Archive for December, 2016

Fallen Angel

December 29, 2016


Winds were gusting up to 65 mph here last week.  My poor angel fell and suffered a concussion.  I set her up against the fence while I create a more stable location for her.

She’s always been a bit top-heavy.  I’ve wanted to pour sand into her to ground her but there wasn’t an opening.  There is now!  So I’ll get her weighted with sand today.

Unfortunately I haven’t yet found the missing piece because the high winds blew ALL the leaves off the oak trees.   I rummaged through them but couldn’t find it.  It must be there somewhere.

Meanwhile, a strategically-placed soup ladle will prevent her from becoming water-logged.


UPDATE 1/14/2017

We’ve had freezing temps, snow, and rain so repairs were a bit delayed, but I finally finished repairing the angel.

angel-baseThe first step was to decide where I wanted her permanently, because I wanted to take this opportunity to stabilize her.  I decided on the back left corner of the labyrinth.  I had to move a large stainless steel compost bin currently sitting on that spot, and sift the contents.  That took several days.  Then, I set up a platform of two concrete blocks covered by a large paver.

I have always thought that the reason this statue frequently falls over is that the wings make it top-heavy.  In fact, that is part of the problem.  The other part, I found, is that the base is not level.  So I attached some plastic “splints” to give it a steady footing.  Then, I used a funnel to insert an entire bag of sand in the base to give it weight at the bottom.

funnelNOTE:  I have owned this funnel longer than I have had a garden.  It was originally colored bright silver.  I wore it as a hat when I appeared as the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man in a costume contest. The silver spray paint with glitter that I used to slick back my hair was not removable by soap and water as had been advertised.  For the next two weeks, I had the appearance of a woman with very shiny dandruff.  The good news is, I won third place!

soccer-patchOnce the statue was stable, I repaired the hole.  A soccer ball had torn up in a nearby park, so I used a bit of that rubber as a base.  I threaded yarn through so I could pull the fragment tight against the stone from within, then seal with epoxy.  Once dry, I used exterior mortar to cover the patch.



1/21/2017 update —

The final result of the repairs:


Thanks to Dan Kijak for instructional video on Youtube





Labyrinth Re-design

December 29, 2016

garden-blueprintThe strange weather we had for a few years (serious droughts followed by heavier-than-normal freezing) destroyed much of the garden.  I started to replant in 2015 (as noted on this blog), but I realized this was an opportunity to also change some basic elements in the labyrinth.  I decided on a complete re-design of the garden instead of replanting.

In the dead of winter, I can see the skeleton of the garden and assess what I have to work with. The last couple of days, I’ve been collecting ideas on my Pinterest board. Today I got out the blueprint of the existing design, covered it with tracing paper and am beginning to make adjustments.  There’s a lot of work to be done.


The significant changes I plan to make are:

  1.  Move the entrance to the labyrinth from the back corner of the yard so that it is right off the deck.

    My foot catches in the rounded wire as I step over the beds.

  2. Replace edging.  When I first built the garden, I used a white wire wicket lined with hardware cloth.  I was using the Lasagna Method for my beds, so needed to be able to load organic materials pretty high.  I am no longer using that method, so don’t need that much height in the edging.  Secondly, I found that when I was walking across the bed’s pass-overs, my back foot would catch on the wicket as I stepped over, causing me to loose my balance.  For safety as well as practical application, that edging must be replaced.
  3. Install paths of gravel or crushed stone.  I have been using cedar mulch all these years, but it constantly has to be replaced in order to walk above water after rains.  I have to decide exactly where permanent paths will be and then do the construction.  (Considerably more work than dumping mulch on the ground.)
  4. Install another turn in the labyrinth.  I modified a 4-turn labyrinth into a 3-turn labyrinth to fit the space.  If I can, I’m going to put that turn back in so the journey to the center is longer.  I’m not sure I can do this  in the space available– I couldn’t find a way to do it originally.  So we’ll mark that as a stretch goal.

I’m sure there will be other changes as I go along.  Stay tuned.