Friday, June 23, 2017

Garden Art and Blogging

It was July of 2003 and two of our sons were home from college and working on a red metal roof job with their dad and older brother out in the country.

The boys were fascinated by all the garden art at this beautiful farmhouse.

I loved hearing about it all and wished they had taken more photos, but you can see the reflection of the red roof in the round mirror. I hope the beads kept birds from flying into it.

Zack liked this farmer taking a rest from his chores.

Maybe Defee thought he was Rodin's The Thinker?

I remembered these photos this week when I was reading one of my vintage magazines, a June 1965 House & Garden. The theme of this issue was "The Delights of Summer At Home," and it made this Autumn, Winter and Spring aficionado fall head over heels in love with Summer for the first time since I was a schoolgirl set free from lessons and homework.

Two pages celebrated garden art and one photo took me back to the fun our older two children had playing in their sandbox. I don't think our younger two had one--do kids play in sandboxes anymore?

I would love to have this one for my granddaughters, a canopy of roses above their heads and a large stone turtle nanny to sit upon.

House & Garden said that "one playful conceit can make a summer" and that this gingerbread dog below was perhaps awaiting a calico cat.

I think they had him mixed up with the gingham dog and the calico cat, side by side at the table sat, but I've always loved pictures where a grand house has two stone or iron dogs in the garden. Tara Dillard believes the dogs should always face each other, not out. Wouldn't that be much more companionable?

At Valley View we had various pieces of garden art scattered around, mostly farm relics, all left there when we sold the place because they belonged there and were left in caring hands.

The only garden art when we moved here to our new home was a green rabbit that I brought inside to save for Easter tables and a little blue bird that I yanked up and threw aside one cold winter day after we moved in. It was only when a little granddaughter visited, spotted it and wanted it put back that I began to look at it as worthy of keeping.

Now I wouldn't dream of throwing it away. It keeps visiting songbirds company at the bird feeder that sits on top of an old well. The birds and squirrels and this little piece of garden art entertain me through my kitchen window.

Recently a piece of garden art came to live with us that has great sentimental value, a pineapple, symbol of hospitality.

This pineapple is at least 35 years old and was an unsold item from our family garden center, first owned by my father and then sold to RH and his brother Bill.

The pineapple sits below our front porch in front of a large rosemary bush.

We hoped that other herbs would surprise us in this bed but instead there are many succulents and odd little plants blooming successively.

There are also patches of this plant in the bed but there are many bare spots in the sea of old bark. We hope to fill the bed in with perennial herbs and more succulents, a few plants at a time.

Everything is a work in progress here.

For now my herbs are in pots on the kitchen porch, seen below through the storm door, handy for me to use.

Bill knew we had left all our garden pots behind when we moved and said we were welcome to the old garden center pots that were still at his house.

So these 35 year old Italian pots hold my herbs for now under some lathe to protect them from the sun that shines here almost all day long. That porch will get a pergola roof eventually, knock on wood, and hopefully the large smoker out by the fence will be moved someday. It detracts from the view to the neighbor's pond. 

Perhaps I should just pretend that it's a piece of garden art? I do love garden art. What about you? Anyone have an interesting piece of art in your garden?

I know Doreen does at that beautiful log cabin of theirs that is now up for sale.

Anyone else?

I started to say that plywood cutouts of dogs peeing in the garden don't count, but hey, a lady whose garden art is a concrete pineapple, however beloved, shouldn't set any rules, should she? 

That's the Garden Art part of this post, the Blogging part of it has not been as easy to write.

Rodin's Thinker has not been the only one a-thinking. The past few weeks while I've been missing from blogging have been a time of reflection for me.

And it's been a time of waiting. Are you a good wait-er? Isn't waiting the pits?

Is there anyone who likes to wait for a doctor's report, for lab work to come back?

Before you start thinking the worst, let me tell you right now that all is well.

But I've waited for lab work reports since an annual skin cancer exam recently turned up suspicious spots. And after I learned that once again I had squamous cell carcinomas to deal with, I waited to hear when I could see the surgeon, and then waited for the surgery and then waited for that lab report. 

Don't you just wish we could just smash cancer into smithereens? 

Decades ago I waited for a surgical breast biopsy for cancer. It was benign.

Then I waited for a hysterectomy because they thought I had ovarian cancer. That was a difficult wait but it was endometriosis, not cancer.

In 2004 I had Mohs surgery for squamous cell cancer on my face and nose.

Last fall in Florida I was told that a growth removed from my nose was most likely malignant. Nine days later the lab report showed that it was benign.

I was lucky last week after the surgery on my shoulder. The lab report said they got it all, it had not metastasized. It has not been fun but cancer is fun for no one. And I am very grateful for all the prayers of family and friends.

But it has been a time of thinking, of deciding what is important. And the answer to that is that each day God gives me is what is important, a day.

A gift to be used wisely.

During this time when it has hurt to type much or hold a laptop, I turned back to pencil and paper. I worked on the books I've been writing on for years. I finished editing one for the dozenth time, worked on others, spending hours and hours each day instead of stolen minutes.

Some of you have been through this with me before, back at Across the Way. I gave up blogging then, missed it, began Dewena's Window. I don't want to stop blogging again, but I do want to cut back on the time I spend on it.

So I'll be trying to post only a few times a month at Dewena's Window.

Ha! That's about all I've done anyway this last year, isn't it? Only now it will be by plan, not by procrastinating. So you won't have to wonder where in the world Dewena has been. I'll still be here, I'll just give in to being a slowpoke.

It's summer, a time I usually want to pass quickly, to get on to the wonderful months of autumn, then to the holidays, and then to spring. Poor hot summer, how I've neglected you. Not anymore. Cancer has a way of making you appreciate each month.

What do I want now? I want what all of us want. 

I want art in my garden, I want art in my home. 

On my table, on my plate. On my mind.

I want artful work.

I want an artful life and I want to enjoy it. And I guess I'm admitting that at my age it all takes time. Especially for a slowpoke like me.

Thank you so much for listening! I hope your summer and mine is filled with days of joy, with days of contentment....I just plain old hope it is full of days--a gift from God.

Much love to you all,