Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pond, Part 2

After letting the kids play in 100 gallons of water for an hour the tank did not settle.  We drained it and did some more scraping and chopping.  I cut out a chunk of Redbud root and some more of the larger root that Ron had chopped out.  I tried seating it several more times (I just tipped the empty tank up on the front of the site, it's not terribly heavy) and think I'm leaving it like it is.  The front and back are an inch higher than the center and sides.  This is a stock tank and meant to withstand horses and cows beating it up and ranchers not bothering to level their sites.  It won't leak.  Something else to consider when filling a storage basin that is at a higher elevation than the water source:  siphoning.  When you shut off the hose, you need to pull it out of the tank or the the water can back into your household plumbing.  I knew about this ahead of time, just warning y'all.

While on the water garden tour last weekend, we talked to several of the members and were offered water hyacinth, water lettuce, a rigid liner and waterfall, baby koi and a lotus for our garden!  These, in addition to the miniature and pygmy waterlilies, and house plants we chose at the plant exchange, confirm the generosity of club members!  I look forward to sharing our bounty in next year's exchange and being on the tour. 

Here is a photo of our patio pond.  The container is a 20 inch resin pot from Kmart that does not come with the hole pre-drilled.  I placed bricks inside to support the waterlily pots and the rain chain is from Target.  The chain looks like copper, but is not, it is painted.  I drilled the holes in the cups out with a 1/4 inch drill bit, the ones it had were impossibly small for it's function.  It replaced the downspout from the deck guttering and is very pleasant in the rain...when we get any.  The idea of the rain chain is Japanese, a Google search will turn up many lovely photos of them in different shapes and lots of information.  I thought they were getting more popular, but did not see any homes on the tour with them installed.  We may very well have seen the only ten without them!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


No, not a Doctor Who reference...this time!  We are building our second pond!  The first being a small patio pond in a 20 inch resin pot under a rain chain at the corner of our deck.  This pond is based in a 300-gallon Rubbermaid stock tank. 

We moved into this modest house almost a year ago and one of the first thoughts to cross my mind was "I can have a pond!"  My partner and I are avid water garden fans.  For many years we eagerly went on the Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City's tours, taking hundreds of photos, asking questions and dreaming of what we wanted when we could finally dig in the Earth.  Almost as soon as we got settled in here, we joined the Society.  It was the first step almost everyone over the years said we needed to do.   Membership includes discounts at numerous local and not-too-distant merchants of rock, fish, plants and supplies, as well as the knowledge-base of past newsletters and the entire membership in their great generosity and fellowship.  Awful nice folks!

We rent our house and do not wish to risk the wrath of our manager by excavating the entire back yard.  The best solution we have thought of or heard from any of the hundreds of folks we've asked is this:  Buy a stock tank, preformed liner, or build a raised pond.  Of the three, we thought that the third, with tons of rock or timbers to buy and haul, would be the most expensive and labor-intensive.  We would like to finish it this summer.  Preformed liners tend to be too shallow for fish to live in in the winter, even with a heater, and too small for koi.  We want koi.  The stock tank is a solution we have seen before.  On the first Tour we went on, there was a home in my grandparent's old neighborhood South of Bannister Road that had at least 20 galvanized stock tanks in the back yard.  There were rocks cemented to some, some cascaded into others, some were still, some had fountain heads spraying water.  It was quite the sight.  I have photos of it, somewhere.

We bought the tank last week.  We started excavating a level site yesterday.

Part 2 to follow

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cathy Johnson, Graphics/Fine Arts, Excelsior Springs, Missouri

Cathy Johnson, Graphics/Fine Arts, Excelsior Springs, Missouri

If you are involved in art, or just doodle while on the phone, give Ms Kate's (what friends call her) website and classes a peek. Really. Even if you don't consider yourself an artist or sketcher, but love nature or the Urban-ness of your city. Very inspiring stuff!

She posts photos and scans of her work, along with slideshow demonstrations, prodigiously on Flickr and in several Yahoogroups; her own class Alumni group and other art groups such as Everyday Matters and Botanical Art and Naturalist Illustration.

Her newest online class, Keeping an Artist's Journal, will begin November 16, 2009. Take it with me?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Conga Players - Mill Creek Park

Yesterday was the 24th Worldwide Sketchcrawl! We were a little busy, being the day before my son's 7th Birthday party, but we managed a little time enjoying our city! After dropping R and her friend and mom off at the Plaza theater, we drove around a bit and settled on playing at Mill Creek Park. This 6 block-long park along Broadway/Nichols Parkway on the Eastern border of the Country Club Plaza and is home to the JC Nichols Fountain, a most recognizeable landmark. About half-way up the green, we found a pair of conga-players enjoying their rhythms and the mild air. As an amateur hand-drummer, myself, I could appreciate their complexity, stamina and joy in playing. My son enjoyed them, also, playing nearby and dancing for a while. The painted one was done in Photoshop with my new pen tablet, trying out different paintbrushes and blending modes. The text was "painted" on the page, also, using a calligraphy brush. Wonderful evening!

Cheers to all other sketchers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Old Westport

Old Westport
Originally uploaded by SideShowMom.
This morning, after putting the kidlets on their bus, I went to the new drive-up coffee shop (there's in/outdoor seating, too) to wait for Blockbuster to open. Coffee and a rich blueberry muffin and some sketching and I was happy! And the pampas grass isn't too awful!

Friday, September 11, 2009

OH BOY!!!!

This post had a photo from Flickr imbedded in it. 
Cowboy, you'd better have that girth and hat on tight, 'cuz this ride's gonna be ... OMG!!!


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Day Up North


Usually, in our neck of the country, Labor Day is a bit warm and sultry.  What a perfect day it was, 80ish, comfortable, slight breezes, foggy morning to start…perfect!  (Did I mention, perfect?)

The kids & I rode up to Smithville with Grandpa to use the car, but Ron wasn’t ready for us to fetch him, yet.  So, we headed up to the lake for some sketching and play!


We went to the Jerry Litton Visitor’s Center and I settled in at a picnic table to sketch while the kids played with the frisbee and ball they had gotten inside and looked for bugs & interesting things on the ground.  We found lots of “fairy handkerchiefs” and my aging camera caught the occupant of one.  Rianna also managed to find a grasshopper that sat still for her and a toad that they both got to hold!

DSCN9602If you can’t see this master of disguise, click the photo to go to Flickr and I’ll give you a hint!


Some other critters we found…





DSCN9618Next, we headed back into Smithville and played at Rotary Park.  I let the kids climb on the caboose…then saw the words painted on the caboose. “Do not climb or play on caboose.”  Oops!  So we went to the playground.  Playing, being hard work, pleas for food soon followed.

smithvillesquareNext stop, town square.  Fritos and bananas and playing on the stage were good.  Fortunately, it was too early for any of the antique shops to be open!

By then, Ron was ready to be rescued from his laptop, so we fetched him and headed over to Weston.


CottonwoodWeston Bend State Park, scene of many adventures in our family, including the dramatic 3 hour wait for my sister to come up from the city to fetch us when the Weltemobile-at-the-time broke near the beaver pond, set in lush Platte County, was our destination.  For some reason, the playground there has particular appeal to the kids…don’t know why, it’s a typical modern playground.  So, we did that for a while.  Geordan brought me a Cottonwood leaf to draw.  Cranky kids forced a scene change, so we went to explore the tobacco barn.

Tobacco Barn - Weston Bend

Tobacco is still grown in northern Missouri and sold in Weston every year.  Not for the cigarette companies, though, I think for pipe tobacco.  There were a few plants growing next to the barn and the door is open to see the framework inside for hanging the stakes the plants are dried (cured) on.  Someone was busily eating the 4-foot plants and I managed to photograph some eggs under a leaf.Pumpkins & Tobacco at Weston BendTobacco Leaf with Eggs

After a tour ‘round the campground to pick a likely spot for a future trip, we headed back to town. 

Friday, September 04, 2009

EDM #168 - My News

EDM #168 - My News
Originally uploaded by SideShowMom.
I broke down and bought a Watercolor Moleskine - pocket-sized. I was frustrated that I don't have room to tear down full sheets of watercolor paper to make a new sketchbook and missed drawing! So...

Here's where I get my news, KCUR, the local NPR affiliate. I can't stand to watch local news on TV and newsprint makes my hands feel awful. It's not complete local coverage, but it's pretty good! Love Walt Bodine!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birmingham Child Care Examiner: Share this poem with preschool parents: nothing in my bag today

Birmingham Child Care Examiner: Share this poem with preschool parents: nothing in my bag today

Posted using ShareThis

I have an account on a site called morgueFile that I share my photographs on. A morgue file is a place where publications keep photographs and other related resources they used or may yet use in articles or for publication. The site is a photo-reference bank for artists, authors, journalists and others looking for just the right image without breaking the bank to pay for it. I have about 1,200 photos listed and catalogued there and, someday, I will add the references I've gotten there to my portfolio. It's neat to see my work used to illustrate articles on childcare, charity, women's shelters, books for increasing happiness in your life. I feel useful and like I have contributed to Society with my photographs. This columnist emailed me her article link this morning!

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Bottle of Ink

2009-5My favorite inks are Noodler's Bulletproof Black and Lexington's a love-hate relationship, though.  I bought myself some Lamy Safari fountain pens last year for my birthday (?) and the inks were highly regarded by other sketchers and Moleskine enthusiasts.  They are waterproof on cellulose materials and wash off of others, making them good for mailing addresses, checks, important signatures and pen and ink sketches...if you're patient.  Those who know me know that "patience" isn't my strong suit.  If the conditions are humid, it takes a while to dry enough not to smear or run when painted over.  I love to write and draw with it and the pens, so, I wait.

Lexington GreyAt the top of the label in this tiny sketch, you can see where the ink smeared when I tried to wash a tiny bit of blue over it.  It had been drying for an hour. 

Last night, I got out my bundle of Sakura Pigma Micron pens, my first favorite pens before I got the Lamys.  I'll carry them around for a back-up when I'm out and don't want to wait for the ink to dry.  In the meantime, I'm going to check out my sketchbook papers, maybe the sizing is interfering with the ink absorption?  Maybe some of the paper isn't cellulose?  I used two new types in this sketchbook, made for Utrecht by Canson, I think.  In the process of testing my pens (there were some older ones in the bunch), my kids decided they liked them, too, my daughter wants her own, to buy with her Christmas money.  We'll make a pilgrimage to Utrecht this weekend...and maybe stop off at Creative for a tube of Daniel Smith watercolor along the way!