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Life beyond Duckweed

May 15, 2016

In an effort to be a more well-rounded human being (and not just a duckweed expert) I have ramped up my project list to include “everything I ever wanted to putter around with” and have been quite busy with the following:

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The coffee mug that I thought would be so ugly but I absolutely LOVE it for my morning coffee. It makes me happy just to hold it.

Artistic expression: I signed on for a ceramics class this winter/spring and make several pieces ranging from coffee mugs to tiny tiles for mosaics.   I loved the freedom to create perfectly awkward, kindergarten level coffee cups, bowls, etc… and not be self-conscious about them. The very act of forming clay was very enjoyable and I could tell it was helping my brain expand to be able to connect imagination with application.

I spent most of my time painstakingly cutting and refining 250 tiny tiles for a mosaic above my WFO. This week I settle on the final design. From here on, every time I glance at my WFO, I will be happy. Maybe no one else will appreciate my mosaic, but I am making it for me- to symbolize my freedom to create things that make me happy. BTW: am currently “washing” local clay right now to create my own pieces similar to how Indians made pottery pieces in past centuries. Raku. Local clays. My backyard firings. Happiness.

Raised bed Gardening:

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I built raised beds and steps this spring in a raw area near my swimming pool. The raised bed wood was nearly free as I sourced it from local sawmills. Never mind that it’ll get eaten by bugs within five years. Free wood, 3 hours, worth it. I did use treated pine on the steps and beds next to the house. I have since backfilled with a truckload of soil that is getting loads of organic compost TLC. Tomatoes and peppers are doing well thus far.

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Sugar cane sprouting happily

Deck plants:

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Papyrus growing along with goldfish and duckweed. Note the “self-leveler” tube on the right side. Now duckweed doesn’t wash out anymore!

I am happy to say that my experiment with getting sugar cane to sprout is a success. Have several chunks of sugar cane rooted and shoots up to a foot tall already. I discovered the beauty of papyrus plants and found that they have recently started being sold in my area of KY. They can be grown in water like water lilies, so I have some plunked down in an old galvanized tank of goldfish and duckweed on my deck.  Bananas and figs are thriving on my deck in pots as well.

 

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Hops for making my own beer

I bought four rootlings of “Cascade” hop plants this spring. I built a 16 ft. trellis to accomdatge their hopeful height later this summer.. My daughter helped me get the trellis erected last week. Almost broke our backs getting it in the ground as I had used 4×4 ft well-seasoned posts for both the vertical and crossbeam. I chiseled out wood for a strong interlocking joint and then bolted it together with carriage bolts.. We used a back of cement for the post hole and used support timbers while the cement cures.  I strung up the hops on rough twine and provided a crude means of being able to keep them taut. Still have to attach guy wires to the back and anchor it good. Don’t want it falling on my car during another tornado. (Yes, we had a real tornado come through town last week.)  Our mailman asked if that is where I was going to hang myself if Trump gets elected. No comment…

Wing Spinners- don’t have one made yet, but for the price of one online, I can buy a small welding machine and make my own. Am having a blast assembling tools, coming up with designs, and sourcing odd elements. Want to build the first one to install on the top of the hops trellis. Tim, I need my welding helmet back!

You are wondering by this time where I am finding time for all this… I sandwich all in while making a duckweed living, and do try to finish one project a week. Am not worried about my projects turning out 100% perfect. Am just delighted to be able to try a bit of everything I am interested in. Having fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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