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Posts Tagged ‘Rock ‘N’ Mold paths’

For clarity in these prequels, I’m going to call our OLD Tangly Cottage garden the Spring Street garden (and our new garden since autumn 2010 is the Lake Street garden).

1996

Orson loved to bask on the big rock above the pond.

Orson on his rock, 1996

Orson on his rock, 1996

He loved basking in general.  His fur would bleach to brown in the summer.

my twenty-pounder

my twenty-pounder

Looking north (below) from the backside of the pond, you could still see across to the neighbour’s garage and hill opposite, a view that would soon start to disappear as the garden grew. I always wished the previous owners had planted those columnar trees closer together, which is just what they themselves said one time when they came to visit.

by the pond, '96

by the pond, ’96

Below, Orson snoozing on the wicker chaise lounge which I had no room for in the tiny house. I had bought this item for Carol to have her own telly and reading space when she lived with me and Wilum in Seattle, and now it was to molder away outside.

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

pond in May '96 with rhodos in bloom

pond in May ’96 with rhodos in bloom

I felt we were not making much progress with our own garden, being so busy with work.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

pond '96, still quite wild

pond ’96, still quite wild (although the irises were new)

In ’96, we started making concrete garden paths with a plastic pattern called Rock’n’Mold that we had got at the garden show. It made faux-paving stone paths; below, looking toward the house is the first section we made by mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow. We urgently needed hardscape paths because in winter the grass paths were so muddy that our feet would sink in to shoetop level. With the going back and forth to Seattle (a four and a half hour trip each way with the ferry) we did not get any further than this strip of path in summer 1996.

the first strip of path

the first strip of path

1997

The tiny cottage was finally coming together, helped enormously by Robert having enclosed the front porch in winter ’95.  In winter ’96 he finished the trim and I had some bookshelves at last and room to acquire a desk (even though in the photo below, I’m still using the window area to pile stuff.)

a new room, '97

a new room, ’97

bookshelvesIt was a tiny house, so tiny.  I had bookshelves now and had been able to unpack my books, but over the years the damp air did them no good.  We replaced the scary big old propane stove with a fancy new one, but every time the wind blew the pilot light went out; the manufacturer suggested disconnecting the safety feature, but that idea did not appeal to me.  Oh well, I spent most of the time outside anyway!

stove

stove

I read books about Tiny Houses for inspiration.

tiny

tiny

lower path

lower path

In our own garden, we were working hard on the Rock’n’Mold paths with the aid of a home sized cement mixer from Costco.

Our Tangly Cottage sign, made by our friend John (who had been a renter in the cottage when we bought it in ’94) was getting framed by climbers.

at the lower gate

at the lower gate

I took the photo of the sign with ‘Bobbie James’ rose that would become our logo and avatar:

Tangly Cottage sign

Tangly Cottage sign

Making the paths helped define the lower garden.  Below, I had dug out a little pond at the bottom of the garden over the winter to collect water run off from the big pond.

lower pond

lower pond

Below, Lower garden, 1997, with paths. It looks so perfect, but the path idea was not one I would recommend. Despite using landscape fabric underneath, weeds got into every crack. By 2008 I had replaced almost all these paths with gravel and used the cement pavers for making low walls. Only toward the end of the project did Robert and I figure out that you could pour the concrete and then just stamp the pattern on the top of it, thus elimated those pesky weedy cracks.

lower garden summer '97

lower garden spring ’97

Below:  The twig arbours in the lower garden, midsummer 1997. Around this time, our truck’s tie rod completely broke…a very big problem. We bought a Voyager van which turned out to be a complete lemon and plagued us with repairs and crises for the rest of the year.

arbours

arbours

Meanwhile, the upper garden paths and the lower gardens paths had a long way to go to meet in the middle of the garden which was still undeveloped.  The enormous spruce tree two third of the way down daunted me.  Oddly, when I first looked at the property in spring of  ’94, I had been so entranced by the pond I had not even noticed the monster tree!

upper garden path 1997

upper garden path spring 1997

1998

In winter of ’97-’98, I messed around with river rock around the pond.  Why do we always think that a look like this will last?

river rock

river rock by the pond overflow stream

It was always very pretty when I cleaned up fallen leaves and weeds, but never again looked as perfect as this…

We started to come up the north side of the garden into the middle section.  The shrubs on the north side had still not filled in enough to hide the neighbour’s house.

north middle path

north middle path, spring ’98

Here’s the view  from our upper back yard across to the trailer park two houses away. The hill was still clothed in trees; this would change within a couple of years.

RV park view

RV park view

Throughout all my years in this garden, deer kept breaking in despite our best fencing efforts.

another break in!

another break in!

May 1998:  Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose starting to cover the old trailer in our garden.  I had spray painted the trailer green with Rustoleum.

Rose of May

Roses of May

view from loft window, May 1998

view from loft window, May 1998: middle path finally done!

mej9

J9 and me, 1998

Our friend J9 came to visit us and took this photo of me by our new garden shed that Robert had built over the winter.  We had been in a hurry to get it built before the city council changed the setback law for commercial property.  (Our lots were zoned commercial.)  It got built in time to sit right on the property line instead of five feet back.

the purple shed, summer '98

the purple shed, summer ’98

I wrote on the shed wall: “This used to be among my prayers, a piece of land not so very large, which would contain a garden, near the house, a spring of everflowing water, and beyond these, a bit of woods”, which perfectly described our property with its spring fed pond and the woods by the dirt road that ran along the south side.

street side of the purple shed

 

front door, early summer '98

front door, early summer ’98

My friend Elissa (a former Moby Dick innkeeper) and I found a tiny feral kitten in Long Beach and I brought her home.  I named her Madeline (“The stars are God’s daisy chain”) to go with our dog, Bertie Woofter.

Maddie as a kitten

Maddie as a kitten

I thought Orson would be pleased, as he had been fond of our orange cat Valene, she who had gone missing while we were at Shakti Cove Cottages.  I was terribly wrong, and he sulked up in the loft for most of the winter.

Maddie  by the front window

Maddie by the front window

I have only once mentioned the fact that we had rescued parakeets; the first two needed a home, then one would die, the other would be lonely, we would get another, and so on. Robert had turned one of our windows into this aviary, but Maddie (unlike the more placid Orson) was so obsessed with the birds that we found better homes for them where they had more room to fly.

goodbye to the birds

goodbye to the birds

Having her cling to the wire of the cage must have been unsettling for them.

While this journal skims over most of the personal events, I should say (so it won’t be a big shock later) that signs of discontent were brewing in my personal life.    But by the end of 1998, Robert said that, as a former welder, he thought he could make garden art from rebar with oxygen and acetyline tanks, so we got some…(more on his wonderful projects soon).  I hoped that a major creative outlet of his own would make him happy at last.  His first creation, at the end of 1998, were twin arbours to replace the rotting twig ones in the lower garden.  He felt they were rough and unsatisfactory but I loved them (as did the man who bought the cottage and garden from me in 2011).

Robert's rebar arbours, lower garden

Robert’s rebar arbours, lower garden

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