The garden sits and works on its own as we paint the new gallery, hike the AT, and nurse knees.  The Knockout roses are producing like well-oiled little machines, providing they are dead headed periodically.  Love to help them with that.


Ginger lilies, transferred from other places on the acreage, are thriving here.  This area is full-sun and then some.  They were not moved until September, but many are blooming now.  Did not expect that.  And behind the ginger lilies is one of the five knockouts acquired at the “dead plant” section at Lowe’s.  One of the five is a double bloom!


The heads are heavier and look down.  They are as disease resistant and have the same blooming power as the original Knockout.  They were developed by the same people as the original, some years later.


Above is a detail of a single Knockout rose.  Behind that, you can see sod yet to be removed from the garden.


Then finish off the line of bricks bordering the garden against that creeping centipede grass.


“Finally, atop foliage that is rather midway between a grass and a siberian iris, Crocosmia is related to gladiolus and provides yet another bright torch (most popular color is red, but also in orange or yellow) for the garden.   Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is one of the most intensely red perennials for the border, and reliably deer resistant as well.  It can take time to establish a mature clump and you might have to try more than one location to find its “happy spot” in a Spokane garden, but it is worth it.  Of course, if  you visit the Oregon coast, you’ll find that gardeners there consider this flower one of the staples.  It certainly enjoys regional popularity.  But I get out and about in Spokane and I see these thriving in many gardens.  The owner is often proud of the achievement since they may have had to try a couple of times to get it established, but once really settled, it has been reliable.  When yours is a gorgeous display, you’ll carry a torch for this plant as well.”

The description above is from the “Tower Perennial Gardens” blog, and what is stated here is right on.  The only “happy spot” found here for the perennial is within one of my round line of gardens which gets lots of sun.  I have taken for this use Crocosmia given many years ago out of the shade around the pool where it is just a lovely leaf, and dotted it all around this new garden in a pattern.  It sits under the pine straw now, only to prove merit or folly next spring.


Aha, so with gardening, we are making a composition that we cannot see and react to during creation.  We try to make an interesting statement with plants that have similar sun and water requirements.  We have to consider deer, and varmints under the soil.  An exercise only for the very wise or very ignorant, choose one!


Who knew?  Living on a budget because most artists have to, and to have to value creativity as an asset instead of money, does celebrating Earth Day elevate this?  Synchronicity is fabulous when one runs into it.

I remember the first Earth Day,  sadly being that old.  1970.  Another reference said 1978, but I don’t think so.  Remember the Whole Earth Catalog?


Looking at this cover and the subheading of  “access to tools”,  it was.  But it was so much more.  1969!  First published a year after the “Crack in Time” of the year 1968, things were definitely shifting.

inside whole earth

Steve Jobs said that the “Whole Earth Catalog”  was the predecessor to the internet;  he was just out of the garage by then.   Buckie Fuller became famous through it.  And those of us who were around remember the cheap paper the catalog was printed on, just like we remember Mr. Natural and “trucking on down the line”.

mr natural

Those were the days, my friend.  Go back and click on the link at the beginning of this post.  This is where I ended up.  Click on “current issue” and go to page 24.


Ms Rosebud, our church friend was on Facebook just when I was finishing a post.  Since she was on the site when my link came up, she knew we were home.  We live a mile from each other, and she is so impressive with her social connections on the web.

Her daughter lives next door to her but the husband answered the phone.  “I am going to see LEE and the URN for the CATS” she reported to him so they would know where she was.  What?  It made no sense.  When she had to repeat the message to her daughter, two of the three main words were beyond understanding  (Lee always sounds like “me”.  “Who is me”?,  people would say on the other end of the phone).

She got her message across and rode over.  We walked around the acreage, slowly.  She is 82.  “I see your tree-pees, your blue bottles, and there are your new kittens (all talked about on the blog)!  I wish you had known that Ms Modele had kittens just a while ago!” “You are supposed to put that stuff on Facebook”, I said, having had found out the fact about the kittens from Ms Modele herself just days ago.

Ms Modele is my oldest and for a long time, only local girlfriend.  She is 96, and for a while last year she had us all scared, but she is great now.  Her friend Barbara drove her out here the other brilliant day.  We sat outside and talked.  We met 27 years ago when she took a class I offered at the arts center.  Daughter Brady was an infant then, stayed on a blanket in the middle of the room as we all made quilts.

When Garrett said he wanted to go to church, it was Modele’s church we chose.  Because of her.  Modele and Barbara came by after they had gone picking pears.  They gave us some.  There is a tree near here, somebody owns that land, but for sure I do not know who.  A long bamboo cane is left in the tree for all who come by to knock down some pears.  You put it back, and it is there for the next guy.  These pears taste like something you never found in a can.  They are huge and irregular, and do not last long.

But I digress.  We finally made it out to the urn in the barn, still on the workbench, ready to be shipped.  “It looks just like it did on Facebook”, Ms Rosebud said.  We talked about the woman who commissioned it, who is also from around here.  And then cancer.  We agreed:  everybody has a cancer chapter in their lives.  Up to you how you deal with it.  Making an urn for yourself is one tool.

We showed her the outdoor shower, on the bedroom side of the house towards where our preacher lives.  You can’t really see his house; we are protected.  So is he.  Ms. Rosebud said about our old farmhouse then, “We used to work in the field across from where this house used to be, where the pine trees are now.  Back when you moved the house to here, I could not imagine what in the world happened to this house”!  “How did you find out about the house?”, I said.  “Modele told me”, she said.  Modele had an uncle who lived in this house for a time, and Ms. Rosebud knew others.  I met one couple after the house was just moved.  They were in their nineties, and their daughter brought them here.  Good thing we only moved it three miles.  It belongs in this community, named Pine Hill.

1-rosebud's bottle tree

Ms Rosebud is interested in all the creative stuff we do around here.  I was thrilled when she told me that she found some blue beer bottles and started her own bottle tree.

If you want to read about the urn and the cats, click on the words below,  A TALE OF TWO KITTIES.



Around here, these are called  “Charleston bricks”.  Have no idea as to why.  Must be a small town South Carolina reference to the largest and oldest town around here created from bricks and cobblestones.


Last year, we began the piazza and then went on to other things.  Bricks came into our life again and we attacked the old project with gusto.


Glenn has created two brick pathways that strike out against the otherwise linear pattern of the piazza.



Working with bricks is so simple here in the Low Country of South Carolina.  Our ground does not freeze, and our soil is mostly sand.


We modify the lay of the work area with a box blade.   The sand in our driveway is virgin like beach sand and we mix it 2 parts sand to 1 part Portland cement.  Set the bricks, and let it rain, or water them.


Looking for a picture in my library that shows our sandy soil, I settled on this one, which features details other than the sand.  This is our house, hovering on rails, having been moved three miles.  Trenches are dug in the sand for the foundation block to go in, the next step in renovation.  The charcoal smudge in the foreground is what was left from an old burn pile.


At the left of the foreground of this image is a poured 1/2 basketball court.  The piazza will attach to that.


One edge of the “internal” brick path on this side has been measured out.


And now almost filled in.  More discussions of brick:…outdoor-shower/


Never having considered myself window-crazy,  looking at my past posts may be revealing.  Doors are special; whenever dreaming about my high school, doors and passageways are the predominant feature.  Have been back there twice in the last couple of years, and man, seeing the doors was the highlight!

Now windows are looming large, in my renovation, my furnishing and my art.  Wonder what Freud would say.

In  my 1939 built farmhouse, much of the painted history of the house is left  intact.  This window is one example.  After starting to strip paint at the beginning of the renovation, the act of stripping revealed many colors, and it was exciting to see all the different ones.  I decided to keep many things in a half-stripped state to appreciate the history of color in the house.

Above is a detail of the laundry room window.  Below, molding in the old master bedroom.

The molding in the master bedroom is so beautiful, it was not difficult to leave it the way it was.  But painting the tongue and grove walls was then not an option.  The contrast between newly painted walls and the partially stripped molding would have been confusing.  The answer was to sand the walls as well, revealing several colors that they have been as well (although not as many as the molding—wallpaper had been used in the house a lot).

So here is featured what some would call “shabby chic”, but my preference in terminology is “a shabby aesthetic”.  This is NOT the beach.

Above the image shows the opening between the great room and an auxiliary sitting room, before all the wallpaper was removed.  All the layers were so interesting, and like the linoleum we removed, each wallpaper pattern seemed to be specific to a certain decade.  We were amazed.  With everything on walls and ceilings and floors, (think particle board, 1970s paneling, and worse) we had no idea that we had purchased and moved a total tongue and groove house.  I hate to admit the stupidity of our lack of research.

Above is the same opening which is now framed by columns, and a window is hanging between them to further separate the two spaces.  The columns and window now define a kind of corridor between the two rooms as there are few walls in this house.



The cabinet in the laundry room is a simple window covering for a series of shelves.

More next time on windows creeping into my collecting, and into my art.


Moving and renovating  this house is the most creative thing I have engaged in.   And an experience like this one was one of the oldest things in my memory.  When a child in Denver, maybe five years old, a house was dropped in big chunks down Colfax Ave.  It seemed those chunks stayed in place for weeks, and whenever we drove by, they looked like some kind of a mark of death to me.  It was impressive.

Always having remembered this,  I did not think about it long and hard until my own house was moved,  realizing then what primal place in my being moving a house was.  I even saw a mansion being moved down the Inter-coastal Waterway in Florida one time.  Man, that was a double-take, but the story made the papers and television the next day, so it was not a dream.

Below is the house that we moved over three miles down the road.  You can see the traces of the new foundation in the sand, and the house is being placed over it.  The roof, in good condition, is what saved the house from the elements.

This house was originally built in the tongue and groove style, and we saved all that we could in the interior.  When the house was purchased, we had no idea that the walls and floors and ceilings were ALL tongue and groove.

Below is what we saw in places:

Or this:

These three patterns plus many more were installed in layers over the tongue and groove floors.  Asbestos, probably, and we had to remove all the layers.

In the image above, you can see some fine 1970s era indoor/outdoor carpeting as well.  If you know about pattern, you can tell the decade in which the lino was bought.  Oldest nearest the floor.  I cut two by two chunks of each example and saved them.

When we got to the actual floor, there was some good wood and some not so good.  There had been a bad fire in the kitchen fireplace (which was non-existent when we bought the place), and the floors and ceilings were burnt and scarred.  I went through all the wood, saving the good stuff, tossing the bad.

How did the former owners deal with redecorating the walls of the house?  Same way.  I scraped layers and layers and patterns and patterns revealing some really nice tongue and groove walls.  That statement should be taken within a certain context.  I like walls, floors, gliders, whatever to show remnants of their history.

Many of the walls in the interior of the house were removed and not replaced.  Most of the openings in the last two images were made larger.  This house is really built for one person, and the only existent doors are for the bathrooms.

Some problems were bigger than simply requiring sweat and labor.  At the front of the house, a shotgun, the  door had been covered over, intact with sidelights, by plywood to create an interior bathroom wall.  Plywood was applied to the outside and inside.  The door and sidelight were removed by us, to use in the laundry, leaving a gaping hole.  A custom window was ordered, cement board was installed, and I started creating a composition.


It is 24 degrees outside and we have no traditional heat.  Or air conditioning in the summer.  Where I live, the climate is soooo moderate most of the time.  When  renovating this house, with my end goals being to live off what I make, and to have no debt,  I had to think about the cost of  heating and cooling.   I could buy a system, but could I afford monthly utility bills?  No.  An artist’s income can be great at times, but at other times, LIKE NOW, I have to fall back to my part time teaching base.

This moderate winter we have been having has been wonderful considering my choices.   It has been like fall, and the last two days are the only ones that have been cold.  Later this his week we are going to be working up to where we have been temperature wise most of the winter.  Glenn and I will be able to work out in the barn with no heat.  We have been doing this all winter.  Many of the flying bugs have not been killed this season, it is so moderate.

I had two big fireplaces created during renovation.  One is functional with a gas log, and one is simply sculpture, although it has the innards to function someday.  They are made from the piers that were under this house in its former location.  This house was built in 1939 with two fireplaces, but when I bought it, there was only one left.  That fireplace had to be destroyed because it could not travel three miles down the road to this location.  The mortar would have disintegrated to sand.

As the fireplace started to be built, it became hugely obvious that we had to pop the ceiling out.  The fireplace was just too massive.  So we gave the ceiling stair steps like the fireplace.  That section of the ceiling is now apple green against shiny enamel white for the ceiling proper.

In the picture above, you can see the way I stretched the tile that I had for the great room by integrating two tile rugs.  See my former post about this.    The tile rug under the table is much more subtle, but they did the job in extending my raw materials for this big room.

I traded the acre of land that this house was on for the building of the fireplaces.  When looking around the web for design inspiration, I noted that huge freestanding fireplaces like these are were not in vogue.  It surprised me, but didn’t bother me.  Everything is cyclical. They are still cool.