Friday, July 8, 2016

Choose A Tree The Way You'd Choose A Dog

The one dog I shared my life with chose me, but the years since her passing have brought awareness of the suitability of given breeds to given situations. A tree is nearly as good a friend as a pooch. Do right by planting it in the right spot. Avoid giant sequoias in the city, although the one downtown is doing well between high-rises.

I grow my own Christmas trees, so conifers on my property may look as if they're planted too close to the house. Ten years on, though, they're posed in the family room covered with lights.

Cascara has proved to be an elegant small tree that defines a secluded area on the back of the lot. A volunteer maple close to the boundary line has a short future. I'll let it grow as long as it provides privacy and perhaps habitat for birds. It may end up as a wildlife tree, one that is pruned to kill it to support species that live in dead wood.

If I were to go tree shopping, I'd ask Plant Amnesty to recommend a landscape designer, do a little reading about native species, and dig the hole before I bought the plant. 

Careful landscape choices eliminate costly maintenance. -30- More after the jump.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Consider furnishings in terms of the number of cubic inches of space they fill. Scandinavian modern design, that appeared after World War Two, is as light, elegant and respectful of space as that of the eighteenth century. Compare it to a massive overstuffed sofa, whose springs and padding are very expensive to house.

I sleep comfortably on two inches of memory foam topping a super-luxurious self-inflating air mattress from the Great Big Hiking Co-op. The assembly replaced a thick mattress and box spring on a conventional bed frame. Its light components make it safe and easy to manipulate.

Fine bone china or sensible pyroceram occupy less cupboard space than fragile pottery or clumsy restaurant ware and respect fine motor skills. 

Small electronics speak for themselves.

A compact power mower has revolutionized garden maintenance, if only because my muscles have learned that they do not have to dread herking the thing through turns and up the stairs. I define ornamental borders by making convenient turns with the machine, then use it at the end of the season to mow down dead stems.

The smallest practical refrigerator reduces food waste, saves electricity, and adds room and counter space in the kitchen. Choose size according to distance from the store.

A wise mentor advised me to leave room for people in my interior layout. The more room I leave, the more room there is for me to be at home as well.  -30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Upholstery And Anatomy

Hot-gluing fresh fabric to old furniture has revealed an unexpected correspondence between traditional textiles and chairs. Not surprisingly, lengths of fabric designed to be worn, like sarongs and trade blankets, are adequate to cover either a chair or a person.

Rough out and measure a pattern first. Figure four inches of excess along any edge. Have some back-up yardage in a harmonious color. Cover the underseat with plain cloth, and exclude vermin by screening the bottom of a piece with garden mulch cloth. -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Things can die without one noticing. Little-used used inventory, food long past its pull date, slightly wilted and elderly vegetation all erode quality of life.

As I speed through the obligations of the week, the quarter, or the year, it's easy to overlook possessions that fill space, contribute nothing, and increase maintenance. Now and then a lull appears to give me a chance to edit.

The nose is a good critic. Be aware of subtle rancidity, the acrid smell of rotting paper, and the musty smell of mold gaining the upper hand. -30- More after the jump.