Archive for the ‘Structural Bits’ Category

Labyrinth Gardens and Alzheimer’s

February 12, 2017

This link is to an interesting article on labyrinths and Alzheimer’s patients

http://stoneartblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Garden%20Labyrinth

The Leaning Chiminea

January 15, 2017

My chiminea was leaning backwards,  but the area around it was very overgrown so that the cause was not apparent.

My chiminea was leaning backwards, but the area around it was very overgrown so that the cause was not apparent.

When I looked closer, I could see that the concrete base on which it sat was ajar.

When I looked closer, I could see that the concrete base on which it sat was ajar.

When I removed the leaves that had accumulated on the base, I saw that the back portion of the base was out of place. I thought that perhaps I could just reinstall that section of the base.

When I removed the leaves that had accumulated on the base, I saw that the back portion of the base was out of place. I thought that perhaps I could just reinstall that section of the base.

When I removed the leaves that had accumulated on the base, I saw that the back portion of the base was out of place. I thought that perhaps I could just reinstall that section of the base.  Once I cleared out the overgrowth in back of the chiminea, I saw that the base wasn’t the issue. The back leg (on right in photo) had collapsed, causing the weight of the chiminea to be unevenly distributed. The uneven weight likely caused the movement in the base.

Once I cleared out the overgrowth in back of the chiminea, I saw that the base wasn't the issue. The back leg (on right in photo) had collapsed, causing the weight of the chiminea to be unevenly distributed. The uneven weight likely caused the movement in the base.

This chiminea previously held a bed for a neighbor’s dog so originally did not have a base. When the dog bed was no longer needed, the neighbor discarded it and I put it back into use as a chiminea. The only base I could find was less sturdy than I wanted, but it seemed to be sturdy enough to hold temporarily. Because of my negative opinion of that base, I collected two additional, stronger bases that were discarded by neighbors over the years. I will need to replace the damaged base with one of these.

chiminea-5

1/23/2017 Update

img_2036I found this product at Home Depot.  It is Rust-o-leum High Heat spray paint that stops rust and will also withstand the high heat of the chiminea.

1/24/2017 Update

It turned out that the original base was not bent after all.  The concrete pavers underneath the chiminea were set on top of sand.  Either the sand shifted due to weather or it wasn’t an adequate surface for the pavers.

I removed the sand down to clay, removed clay as needed to provide a level surface.  I am going to use that as a surface for two layers of smaller pavers.  I left them for awhile, walking on them whenever I was in the garden to make certain the soil didn’t settle unevenly.

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2/6/2017 Update:

There appears to be no settling in the soil, so I am adding soil into the space between the pavers on the bottom level.  This soil settles as I continue to walk across the area.  When it appears there is enough soil in-between the pavers, I’ll add the second layer.

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Oak Tree Overgrowing Labyrinth Path

January 15, 2017

path-overgrown

It’s hard to tell because of the autumn leaves, but the labyrinth path is between the bricks and the white wickets. The foliage bed is to the right of the white wickets. This photo shows that the tree is encroaching on the path from the left, and the bush is overgrowing the path from the right. The path of a labyrinth should be free and clear for the one walking it.  The overgrowth illustrates the reason I am re-designing the labyrinth at this time. This happens with a living labyrinth.

tree-is-overgrownThis tree was about one inch diameter when it was planted.  The labyrinth had to be built around it.  I have re-built its brick edging at least twice, but it’s time to enlarge it again.

The last time I enlarged it, the brick edging was evenly spaced around the tree.  The oak trunk has grown mostly to one side so that it is flush against the bricks and dislodging them, plus pushing up from under the brick.

Accommodating this tree is a key factor in creation of the new design.

tree-against-brick

The tree has grown, primarily on this side, pushing against the brick.

roots-of-tree

I have brushed the leaves aside to show the tree base and roots growing out from under the bricks.

 

 

 

 

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Cracks in Small Birdbath

January 15, 2017

small-birdbath-uprightcracks-in-birdbathWhile repairing the angel, I realized that this birdbath also requires repairs.  The birdbath was given to me by my friend Karen years ago.  Cracks may be a result of exposure to the elements — we have both freezes and excessive heat here.

It rained today, so I’m leaving it out to dry before repairing.

1/23/2017 update:

Once dry, I turned the birdbath over to see if the cracks reached the bottom of the pedestal.  They did.  In fact, the main fracture was quite substantial as seen in this photo.  You can see where I started to repair it with clear epoxy, but I switched to the (more appropriate) gray epoxy for metal and concrete by the time I was working on the visible parts of the birdbath.

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1/27/2017 update:

The finished product.  img_2046

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Fallen Angel

December 29, 2016

angel-concussion-smaller

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.

angel-and-soup-ladle-smaller

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.

angel-repair

 

1/21/2017 update —

The final result of the repairs:

img_2026

Thanks to Dan Kijak for instructional video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lws1IMH8jM

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