition of manmade rocks and naturally occurring rocks.

manmade rock

The left side is manmade and the right nature at its best.

On closer inspection I found areas where the manmade rock was eroded and the underlying rebar was as well.

rebar erosion

rebar erosion

I was able to find a single holey rock. Will it bring me good luck in 2017?

holey rock


White Flowers, Roots, and the Squirrel

Friday, December 16th, 2016

This is one of the plants that survived being nearly totally consumed by a squirrel. I watched the squirrel sit in the pot, pull the plant stems over, and eat all of its leaves.

Mum

I popped the plant in the greenhouse until it leafed out and the buds of the tips bloomed. It has been blooming for several weeks.

Got to thinking that it would be a great plant to put in several locations in my gardens. Seems to need little care and not a lot of water.

I checked with the local greenhouses and online, but I could not find additional plants.

This little bit broke off, so I placed it in some water to wait for the bloom to fade.

Mum

The flower lasted nearly as long as the flowers still attached to the plant. This afternoon I notice that it looked a bit spent. When I removed the flower from the glass I was surprised to find root growth. Don’t know how I missed the roots when I changed its water.

Mum

I popped the plant in a pot of soil.

Mum

Then lopped off the flower.

Mum

Since the small broken bit rooted and I had planned to prune the plant, taking cuttings to make more plants is even better.

There is one problem. The squirrel still lives in the garden and loves the plant. He also loves lobelia, violas, and the greens I am growing for my bunnies.

Squirrel

We have postponed completing the garden renovation because every time I plant this area he digs it up. I have tried hellebores, columbines, cyclamen, bromeliads, and ferns.

This is one of his favorite locations in the garden for digging.
Squirrel Hole

After removing the plants and filling all of the holes we had two containers of soil and rock left. The rock is coming from the area around the foundation of the house. So, not a good thing.

Squirrel Rock and Soil

We keep filling his holes and he keeps digging them out. Hardware cloth and rocks do not seem to be a deterrent.

Filled Squirrel Hole

We really did not want to do it, but pretty sure we are going to dig up the entire area and prepare it properly. Digging it up will be made difficult with the root structure of the tree. We probably will find a maze of tunnels and an enormous stash of seeds.

We also tried putting a deterrent over the bird feeder. Did a test. Placed an inverted metal mesh basket over the ceramic tray we are using for offering bird seed. Weren’t sure if the birds would be afraid of it. They liked it fine and so did the squirrel.

Squirrel New Feeder

Since the test was a success, we attached the the basket to some cedar and hung it from the tree.

Squirrel Bird Feeder

The amount of seed on the ground has been greatly reduced since the squirrel isn’t able to lounge in the bird feeder and fling seed all over when he dashes away.

Squirrel Bird Feeder

This is the little guy attempting to hide from me in a drainage pipe at the corner of the courtyard. Unfortunately for him, his cheeks were too full. He had to empty them out so he could make his way safely into the pipe.

Squirrel Drainage Pipe
There is a little pile of seed in front of him.

Why haven’t we relocated him? In September we bought a humane trap. And it worked, the little squirrel wandered in. I talked to him. He stood up on his back feet, clasping one of his front paws in the other. He looked really scared. And it was a very hot day.

I had thoughts of him being relocated and there would not be a water supply, food, or a place for him to safely sleep. And what about hawks and snakes and other predators? I opened the trap and watched him run off. And he has been with us ever since.


What is it? Sugar and Rodin Quotes

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.” Auguste Rodin

When I started to clean the oven after a baking mishap, I paused to look at what I scraped up.

Burnt Sugar

It is burnt sugar from an apple spice cake. At fist glance it looks black, nearly ash. On closer inspection it has a lovely texture of holes and craters.

Burnt Sugar

In the past I used sugar as a stiffener and in molds. There is a history of folks using sugar as a stiffener for crochet. I had been using microcrystalline wax, shellac, and varnish to stiffen and age my work. Wondered if sugar might work as a substitute.

Sugar Twine Vessel

This is my first test piece, made in 2006. It is constructed of cotton baker’s twine. I immersed the cotton vessel in molten raw sugar. The sugar impregnated twine collapsed. I wrung it out and place it over a foil covered coffee can taller than the vessel. Placed the lot on a plate to collect the sugar run off.

The piece is still strong and not in the least bit sticky. And no insect activity.

I also made a series of cast sugar vessels. I used several recipes for sugar glass. One recipe was 3 1/2 cups of raw sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, 2 cups of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I used a silicone mold for the casting.

Melting Sugar Cup

Clearly I did something wrong. Raw sugar rather than granulated. Possibly the thickness. Temperature.

But it was fun to watch the sugar cup melt.

Will I try it again? Sure. Will I have success? Maybe.

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” Auguste Rodin


Spencer Byles and Andy Goldsworthy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Today I ran across the work of Spencer Byles. I was not aware of Byles’ work. So, I looked at all of the images of the project, A Year in a French Forest before reading about his process and checking out his body of work.

Spencer Byles Sculpture

Sculpture No 15. from A Year in the Forest. Photograph by Liza Karakova.

This is a portion of Spencer Byles’ artist statement:

Every piece I create is a different and new experience. I work with different materials, these can be ‘man made’ or ‘natural forms’. There isn’t a common link to these other than I find I am drawn to materials that lie abandoned, or discarded.

I find that one of the most interesting things about choosing materials that have been abandoned or discarded is to integrate reference of their previous life into a new context. That doing so respects the previous life of the material. It can also act as a point of access for the viewer.

While viewing the images of Spencer Byles’ work, I of course thought about the work of Andy Goldsworthy. I love Goldsworthy’s work. It is lovely and elegant, often seeming to defy gravity, but always feeling that it somehow occurred naturally.

Goldsworthy Arch

Andy Goldwworthy Woven Branch Circular Arch, Dumfrieshire, 1986. The image was found here.

Some of the materials that Goldsworthy uses include: large rocks, ice, branches, and even leaves. I have not seen any of Goldsworthy’s work in person, but suspect if you are lucky to happen on one of his works what would occur is what folks write about when they use the phrase, startles the soul.

There are several books of images of Andy Goldsworthy’s work. I only own two: Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture 1976-1990 and Wall.

To see more images of his work, check out the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue.

There is also River & Tides, a great video about Goldsworthy’s work. It is available to rent on Netflix, and to rent or purchase on Amazon.