Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Garden Fountains 101

"The hours I spend with you I look upon as a 
sort of perfumed garden with fountain singing to it." 
-George Edward Moore, 
English philosopher

I love fountains. I love my garden. I love fountains in my garden.  When I traveled through Europe many years ago, one of my favorite things was the stunning fountains found in almost every town. The sound, the movement, the way people hung out near them....irresistible! 

Naturally when I started flower gardening, I wanted to bring in this element, so I did. And let me tell you in no uncertain terms--FOUNTAINS ARE THE BIGGEST PAIN IN THE ASS YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE! 

Phew! That felt good. Over the past decade, I have struggled with fountains of every size and shape, and spent hundreds of dollars replacing them or keeping them in working order. I now have an encyclopedic knowledge of fountains and want to share with you some of my hard earned lessons:

Fountains 101 
For the Average Home Owner 

1. Avoid concrete or stone fountains, particularly large ones. They're nightmarishly heavy and nearly impossible to fix if they leak. (don't listen to the hardware guy...he just wants to sell you cauk).

I bought this concrete fountain on a garage sale for $30. 
It took three men to load it into my car. Turned out it leaked.  
I tried everything to fix it.  I ended up drilling holes into it 
and turning it into a succulent planter.

2. Only buy a resin fountain IF: 
     a.) you live in a temperate climate. 
     b.) are willing to winter-store the fountain indoors in cold climates.
     c.) you don't mind chipped paint, because water and painted resin do not play well together!
This is the first resin 3-tiered fountain I bought. The base cracked open its second winter, and the whole thing toppled over.
This is the second three-tiered resin fountain I bought.  The paint started chipping off its first season, and the middle holding piece cracked off its second season. Instead of throwing it away like I did the first fountain, I drilled holes into the base piece and turned the whole thing into a towered petunia planter.  Much better!

I bought this resin fountain at a big box store. I liked the idea
of water running down rocks. It actually lasted four years
because I took the time to winter it indoors. The fourth year I got lazy and left it out. The bottom cracked open and now
it's just an expensive decoration.

3. Factor in how much wind your area gets. I live in a region where they build wind farms! Not a day goes by when my fountain pump isn't clogged with feathers, leaves, dirt, and other little debris the wind blows in! (One strategy for dealing with this is to put a mesh cover over the hole that leads to the pump.)

I bought this used stone fountain from a local greenhouse. Yes, it leaks and requires yearly sealing. However, unlike my concrete fountain, this one is at least weight manageable! The birds love it, and I'm constantly cleaning out tiny feathers and leaves. I need to add some algae treater to this fountain.  LOL, too much to do! 

4. Size matters! I know you want that big, gorgeous fountain the Hollywood stars have in their circle drives, but factor in how much work fountains are, and how much you're willing to invest in them. I finally found the perfect fountain for me. It's lightweight, easy to move around, low maintenance, and I even put live water plants in it!  I found this baby at an art fair. It's handmade, easy to clean, and will never break! The only thing I need to do is bring in the pump for the winter. 

5. Look for bargains. Fountains are lot like George Foreman grills....eventually they show up on garage sales for next to nothing! Be on the lookout for these gems, and you can fill every corner of your garden with flowing water! 

I bought this fountain on a garage sale for $12. The pump
was working and everything! (If the pump wasn't working,
I'd have offered them $6). It's only two feet tall, and the
birds and insects love it.
Well, my fellow gardeners, that's it. I hope my fountain of knowledge has bubbled forth sufficiently on you! Good luck! 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Life Lessons From Looney Tunes

Today’s blog is an ode to Looney Tunes. Every person in my age bracket remembers that staple of Saturday mornings, the one day a week we could watch cartoons!  I’ve watched the stuff my kids like such as Adventure Time, Bob’s Burgers, and any number of Anime shows, and I’ve got to say I think they’re a complete waste of time (the shows, not the kids). Just as no sitcom will ever achieve the greatness of Seinfeld, no cartoon will ever surpass the brilliance of Looney Tunes.

So what life lessons did we learn from Looney Tunes? Here goes (feel free to add your own!):

     Storyline: A man dreams of making a fortune after finding a singing frog. The frog, however, refuses to perform on demand.

     Life Lesson #1: Get-Rich-Quick schemes seldom work.

     Life Lesson #2: Don't let others manipulate you for their own                                    ends.

Pepe Le Pew

     Storyline: Pepe is an amorous skunk, who often mistakes black cats as love interests.

     Life Lesson: Ladies, most men are odor-able.... am I right? So if a romantic one shows up wanting to whisk you away to the Casbah, let him!

Marvin, the Martian

     Storyline: Marvin has invented the Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator with the express purpose of blowing up the earth.       

     Life Lesson #1: If a rabbit can stop terrorism, anyone can.

     Life Lesson #2: If you wear a push broom on your helmet, you'll                                always be prepared for cleaning emergencies!

Wile E. Coyote

Storyline:  Wile E. Coyote will go to any lengths to catch the elusive Road Runner. Wile E. apparently has a vast bank account, as he's able to order an endless supply of weaponry from the Acme Company.           

Life Lesson #1: Don't fixate on an unattainable object.
Life Lesson #2: Don't throw good money after bad.

Foghorn Leghorn

Storyline: Foghorn Leghorn is a deep south, happy-go-lucky rooster in charge of the barnyard. 

Life Lesson #1: Provoking others is never a good idea (just remember, the dog's not always leashed...)

Life lesson #2: Take an interest in everything going on around you. You never know what adventure it might lead you to!

Sam and Ralph

Storyline: Ralph the Wolf (cousin to Wile E.) and Sam the Sheepdog are sworn enemies at work. Off the clock, they're quite chummy. 

Life Lesson: Don't make it personal....it's only business. 

and finally....THE MASTER
Bugs Bunny

Life Lessons: 

1. Culture is cool.

2. Always remember to take the left turn at Albuquerque.

3. In times of trouble, just wait for the season to change.

4. No one knows what Hassenpfeffer is.

5. Try to get along with your neighbors.

6. Relate to your enemies on their level.

7. Never underestimate the power of feminine wiles.

8. Don't take yourself too seriously! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Star Trek Meets Downton Abbey

Mr. Spock is no more. Our favorite eye-shadowed Vulcan has passed on to the place where everything is logical. 

I confess, I haven’t thought of Star Trek in many years. In high school, I was a devotee of the original series. In college, I really dug The Next Generation with Patrick Stewart and his sexy bald head.

Nowadays, I’m into Downton Abbey. Season Five has just come to a close and we, the fans, are staring down the barrel of its last year. I have loved every minute of Downton Abbey, just as I did Star Trek all those years ago. That got me wondering how I could enjoy such vastly different dramas. As it turns out, they’re not so different. Read on and see if you agree!

"Beam me up, Scotty!"

"Where's my Jim Beam?!"

To boldly go where no man 
has gone before...

Thomas Barrow in the 1920's....

"I'm a doctor, dammit, 
not a _______!"

"I'm a chauffeur, dammit, not a nobleman. No wait! I'm a nobleman, not a chauffeur. No wait! I'm an American businessman. That's it.... I'm an American businessman."

"She canna' take any more! 
She's gonna blow!"
Edith....pretty much all 
five seasons.


The rate at which Mary goes 
through men.

"Captain, we're being hailed!"

Mrs. Hughes and her repeated efforts to pull Carson into the 20th century.



"Make it so."

"Make it so."

To explore new life and 
new civilizations...

Bye Tom. Drop us a postcard 
from America! 

"Non interference is the 
prime directive."
"I won't interfere."
(C'mon Isabelle, marry 

Lord Merton already!)

"Set phasers to stun."
Set fashions to stun!

"Live long and prosper."
Live long and prosper, Julian!
Can't wait for your next series!