Archive for March, 2013

From Tree, to Timbers, to Fine Furniture

Have a seat and I’ll tell you a story.

Have A Seat

Have A Seat Walnut Bench By Greg Wood

A customer of mine had a tree which needed to be removed from their yard.  It was a Walnut tree, approximately 24 inches in diameter.  The tree was cut down, sawed in to 2.5 inch thick timber slabs, and then air-dried for three years until the moisture level was below ten percent.

Walnut Lumber Slabs

Walnut Lumber Slabs

The customer called me, with ideas of some furniture they would like to have built from their lumber.  They wanted a bench, two end tables, a desk and a head-board.

Bench design

Bench design

I drew up design plans to represent the client’s personal tastes and desires while simultaneously planning how to best utilize the slabs .  After the plans were finalized, I use chalk to layout the lumber with respect to the grain figure.

Slabs with chalked layout

Slabs with chalked layout

Timber slab plan for bench back

Timber slab plan for bench back

Time to execute the plan.

The very beginning

The very beginning

The beginning stages of the bench and the tables.

Boards glued up for table tops

Boards glued up for table tops

Boards cut in to shape

Boards cut in to shape

All clamped up

All clamped up

And viola, two end tables built from a tree in the yard,

and a bench with contour shaped back.

Walnut bench with contour shaping on the back

Walnut bench with contour shaping on the back

Now on to the desk and head-board.  From tree to timbers to fine furniture.

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The Groundhog Was So Wrong

Spring officially arrived this week, just as Minnesotans were bundling up in their winter coats to brave the near-zero temperatures once again.  This has been the coldest start to spring since 1965.

It was 1971 since the last time that Minnesota had this much snow on the ground so late in the winter.

White Spruce covered with snow

White Spruce covered with snow

I can barely remember what lies just beneath this same snow ~

Echinacea 'Now Cheesier'

Echinacea ‘Now Cheesier’

Perennials; our reward for patience.

Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'

Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.” ~ George Savile

Gaillardia 'Blanket Flower'

Gaillardia ‘Blanket Flower’

Welcome spring 2013!  You are so worth the wait!

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Planning A Labyrinth Vegetable Garden

Labyrinths

Labyrinths have been used by cultures throughout history, but modern labyrinths are built to help people relieve stress by creating a space to meditate. A labyrinth is not a maze even though the two terms are often used interchangeably.  A maze has multiple paths, entrances, exits, and dead ends. In contrast, a labyrinth has one entrance and exit, and a single path that leads to the center.

Labyrinth at Wychwood

Labyrinth at Wychwood (Photo credit: brewbooks)

The goal of the labyrinth is that you lose yourself in the moment and enjoy the journey of the path, relieving stress and enjoying the space.

We have chosen a circular labyrinth shape. A round garden can be a visually pleasing alternative to the traditional rectangular garden. A circular garden can be pleasing to the eye, and also functional and easy to maintain. A circular garden plot doesn’t necessarily use less land, but it can make it easier to reach the  vegetables to tend to them.  Create walkways that are two feet wide to give you room to move and work, and dig vegetable beds no wider than four feet to assure that you will be able to tend the garden as necessary.

Triple spiral labyrinth

Triple spiral labyrinth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Planning

There are endless possibilities for designing your garden.  We chose a spiral design.  The spiral garden creates a labyrinth where vegetable beds encircle the garden paths so as you walk, there are vegetables on either side of you. Planting knee-high vegetables within the spiral allow you to see the spiral shape from a standing position which adds to the beauty of the garden.

Our garden is 25′ X 20′ plot.  We use the herbs and vegetables for our Bed and Breakfast/Guest House meals as well as for our personal cooking.  Since we run a Guest House, we want our garden to be a place that is inviting to our guests, and  a comfortable place for them to enter and pleasing to look at from a distance.

Labyrinth Vegetable Garden Plan

Labyrinth Vegetable Garden Plan

Plants

We have chosen six different plants, based upon what we typically use for cooking.  We cook with tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce and basil.  We will also plant one vine type plant, a pole bean plant, to be placed in the middle of the circle as a focal point.  The vine will be supported by a trellis or obelisk.

We’re excited and can’t wait to start planting!  We just need to melt this 23″ of snow first…

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