The gate, the wheelbarrow, the cherries

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While much of the nation sadly burns, in western Oregon we have rained our way through June. Gardens are green and suntans scarce.

west side

Here’s the new gate, which keeps Max the terrier in and maybe helps keep the deer out.

new garden gate

Mr. O built it from Douglas fir and miscellaneous old hardware. He used a chisel to taper the ends of the pickets. The undulating top curve went through two incarnations and involved a great deal of thunder and lightning to resolve. I’m very pleased with it and Mr. O is kindly acclimating to the final version of the curve.

He also added a top board to the adjacent fence so now it is much more fence-like and more closely fulfills my need for a walled garden.

board fence

The fence boards are rough lumber.

Mr. O sometimes acquires an extra log, usually by way of the hand-hewing he does on an occasional log-house restoration project–here’s a log in process of becoming part of a building:

Logs that aren’t hewed sometimes go to a mill and are sawed into wide boards for use in whatever five or twelve future projects he has in mind. (I want ALL of the boards for MY ideas of projects but I always have to share and I hope you appreciate how difficult that is.)

milled boards

Now I will write a little bit about plants, since fences and gates are nice but everyone else in this hemisphere is gardening right now and of course I too have some things I haven’t yet killed.

The image below illustrates a group, or pack, of quite humble garden plants, but I did want to show you the spotted nasturtium leaves.

polkadot nasturium leavesAmong other things, here is blue lobelia, white annual gypsophila elegans and of course the nasturtiums with printed leaves. Oh I think they’re sometimes called variegated, which is fine if you want to be practical to the point of comatose, but polka-dotted or striped is just so much more like a dress for a Saturday night dance in summer…

nasturtium leaves

I suppose there will be blooms. Later.

That’s it for plants.  In other news, we went to the metal recyling place.

recycled metalsPeople sell old bits of metal things here, by the pound, and if anything is useful it gets picked out by the sorting people and resold in the salvage yard, which is kind of a fun place to poke around–not like the yacht club or Neiman Marcus, but still…

Well no I don’t really have a yacht but I do have a sieve, and someday I plan to sail away in it just like The Jumblies–and to pass the night in a crockery jar and later maybe bring home an owl and a cranberry tart and a hive of silvery bees…

tin manBut in the meantime there is lots of great junk to be appreciated among the bits of metal that have found their way to the scrap yard.

recycled metal stuff

See those enormous springs in center of the image above? You might use one vertically, I thought for a moment, and grow a plant up through it, but then I felt it might appear that the plant was in jail, like a tomato cage only worse.

But you can sometimes find something useful in these cast-off bits of the culture.

cast iron stove

Among other items there was a stack of never-used wheelbarrow tub things, which I have learned are oddly called trays instead of tubs, and Mr. O bought one ($10) to repair our rusted wheelbarrow.

repairing the wheelbarrow

He came home and got the new shiny blue wheelbarrow part attached to the weathered wood and wheel parts just before the rain started again.  (I’m going to paint out that odd word on the new tub and kind of do a customized paint job –rather like a race car. I might show you how it turns out unless it actually looks worse.)

Fruitwise, the Royal Ann cherries are starting to ripen. We are in a race with the birds, which arrive in flocks and then each bird absconds with a cherry. To make up for it I pick six cherries at a time. They aren’t truly ripe yet but I’m eating the almost ripe ones because of the bird race –still I think the birds are winning.

royal ann cherries

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About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in stuff for your garden that isn't plants and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to The gate, the wheelbarrow, the cherries

  1. Roberta says:

    Oh, I love everything in this post and even turned a little green with envy upon seeing the photo of the nasturtiums. My nasturtiums have succumbed to the 100+ weather. Their leaves have blanched and curled and died right before my eyes.

    I recently played the part of The Bird with our neighbor’s fig tree. They were sweet and tasted like summer and if I do say so myself worth the risk of a misdemeanor charge.

    Your husband, he reminds me of my husband in that he looks able to retain some degree of tidiness regardless the endeavor. If I were to do anything with a wheelbarrow I would have stains on my jeans, splinters in my fingers and a swath of dirt along my jawline or forehead or both.

    • linniew says:

      Oh Roberta, I am sorry for the Great Heat that is cooking so much of the country, not to even mention the many fires.

      We have a fig tree with figs on it for the first time this year. Do I eat them right off the tree? I’ve no idea about eating figs…

      You are right, Mr O is able to stay clean even when painting. I, on the other hand, tend to become indistinguishable from the brush or roller.

      • Roberta says:

        The damn nasturtiums, all I can hope is that they will reseed themselves.

        As for the figs. I like to wait until a warm afternoon when the sun has warmed them up and then I pull them from the branch and eat it right there in the garden. Warm and sweet.

        • kininvie says:

          Roberta, must you provide this lyrical description of your fig-eating habits? It’s sheer torment to those of us who can’t even cut the grass because it is so wet and cold!

          • Roberta says:

            The season of wet and cold seems like so long ago and seeing that I am in Central Texas it was hardly a bit of either. We can no longer cut the grass because it gave way to the heat already. It amazes and delights me that there is a little ball of sugary goodness that can withstand this wretched, wretched weather. I plunder as many as possible before the birds take them all.

  2. cathywieder says:

    I’m not sure what I want more, one of those hydrant things for my dogs…. hoping they will take a hint… or that fabulous fireplace. What a terrific place! O would take your metal recycling place over Neiman Marcus anytime. Of course, I’m married to a psychiatrist so right there that should tell you something….

    • linniew says:

      Yes I thought of a hydrant for Max, but he is such a dog of the wild and just loves a good tree…

      I expect a psychiatrist comes in as handy as a carpenter now and then.

  3. I love that gate; I think it will look great in a year or so when it has faded to a nice shade of grey.

    As for the plants, I used to really hate lobelia, maybe because I have seen it too many times in twee hanging baskets or in overly-organised borders, but I’m beginning to love it more and more, to the point where next year I might actually plant some. After all, the lobelias can’t be held responsible for the fact that some gardeners use them in bad settings, can they?

    • linniew says:

      I agree about the gray wood. I won’t be painting it–I’ve come to hate paint.

      I like lobelia to sort of fill in around things. I also like that it reseeds itself so once you have it started you always have it. The lobelia plants in the photograph were refugees who showed up in a pot and got relocated.

      • I clearly must get some lobelias. After all, that shade of blue compensates for many bad memories of awkward arrangements, right?

        And paint is necessary when you build something with poor quality wood, but otherwise I think wood has the ability to age gracefully, so I always hate it when some people constantly oil their hardwood garden furniture to keep them a nasty shade of orange, rather than let them age to an elegant silvery-grey.

  4. kininvie says:

    Now what I want is several of those metal wheels. I could do a lot of things with them, such as sow different herbs between the spokes – and it would look suitably rustic, or maybe picturesque. Now I do hope you bought that fireplace and are even now de-rusting it…How could you let it remain in the scrapyard?

    • linniew says:

      Well you do have ideas Kininvie. Imagine planting different herbs between the spokes of a wheel… I must admit I never expected you to be drawn to any idea that is so tacky– I mean picturesque. Personally I only use wheels on carts and wagons and other things that need to roll around.

      I’m afraid the fireplace was already sold, sorry, but really it would have cost quite a lot to ship to Scotland.

      • kininvie says:

        Dear Linnie; I do so love it when you lay down the rules for good taste in gardening. As a fundamentally tacky person, I find it very inspiring to know when I have transgressed the boundaries. I thought a metal wheel would be an ideal way to stop the marjoram growing into the neeps….but I now know better. Thank you.

  5. Kate says:

    You’re giving some well deserved attention to the men who run with delphiniums. Mr. O’s gate is a work of art.

  6. Andrea says:

    Reading your post is really so entertaining, even the comments here, i read them all. Looking at the junk i would love the tub as i saw in Sue’s The Corner Garden, it makes a lovely water garden with continuous flow made by a submersible pump. Oh if i am only nearer. I want those long bars to be made into trellis too, hahaha!

  7. bigmunkeyman says:

    Love the first shot of your house, it looks so inviting like out of a book.

    • linniew says:

      It is a friendly house. It’s very old, and at first I worried (or hoped) there might be ghosts. Actually one night years ago the wind whistled in around a bedroom storm window and sounded exactly like a moaning voice–but a little child was sleeping in that room at the time so I had no trouble summoning the courage to investigate and soon discovered the singing window.

      • Roberta says:

        When we first moved in next to the cemetery I swallowed any superstitions that I might have had regarding ghosts. But one night, several weeks after moving in, I heard what sounding like a low moan. “It’s nothing but a cat,” I told myself. Once again a prolonged and forlorn moan. I didn’t want to wake Michael until I was sure about what I was seeing so in my trembling fear I slid silently from the bed and and crawled commando style to the window. It was dark still but I could see movement, make out a lone figure and hear was the sad moan. Soon enough I realized it wasn’t such a lone figure but an actor being filmed in a graveyard scene right outside our fence line.

  8. Grace says:

    Hi Linnie Dear, That first photo of the jaunt that a visitor would take to your front door is gorgeous. So green and lush. Yes, the record June rains have really been a boon to the color green. Kudos to Mr. O for the sweet fence. Max is hereby firmly sequestered.

    The sad part, (to me anyway) about the “mottled” (how’s that?) Nasturtium leaves is that eventually the plants will give way to ghastly orange flowers. However, I’d be first in line for a pink-with-mottled-leaf variety. In fact I might knock a few people down to get there. (You know me and my pink!)

    That junk yard photo, with the springs and the wash tubs and everything, makes me salivate. I wonder how the prices are. We have a similar outfit down here but it’s always too pricey for my taste. The Habitat store isn’t too bad though. I love the old wood stove. I’ve got me one of those but the manic growth on the Cotinus has hidden it which has spurred a bit of musing about whether the neighbors would notice if I adjusted the boundaries by, say, 10 feet or so.

    Your new wheel barrow looks wonderful and will receive much use, I’m sure. Thank you Mr. O. He might be a keeper. 🙂

    I’m also salivating over your Royal Anns. I’m a total PIG when it comes to cherries. Never mind that hours later my body will rebel in the most unseemly manner. I still love me a bushel of cherries. I hope you can win the race with the birds.

    • linniew says:

      Yes we are all about green here aren’t we! I’ll be watching for the bad nasturtium blooms. They may all go into salads.

      Prices at my scrap yard vary a lot. Certainly the wheelbarrow part was reasonable enough. And let me know how that boundary push goes– you might start with inches instead of feet and see how it goes. Okay now I have to go pick a few more cherries. More are vanishing every minute.

  9. cynthia says:

    Oh, I would love to spend some time in that scrap metal yard! It’s funny to see your cherries – my daughter and I were just talking yesterday about where cherries might grow. All I could remember was that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. Supposedly.

    • linniew says:

      Salem, the Oregon capital, used to be called the Cherry City. At my house we have several varieties, all featured in the birds’ travel brochures I’m sure.

  10. Alberto says:

    We have people coming over to collect old metal too. They kind of saved my life a couple of time as I had plenty of rusty things around the house that I didn’t know how to get rid of. Then they became a little sticky and kept coming back every 2 weeks or so and I told them I don’t produce iron here!
    The gate really looks good and the fence as well, are you going to paint them? Because I should have some wood paint left somewhere,I can bring it over when I come for the kitchen….

    • linniew says:

      NO I shall not paint the fence. No no no. All unpainted wood remains unpainted–so tired of painting. And today Mr O brings home paint that is made with some kind of ceramic ingredient and is guaranteed to last a lifetime. WHERE WAS THIS PAINT LAST SUMMER? I hope you got some such for Ca’Rossa.

      • Alberto says:

        I used silicon based paint, it creates a kind of rubber film on the wall but it allows transpiration. I just hope I won’t see any tits growing from the wall…

  11. b-a-g says:

    Mr. O is truly a craftsman. Did you know that when you got married ?
    I’ve never been to a metal salvaging yard but I’m tempted to go and find one. I don’t have reservations about caging my tomatoes.
    Your almost-ripe cherries look deliciously peachy.

    • linniew says:

      Oh yes b-a-g, I hope you can find a metal salvage place. It is surreal, seeing all the old stuff accumulated like junk from space or something.

      Mr O’s profession is historic (building) preservation so yes, I knew. (His degree in Conservation Studies is from York.)

  12. A trip to the junkyard is always an experience. Last time we went we ended up with one of those springs because my son is a unaplogetic collector of interesting junk.

    • linniew says:

      Last year I bought a disc from a plow and I expect your son would appreciate it… It is a nice shallow bowl of a planter but the edges are sort of sharp.

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