Nori's Stuff - Gardening, quilting, cooking and dogs

Archive for June, 2009

Pioneer Spirit

June 10, 2009

New chimes

bellchimes

Bell chimes out of brass bells, a bicycle sprocket for a hanger, copper pipe for the hammer and a Thermaltake fan cover as the feather.

chimes

Bongers made from copper pipe. The feather is scrap cedar, the hanger is temporary (piece of plywood) and the hammer is a piece of black walnut. The permanent hanger will be a piece of maple.

I put together a couple wind chimes, one out of bells and one out of copper pipe.

The copper pipe chime is a copy of a friend’s aluminum pipe chime.  The pipes I used are left-overs given to me by our son (thank you Lorr).  The size of the pipe is just a little bit bigger and a little bit heavier than my friend’s which makes the sound just a bit deeper.  This chime produces a nice regal church bells sound.

For the bell chime I went with a different approach.  I’ve had the bells forever intending to turn them into some sort of chime.  I like this chime.  It has a light happy sound.  The hanger is an aluminum bicycle chain sprocket from a box of Lorr’s bike parts.  If I can find a piece of copper pipe with a bigger circumference I’ll swap out the existing pipe so the chime can produce sound in lighter breezes.  The feather on the bell chimes is too small.  I hung a ziplock bag on it to compensate.  When I can find an interesting piece of copper or aluminum I’ll whack it into an interesting shape, surface mount the Thermaltake fan cover with aluminum pop rivets and the chime will be complete.

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

June 5, 2009

Plant wall update

vgb6-3

Click to enlarge

My plant wall is doing really well.  All the plants look healthy and all have new plant growth.  Some are growing at a faster pace than others, but that is the nature of plants.  Here are my observations to this point.

I wouldn’t plant the peperomia in a plant wall this small.  I may change my mind about that in the future, but for now . . . no.

I wouldn’t plant the gardenia unless the plant wall was an outside-in-full-sun version.  I don’t think it’s going to get enough light to bloom, though I do like the shape, color and texture of the leaves.

There are some things in the wall I really like.

I love the ivy, though I would plant more varieties and bunch the individual varieties together.   I’ve got a great spikey climbing ivy growing on an alder stump outside that would be stellar on a grow wall.  Hmm . . .

I love the philodendron, begonia and nephthytis.  Those are perfect for this small plant wall.  I’d like to have more than one variety of philodendron.  I’ve got a Hawaiian begonia (dinner plate sized leaves) that would be stellar on a slightly larger version . . .

I love the hoja, though I think there’s a chance it might get pretty wild and very leggy.  Hojas have a tendency to be leggy anyway, so it will be interesting to see what happens.  I can trim it back vigorously once it’s well established to make it bushier.  I tucked the cutting in at both the top and bottom of the wall.  I can cut out the bit in-between bit once rooting is sufficiently established.

There’s a trailing version of dumb cane in the wall that I think is going to be spectacular.  It has some deep purple hues on the leaf undersides that will provide a lovely contrast to all the greens once it’s grown enough to drop and rise.

I’m a little concerned about the spider plants.  They grow fairly slowly, and as vigorous as some of the other growth is, they may get overrun.  If they don’t, their hangy downy bits (highly scientific term) will add interest to the wall.

The biggest hit is going to be a pair of small vines clipped from a plant in my bathroom.  One  (green bumpy round leaves with white edges just above the big variegated peperomia leaves and to the right of the nephthytis) is a clingy thing, willing to crawl up walls and attach itself to the outside of its rough textured pot.  I’ll be interested to see what that planting does.  The other vine has the same shaped leaf without the white edging, but it doesn’t cling.

I think the vining black eyed susan is going to be great.  It’s already wrapping itself around other stems and will produce black eyed orange trumpets when it matures.  It’s a bit hard to see as it is still so small.  You’ll have to look at the big picture to see it.  It’s in a pocket just to the left of center and it vines off to the right and slightly down, wrapping around the hoja stem before heading back up toward the top.

The beach oleander is going to be a mistake.  I am going to end up cutting it off when it gets leggy.  And it likes more light than the plant wall gets, so it will reach for the light, trail on the floor and generally make a mess.  I know better, I knew better, I just couldn’t resist.

The biggest lesson, and the one thing I knew before I started; don’t mix all the plants together.  Go in with a design, bunch the plants of the same type together, put them where the droopy ones will cover the bottom of the wall and the stretchy ones will cover the top of the wall.  Fill in between with sections plants of the same type adding clingy vines in amongst the plants with strong vertical stems to give them a launching point.

This wall will provide color and texture, but it could do so much more.  It’s like a salad put through a chopper.  All the bits are there, and it’s going to taste like a salad, but the individual flavors, colors and textures are not distinct.

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

Sans backing

gbcorner

Click to enlarge

I have a corner of my growbed with no board behind the felt.  I used a scrap board that was roughly the right size though missing a corner.  I extended the felt past the missing section down into the trough.  The yellow line in the picture marks the edge of the board under the felt.  The ivy that is planted right at the edge is growing much less vigorously than the other ivy of the same type planted at the same time.  It’s getting enough water, so it may be short on roots.  I’ll keep an eye on it and see how it goes.

In the circle, out in no man’s land I’ve pinned the leaf of a beach oleander (weed in Hawaii, exotic plant to us here in the cool damp NW).  I picked it up off the floor when I moved the parent plant out of the house for the summer.  The leaf had a new plant starting and I’m not one to waste plants.  We’ll watch and see what happens.

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

Vining black eyed susan?

viningbesusan1

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I’ve got some seeds showing leaves . . . I *think* they’re vining black eyed susan but until they gain some more size I really can’t tell.  I have another VBS seed started at the same time that is almost 8″ long . . . Once it starts blooming I’ll have spots of orange in my wall.  That’ll be nice.

I moved my hoja outside for the summer on a shelf up under the awning where it would get lots of diffused light and not smell up the house with its very fragrant flowers.  One of the tendrils had lodged inself in a spot that required cutting.  I took the cutting and stuck it in the plant wall.  It’s already bloomed.

I know I’m defeating the purpose when I move the hoja outside for the blooming season and then replant more inside . . . maybe Wad won’t notice . . .

Gardening,Hydro/Aquaponics,Plant Wall

Let there be Coleus!

coleus1

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I’ve taken new pictures of my vertical garden and . . . I have coleus!  I planted seeds weeks ago, both in my vertical garden and in my seed started.  Very little in my seed starter took, but I’ve got vining black eyed susan and coleus going in my plant wall!

Now that I know they will grow, I’m going to try again.

Exercise

June 3, 2009

Aching butt muscles

I’ve been reading up on exercise.  I don’t mean to imply I don’t exercise, but I haven’t felt like I was getting anywhere.  I’ve got damage that results in a migraine if I bounce or lift, so I bought a rowing machine that does a good job of providing aerobic exercise . . . when I use it.  I like to eat, so chubby and I are closer acquaintances than me and exercise <wince>.

In my reading, I have learned weight training changes the body’s metabolism.  Okay, maybe I didn’t mean exactly that.  If you do weight training, the effect to your metabolism lasts for hours longer the boost achieved by aerobic exercise.  I could sure use a bunch of that!  Programming is a sedentary profession and I have the butt to prove it!

So instead of leaving my rower set at a low resistance sufficient to allow me to row for 15 minutes without wimping out, I cranked that sucker to the max and rowed for as long as I could.  The day before yesterday I rowed for 2½ minutes.  Yesterday I rowed for 3 minutes.  Since last night I have sore butt muscles.    My sore butt muscles may be a direct result of rowing at the highest resistance two days in a row.  Oops.

The other tidbit I gleaned from my reading involves the frequency of weight training.  It should be restricted to three days a week.  That doesn’t mean three days in a row.  A  day between each session is necessary for the muscles to recover.

From now on I’ll drop the resistance back to the lower setting and do my 15 minutes of aerobic rowing between the high-resistance rowing.

I have noticed my brain works much better when I exercise, and rowing lets me exercise regardless of the weather without bouncing or lifting.  I see it as the perfect exercise for me.  Weight training in addition to boosting metabolism reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Sounds good to me.