distractions, distractions

I’ve been MIA from reading my favorite garden blogs, and I’ve been AWOL from posting. You know the story…life happens.

At least the first distractions was garden-related.

I posted this photo months ago. It’s of the backside of an outdoor fireplace after we removed a rotted wooden fence that the previous owners poured concrete around to form a garden bench. The world has only a certain amount of abject ugliness and a big pile of it sat in the back yard. So…what to do with it?

We thought about cladding it in something, maybe some cement panel pieces leftover from a previous house project. Or maybe grow a vine. Ryan suggested stuccoing the ugly mound.

We ended up with one of the more radical solutions: Make the whole mess go away.

Well, actually, it’s been several weeks of chiseling out the old bricks, one at a time, trying to save them for some something. But hopefully not another house project using brick. I’m coming to hate the stuff. This house 25 years ago came with brick walkways, brick walls, brick patios, brick everything. Enough already! There may be a Craigslist ad in our future.

And after the brick there were a few hundred little tiles that had to be chipped off the bench. I can blame the ugly mortar mess on the back of the fireplace on the previous owner, but the tile was my own bit of youthful excess, trying to prettify a seriously imperfect slab of concrete. Paint is easy to undo. Tile is not.

So that’s been distraction #1.

Distraction #2 hasn’t got much to do with the garden. Recently I got it in mind that I wanted to learn a new piece of music, the piano part for John Adams’ wild Road Movies, for violin and piano. Here’s a YouTube video of a nice performance of the last movement, particularly of the swinging piano part. (Ignore the screaming child near the conclusion.)

The garden project should be done before too too too long–more to follow for sure. But this music is going to take a while longer. It almost makes you pine for living in a climate where the garden shuts down for six months, leaving you with little to do but indoor stuff…like baking and art and music.

9 thoughts on “distractions, distractions”

  1. I’ve thought the same thing about our often envied year round outdoor lifestyle. Some days I’d welcome a nice snowstorm as an excuse to ignore the garden. I’m currently trying to thoroughly master my CAD program’s 3D functionality, but right outside I catch a glimpse of my un-weeded side yard and unplanted nursery containers and it becomes very hard to concentrate.

  2. Kudos for salvaging the bricks. I might have resorted to a sledge. Looks like it opens the garden up nicely to have it gone. I do like that feeling of opening up space. I’m starting up a big project in my own garden in another month or two. Not really looking forward to doing it, just to having it done.

  3. I feel your pain – too busy to clean up the yard here from the Feb 2011 disaster, and get on with turning this into a better design. Maybe you can finish it all out under the spell of good music?

  4. Congratulations on choosing a full fireplacectomy, and for salvaging those bricks. Bricks do look more at home in New England, home of those snow storms you’re dreaming of. I miss new snow, but not the subsequent mounds of old, dirty, icy snow that it turns into.
    Living in a Mediterranean climate also means you can take an easygoing, Mediterranean attitude toward finishing things: eventually, but coffees, dinners and friends come first…

  5. Distractions happen, and sometimes you feel the pull of the garden so strongly when unable to get out there. Other times I lose interest completely, which surprises me, but I do have other interests. It’s good for a well rounded life and to prevent boring your friends by talking too much about plants.

    My husband has had to tell me to shut up talking about plants on car trips, as I exclaim over this or that wildflower we pass. Poor guy.

    Sounds like you’ve been really productive, though. Fireplacectomy…funny!

  6. James, My garden is full of half-done and undone projects. I’m trying to decide if having 5 months of snow cover is a liability or an asset in this respect. It is true that once the snow falls, I can stop feeling guilty about those still undone projects. But when spring finally gets here, time speeds up while I try to make as much headway as possible. (The piece of music seems like a very worthy distraction.)

  7. Music and demolition sound like activities that balance each other. At least you must be sleeping well. That’s some scream that child let loose. I got a little too happy with dry-laid brick 20 years ago and am bricked-out too. Brick is cheap, easy, DIY. What’s not to loathe?

  8. Susan, good luck with the CAD software. It sounds like lots of work but it should get you some terrific renderings in the end. Just pretend it’s snowing outside and the weeds don’t exist.

    Ryan, oh I thought about the sledge a fair amount through the project! But I’m sure the bricks will find a good home other than the landfill.

    David, it was awfully tempting to take a long break from work and sit at the piano for a few minutes. Anything sounded better than going back to attacking the brick.

    Maggie, the fireplaceectomy (spellcheck hates the word, tough, I love it) project is now almost complete. Pictures to follow of course.

    Sue, there are a few other things in life than plants, or so I hear. Your husband is missing out on some terrific conversations if he tunes you out as you gush over some wild plant flashing by the window at highway speed.

    Ricki, I’ve got the finale up to 80% speed, so performing it is actually looking possible. The hard part will be putting two crazy intricate parts together. Maybe I’ll skip YouTube and head straight for iTunes and my first contract with Sony…

    Jean, the weather gets in the way of many outdoor things here too. I sense that it takes lots less to get me to wimp out than you dealing with what Maine sends your way!

    Denise, are you undoing the dry-laid brickwork now that you’re 20 years the wiser? In 20 years people will be thinking about taking out all the concrete pavers that have been so popular the last decade. Dry-laid brick (or pavers) at least offer you the easy(ish) option of moving things around if you decide something is the wrong place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *