Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My pet weeds

Susan is now in Wisconsin to the Wormfarm Institute for the next three weeks.  She is sleeping in the barn where the temperature was 37 degrees yesterday.  Today she is gardening.  Hopefully it is a little bit warmer today.  In honor of her planting skills I am going to show her how my pet weeds are growing.  It has been a joke for years that I allow some strange exotic plant/weed to grow under my protection.  I am particularly fond of this plant that until recently  I had no clue to its identification.  Our friend Bert Easter told me it was a pokeweed, and it is edible.  I am sure all baby boomers remember the song "Poke Salad Annie" by Tony Joe White.  As a teenager I had no idea that this plant was...I just liked the song.  Well there are a slew of recipes on the internet that use this plant, but I am not going to try any.  Here are some pictures of two different pokeweeds.

Pokeweed near the brick wall in the back of Mouse House.  Several weeks ago I cut this weed with my lawn mower but it grew back with vengeance.  I am going to allow it to stay a while.

One of my pet pokeweeds.  It is growing next to the stump of our deceased pecan tree which was struck by lighting in June,  2004, the firebolt jumped to our roof and nearly burned our house down. It lived until the autumn of 2013.  On top of the stump is a sculpture made of pecan chops by Stephen Chesley

Monday, May 11, 2015

News from the Mouse House

Susan begins the second week of her art residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN.  Her creative juices are flowing, and I encourage everyone to visit her blog to see her new creations.  As for yours truly, my back seems to be getting better.  Hopefully I will be able to continue my "spring cleaning" of the workshop and dreaded back room

Bottle cap photo-frame (click on image to enlarge)

Susan created some bottle cap photo-frames recently.  They are designed for a 5 by 7 image with UV glass, a black-core mat and flex points for easy installation of your own personal photo.  I have both horizontal and vertical orientations, and they sell for $49.00 plus sales tax.  They make wonderful gifts.

We also created a number of bottle cap mirrors in various sizes and price ranges ($66 - $165).  During her absence they are 25 % off the original price if you mention this blog post to me.

Hampton Court and Palace

During my March visit to London (on a 40000 mile frequent flyer flight!) to visit Mathias and see him dance one of the principal roles in Carmina Burana, I visited Hampton Court Palace.  Great place, incredible gardens and its own famous art gallery.  Needed a lot more time for a proper visit and I will return at a later date.  To save some money I stayed in East London at the Barking Travelodge.  Excellent inexpensive hotel with new beds and surprisingly large rooms.  Hotel is a 5 minute walk from the Barking Train and Tube station and 45 minutes to Charring Cross/ Trafalgar Square.

Barking Abbey Ruins (click to enlarge)

A little gem in Barking, a one minute walk from the Travelodge, is the Barking Abbey Ruins and St. Margaret Church and Cemetery.  The Abbey dates back to AD 666 and was surrendered to the Crown in 1539 and demolished.  Good stone and lead were used at the king's manor house in Dartfort and at Greenwich Palace. 

St. Margaret's Church and Tower, London Barking

The church is quite active but closed when I visited.  The cemetery is well maintained and contained some really cool tombstones that would make some great rubbings.

One of several tombstones with classic 17th century skull and crossbones embellishments (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May at the Mouse House

Greetings.  Susan, the head mouse, is out of the office until mid-July!  Why?  She is attending three artist residencies in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pickens, SC with a two-day teaching workshop in St. Louis sandwiched in-between.  We leave for Scotland on July 3 for Mathias and LJ's wedding and returning to Columbia on July 15.  I have been meaning to blog while she is away, but unfortunately on yesterday I tweaked my back stretching (to ease my back issues...go figure), and I was not up to writing.  I have since discovered that my upright position for typing actually feels ok.  This morning my back was stiff, and I felt like I could not even get out of bed.  Once up and with my back iced down for twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off, I can move around with with tolerable discomfort.  It has been a while since my back has acted up, and of course it happens when no one can take care of me, and I must keep the shop open.

The back flair-up is still another reminder that I must exercise these muscles every day... I have to admit that I had been a little lazy recently, but to twist my back touching my toes is a little much!  Time to drop a little weight off my belly, but I must get my back pain controlled.  Since we are a one car family, my only mode of transportation is the moped, and it sucks to ride a moped with a sore back!  Ibuprofen and ice will be my medicine for a while.

This weekend I will have a rental car in order to pick up her work at Palmetto Hands in Charleston (she won an outstanding merit award) on Saturday, and on Sunday I will drive more of work up to Asheville to the Grovewood Gallery.  I'm looking forward to the drive as long as my back behaves.  I will continue to post the happening at Mouse House during Susan's absence.