Monday, November 8, 2010

Let in the Light

 After the juniper chainsaw massacre

This past weekend my husband took a chainsaw to the overgrown junipers at the front of our house.  When the house was built, someone put in blue junipers beside the entry.  I'm sure they were pretty little trees for the first few years, but by the time we bought the house they were 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide and starting to block the path to the door.  I pruned the heck out of them last year, but they regrew vigorously this year.  Rather than spend the rest of our time in this house pruning them twice a year to keep them in bounds, we decided to just remove them.  Yes, we could have had them dug up and transplanted, but that was money we didn't want to spend, and frankly I didn't want the trees anywhere in the yard.  So, they're gone - partly recycled into holiday garland on the front door and porch.

You can see how much more open the front of the house is without those junipers.  I don't know why landscapers do such senseless things - planting shrubs where they'll outgrow their space within 5 years, or trees too close to houses or paths.  Well, careful landscapers don't do that sort of thing.  Careless ones, or ones who don't know their plants, or builders who don't really care, do it all the time.  That can lead to some expensive mistakes to correct.  We had to leave the stumps, so I can't plant anything else in the ground there.  I'm going to mulch the area, lay down a couple paving stones on each side, and put large decorative foam containers on either side of the walk in the spring.  (The foam ones will be winter-safe, and better protect the plants in them during the summer.)  That way they'll draw attention to the entry without overwhelming it, and I can play with different flowers each year.

It's cold and windy today, but tomorrow is supposed to be quite nice, with equally pleasant weather through most of the week.  I have to dig up my dahlias and cannas, and pull out the marigolds on one of those nice days.  I'll spread a fresh, light layer of mulch where the shrubs were removed, and call the front garden "done" for the year.

 Over the weekend I got to spend some time with one of my sisters and my parents.  It was wonderful to visit them overnight, and my sister and I spent quite a while working on ceramics.  I picked up a trinket box and a tile to work on, and she'd picked up several pieces as well.  One was a lovely, medium sized vase for me to decorate for a benefit auction for one of her coworkers battling cancer.  The other was a planter and saucer she got for me.  She decorated a large ceramic bird house for herself.  We enjoyed being together, and talking with my Mom and Dad as we worked.   The kids spent a lot of time watching TV.  Since we don't have cable or satellite at home, just a handful of channels via digital antenna, going to Grandma and Grandpa's house and having TV time is a real treat. Our son also spent quite a while using his Grandpa's train simulator on the computer.  And, of course, Grandma always has oodles of snacks for the kids. . . .

In our travels over the weekend I managed to go to both ceramic studios I work with.  I picked up finished work from both of them - a handful of pendants, a handful of ornaments, and a votive candle holder.  I'll be busy making necklaces later this week, and listing the other items.  It felt good to be creative again.  It seems like I lost my creative get-up-and-go last month, and have been struggling to find it ever since.  I still can't bring myself to paint for some reason, but I'm starting to feel like drawing again, which is a step in the right direction.  Emotional upheaval totally derails my impulse to work on art, but the circle always goes around again and I get back to it eventually.  Ride the wave, I've been known to tell friends going through tough times, sometimes you just have to ride the wave until it gets better.  One of my friends gave that advice back to me this past week, and I really appreciated it.