My last post was 3 weeks ago, and the perennials in the gardens are beginning to look a bit shabby… It didn’t help that we had nearly a week with no sun and 4 straight days with rain… One of them with 6.5″ in less than 24 hours….
The above photo shows the Pink Hibiscus after one day of rain on Sept. 6…
September 7th- The Mound Garden river was flowing again…. This time, I had a ditch dug in the dog yard to divert some water to the woods… It took a lot of water (near the back fence), but there was more water going through the Mound Garden than in any previous storms of the year….
This photo shows the river as it passed in front of my studio window… The water running by the propane tank headed straight for my studio wall and ran right around it, then flooded much of the dog yard… Poor pups! They didn’t know whether they wanted to go out to do their business or not… Some water had puddled under my sewing machine and the towel I keep along the wall was soaked, so some re-routing of the river was required.
During a slower rain shower, I was able to dig the ditch in front of my studio deeper and also dug the ditch to the woods deeper to give the water a place to go. As you can see in this photo above, there is a lot of water in the ditch in the dog yard, and very little in the garden… That helped for a while, but a later heavy downpour caused breaks and overflows in the ditches, so I had to choose another break in the rain to do more digging…
We usually park the mini van in the lower parking area, but we had gotten groceries the last time it was driven, so it was parked and left in this part of the driveway… The water was getting really high, and when I went to move it before my second digging session, the wheels were already partly buried in the gravel that had washed from the upper part of the driveway.
This was one of those helpless feeling moments…. The latest heavy downpour had overflowed the banks of the ditches and broken part of one of my new levees (left side of pic, inside the dog yard). When I got out there later to do damage control, I found that grass, leaves and other debris as well as LOTS of driveway gravel had plugged the wire of the fence and caused water to stand everywhere and return even worse to the mound garden.
Sept. 8th, after the bulk of the rain had fallen, this is what the dog yard looked like… The two piles of mud and gravel along the back fence is what I dug out away from the fence, trying to get the water to go under instead of through it. I had 3 areas where water was flowing under the fence, and the middle one clogged again…. The gravel came from far up the driveway….
This photo shows some of the deep gullies formed in the driveway… I am really glad I added the big rocks by the pipe before the storm… This culvert has been washed out too many times this year. There was still a big ditch from the previous storm, so I filled in much of it with rocks…. Some stayed! It’s amazing how much damage water just from 1/4 mile above us could do…. all that water ended up heading to the Susquehanna after collecting more along it’s path…. We were very lucky living this high up. The river flooding was near or above record levels with many homes and businesses being affected.
Here is a lonely bloom on the mini Rose bush….
“Poor Harry” seemed to like all the water…. He seemed to put out some pretty good new shoots! The poor thing has been munched on much of the summer… it seems every time he has put out new growth, it has been eaten off. This time I gave him a douse of dear repellent before he became deer snack again.
And speaking of “Poor Harry” (a Harry Lauder’s Walking stick bush), he was the inspiration for my latest batch of art cards for my trade group.
The full view of Harry shows the dead branches that he was left with after being mauled by deer. I liked the shape of these branches, so I left them even though they are dead. A bit of “sculpture” in the garden. I took this photo and removed the background in photoshop to use for the art cards.
The theme for this trade was “Balance”… My gardens have been about the only thing to give ma any balance to my life lately, and Harry makes a pretty balanced “sculpture” in the garden, so he was to be the star. I began by fusing random scraps of fusible backed fabrics to parchment paper until I had just a bit larger than a sheet of paper. I wanted to print Harry’s picture on this fused background, so I painted over the fabrics with titanium white to soften the colors, and a bit of gel gloss to seal and snaggy edges. I then set up the document to print and it worked! No Jams! The above photo shows the printed fabric base.
This photo shows two of the cards after they were cut to size and Inktense pencil was added for the Petunias in the garden. I had only dampened the pencil for Harry’s leaves, and not the flowers yet.
Above are four of the finished cards… See how much more vibrant the colors from the Inktense pencils are after I painted over them with very dilute gel medium. I added some more deep shading on Harry with the pencils and thicker gel gloss to give him a little shine like he has in real life. I finished these cards the day before the heaviest rain hit, and they got in the mail just in time… I’m not sure how many days we were without mail after that….
Since I have been pretty creatively blocked lately, I have been trying different things to get things moving again…. A member of the Quiltart list was about to turn 49 a few weeks ago and decided she would make a little journal quilt each week during her 50th year. She invited others to join her, and since I just turned 50 last month, I decided it might be something to get me back into creating. For the first piece, I used the photo of the view of the garden I see from my studio window when sitting at my machine.
The “due date” for the first piece was Sept. 4th…. Thankfully the rules for the group are pretty flexible, and I only had part of the piece fused together by then, but for me that was better than I had done in a long time. Yesterday, I finally finished it…. It took a while to do the quilting with all the thread color changes I did, but Free Motion Quilting seems to be like riding a bike… I was a little rusty at first, but moved along pretty quickly. The photo above shows the finished piece!
Before I started quilting week one’s quilt, I worked on the second piece.
Since week two included the storm, I just had to use a part of one of the photos of the water flowing through my Mound Garden. Above is the photo I used with the beginning of the quilt before quilting.
Here is the finished piece for week two. I played with different shades of beige and brown threads for the muddy water and gravel in the quilting. The main fabric in the middle of the piece is a bit of a small piece of a batik I had that gave the feel of much of the upper part of the garden. The lower part of the garden is a piece of my pale hand dyed fabric with Inktense pencil used to add the green for the leaves of the plants. I used little touches of titanium white paint for the Phlox and Echinacea flowers, and quilting with a variegated bright pinks thread makes the Vinca flowers.
While these two little pieces aren’t a lot, I really hope they will be the beginning of my creative mojo returning…. Maybe I’ll even finish a quilt that I started nearly 1 1/2 years ago. I’ll take any creative bursts I can get!!