Gardening adventures,  Humor,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures

Questionable Carpentry

A carpenter's nightmare.

I’ve said it many times: I can’t build.  I envision what I want.  I go about the deed full of instructions and positive energy.  Somehow during the attempt I go haywire and what I create isn’t what I’d wanted.  I am the Cakewrecks of building.  Does that stop me?  Noooo!  Always optimistic, and without a handy carpenter, I seek to build.  This time it was a couple of trellises for the two passionvines which had taken over each other, a fence, a pathway, a dead tree, a live tree and a walkway.

The vine mess.

I didn’t want to cut the plants back.  They were fruiting and the small one was flowering.  So I spent hours untangling vines.  I finally sorted out the small one.  Then I began to be creative.  I had all this old bamboo that I had cut from plants at my mother’s house years ago, and it really wanted me to use it.  So I wired it together over the fence, going for a creative look that turned out looking more as if a couple had slipped, but no matter!  Then I got the idea to put some wire along the fence, behind the vines, so they would have something on which to grasp.  That took some interesting maneuvers as the wire curled and clung, as did the vines.

Up, I say, UP!

The small passionvine I tied onto the wire and flipped over the bamboo, without doing much damage to the plant, and felt pretty happy about the result.

The little vine looking much happier.

Then I looked at the huge, vigorous passionvine which was eating the world, and decided it would be good to make it grow over some trellises that spanned the pathway, and use old wire and wood  for the project.  (You should be squirming uneasily in your seats about now).

Untangling a broken dead tree from the vines.

Now here again, I KNOW what I wanted.  I saw it in my mind’s eye.  I can do that with cooking, just envision a dish or a taste and I can recreate it.  Probably because I can use measuring cups and spoons like a pro.

A crysalis of a Gulf Fritillary butterfly, which lays eggs on passionflowers.

Using a measuring tape is another story.  It always lies to  me.  Oh, and I try not to cut wood, because I screw it up so easily.  Anyway, I found wood that was pretty equal, nailed on a crosspiece, made a ‘T’ with scraps for the bottom, and found some unrusted wire that would do well.

Strategically placing ladder to hold up post.

To make a long story short, leaving out the wrestling with wire, using my head to hold pieces in place, hammering yet more reinforcements onto the bottoms to keep the whole thing from pulling itself down, I managed to get them up and the vines over the top.  They aren’t bad looking from a distance.  Just don’t get too close.  And in the big windstorm that is due Friday, don’t even come onto my block!  Who knows where these things will land!

The trellis looks deceptively good... from a distance.

Oh, and then glowing with the success and ease of that project (just short term memory loss), I wanted to make a wire walk-through squash thingy.  I bought the heavy gauge fencing wire, t-stakes, and measured and remeasured.  All looked okay, although the stakes looked a little short (perhaps I should have bought the six-foot rather than four-foot?) until I began playing with the wire.

Dealing with reused wire... trying to get the bends out.

As much as I dislike working with wire, I certainly end up tangling with it a lot.  I had a 50-foot roll that I wanted to cut in half, so I layed it out on the ground, walking on it to keep it from viciously curling and scraping my back or imprisoning me.  I  wired one side onto the t-stakes,  and then thought they weren’t high enough and found… what else?  Old bamboo!  On they went to hold the wire. Then I did the opposite side.  And at this point the realization that I’d been trying to fight came to me.  It did so as the wire, instead of reaching into a graceful dome, sagged so much in the middle that the structure now spelled out a capital letter M.  I had bought the wrong gauge wire.  It was too floppy to ever make a nice dome.

The Vine Alley.

So I did what I usually do when faced with the product of my ineptitude. I took a walk and did something else for awhile.  I do this often.  Coming back to the M, I thought of making two very slender passageways, but that wouldn’t work.  I considered tearing it all down, but I was pretty tired by then and I hadn’t screwed up the placement of the stakes, after all.  So I decided to make two parallel vine walls, like a viney alley.  No wonderful squash hanging down from overhead, but I’ll get over it.  I planted four kinds of viney veggies, and am now getting my mind convinced that walls are what I really wanted anyway.  Otherwise, between the viney alley and the wobbly passionvine trellises, this won’t be so much a garden as an amusement park! I also have another overgrown passionvine that needs to grow over a trellis, in a very visable area of the garden.   Anyone know a courageous  local carpenter?

Sigh. It would have been lovely with a domed top!

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