Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hoop and Pole

On May 4th, 2013, my youngest son's preschool will hold Carnival, a big spring fundraiser for his school at Sierra Vista Park in Sierra Madre, a classic spring celebration with popcorn, games, petting zoo and pony rides. Carnival also houses a booth of handmade items. Each family attending the preschool is required to donate an item each year.

This year, I was inspired by my mother and the simple "hoop and pole". My mom volunteers at the Simi Valley Historical Society. Together with her friend and fellow docent Rosey, my mom gives presentations about the Chumash tribes that used to live in Simi Valley. The hoop and pole was a classic toy given to Chumash boys to help develop hand-eye coordination for hunting. These hoop and poles are for boys, girls and adults. Hunting entirely optional. A simple fun game that seems to occupy many around this house for long stretches of time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hand Stacked Yard Rubble into Reading Bench

I wanted to plant some Barbecue rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Barbecue') in the yard. The bush typically grows 4-6 feet with hearty branches that can be used for barbecue skewers. I imagined it would go in the front planter beds to double as delicious and ornamental. I realized it would be quite sweet next to the steps Eric made years ago when our older son was just a toddler, who witnessed the entire project from the dirt narrating with hand gestures, "Scoop it up. Dump it." 

A gap between the stairs and wall needed to be retained to make a proper planter bed area. So I followed Eric's lead and built a dry stack wall/reading bench to close the gap. I used yard detritus of broken concrete and brick and carefully selected pieces for balance. 

I back filled the area and used dirt and sand on hand to help secure the rocks. All for the love of rosemary. Fingers crossed now I remember to water and that it stays protected from the fleet footed dog.

After finishing this project, I went to the canyon with kids and parents for a day out. Two young men were camping next to where we set up our day camp. One of the guys filled the canyon with these amazing rock sculptures delicately balanced throughout the canyon.

I had such respect for his work.

Some reminding me of a more rugged Brancusi sculpture.

I returned to the canyon a week later with a better camera in hopes of getting clearer pictures with better light. Each sculpture was gone, returned to the rock pile below. But for a moment, the rocks were rearranged, reaching up and upright.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Changes

Spring is humming in Southern California. The blue ceanothus blossoms are thick with bees in search of pollen. After the loss of our bees and the subsequent swarm at a friend's house, shaken into a box and relocated here, we are back to two hives thanks to an additional swarm that simply moved into a prepped hive Eric had readied and placed empty on our property. Although I've heard bees do this and even heard fellow Backwards Beekeepers give sworn testament that it has happened to them, I had my doubts we'd have the luck for it to happen to us. But there they were. In the hive. Busy. Buzzing. Doing the work that bees do. It was like finding a wrapped present left on your doorstep containing exactly what you hoped for in your most delicious daydreams.

With spring comes extreme hair. After over a year of repeated requests by the boys for mohawks, Eric pulled out the clippers and granted their wish.

And my youngest son sports some facial least for a brief time. A distinguished gentleman to be sure.