Saturday, March 30, 2013

Adrian: Amateur Gardener, Part 2

Part 1.

Well, in part 1 of this blog I laid down what I wanted to do.  I also posted some pretty impressive photos of other people's gardens.  I will say, that is what I would like the garden to be, but if it's anywhere close to that I'll take it as a victory.

So now, let's talk about what we had to work with.  The answer?  Not much.  The house wasn't exactly taken care of by the previous tenants, and they weren't exactly interested in gardening or keeping the house looking nice.  So all I had to start with was barren ground.  And in Florida that means lots of sand.  The whole property is shaded so that means I have to plant garden plants that don't like direct sunlight.  That means one thing.  Bromeliads.

The first thing I did was what my Grandfather taught me about planting.  He said to take your shovel, draw lines in the sand, and plan out where you want to put things.  I did that, making sure to leave room to access a control panel on the side of the house.

Once I had it drawn out, I planted some bromeliads.  They breed like crazy so my sister had plenty to donate to the garden.  I spaced them out, and had a perfect garden started. 

The next step was to lay out the boundaries.  I used landscape timbers for the border.  I cut them to where I wanted them, drilled holes out, and used 12 inch nails to hold them in place.  Here's the photos of my work up to that point.

It's small, but it's a good start.  It doesn't look that impressive without mulch.  Luckily, I have a friend of my Dad's who runs a wood workshop.  He was building a project with maple wood, and had a ton of shavings from it.  So he donated them to the garden.  Here's what it looked like after I had spread the maple mulch.

Once it rains the mulch will be a lot more packed down.  I know it's not much, but it's a start.  The big thing was getting borders and mulch in.  And the bromeliads won't take long to get a hold in the ground.  There will be more bromeliads before you know it.  I'll see about adding some more flowering plants in there later on.  I'm looking forward to writing part 3.  Who knows what might show up in the flower beds next?

Friday, March 29, 2013

I am a ..... Sloppy Painter?

To understand this blog post better, read the following blogs first.

Part 1.  I am a terrible painter

Part 2.  I am a terrible painter, part 2

With the help of friends and family I have come to the understanding that I am not a terrible painter/ artist.  I am just different.  Art can be so subjective, and no one sees things the same way.  It actually surprised me when I learned that many of the impressionist painters have very bad eyesight, and that's why they painted that way.  As a person with really bad eyesight, I can sympathize.  I can also take my glasses off, and see another way to view the world.  And when I do that I feel like my art can be defined as something other than terrible.  It actually does have a place in the art world.

I have also been told that what I lack in technique, I make up for in style.  As in, my own painting style.  I've known many painters that can copy other people's techniques, and can draw things very exact, but they lack their own sense of style.  I am kind of the other way.  I have limited techniques that I use on every painting, but they are my own.  If you look at one of my paintings you will know that I painted them due to my style, and not someone else. 

I admit, I do like to paint coral reefs.  I think they give me a great excuse to go crazy with the paints.  When people look at coral reef paintings they expect lots of color and energy, and I'm more than glad to give them that. 

Here's some that I have painted recently.

"Lost Anchor"

It started out as a painting called, "Goth Night at the Coral Reef."  I called it that due to the very abstract colors I choose for it.  I had painted the background, and was really happy about it, and then nothing.  I couldn't decide on what I wanted to do with it.  I then put it away for 6 months.  After a while I decided it needed a rusty anchor in it.  Most paintings in the impressionist style are best seen at a distance of 10 or more feet.  So posting a picture of it on the internet makes it kind of hard to view.  It does look a little odd when you are 2 feet from the image on your screen, but in real life this looks pretty good.

The next painting I did was called, "My Brain Corral is Smarter Than Your Brain Coral."

This picture was taken after I added the background.

This next picture is after I added the coral.

And here is the finished painting.

I do have to give credit to my Girlfriend.  She painted the Angelfish.  I wanted something nice and neat to contrast with the sloppy painting.

And by that, I mean I think I have found my niche.  I am not a terrible artist.  I am a sloppy artist.  And I don't mean that in a bad way.  I mean that when I paint sloppily and don't think much about what I'm doing, it turns out great.  When I try to be precise, it turns out horrible.  So by slinging paint and being sloppy, I am actually being a better artist.  I am okay with that. 

I will say this, I think my techniques are getting more refined so I can take what's in my head, and put it on the canvas a little better.  I feel really excited about my next painting.  I think it will turn out pretty good. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Adrian: Amateur Gardener

So I have something new in my life.  That would be a girlfriend.  I think it's as big of a surprise to me as it is to everyone else.  And then to add to the surprises she moved only three miles from me.  I couldn't really blame her as her old place was not very nice.  It was also in a not so nice section of a town that was far away from both her work and favorite hangout. 

She is renting a mobile home that sits on a 1/3 of an acre of property.  She really wanted it for her dog who needs some space to run around.  He's a little over two years old, but he still acts like a puppy.  So this place works out really good for both of them, as she doesn't have to put up with apartment type neighbors and he gets to run around and exercise.

The people who rented before her did their best to destroy the place.  That's what the landlord flat out told us.  He was more than happy to rent to my girlfriend in that, she expressed an interest in rebuilding the place inside and out.  She talked to him about adding plants to the place, as it is kind of sparse.  He was all in favor of that, and told her she could do whatever she wanted as far as plants were concerned.

And this is where I come in.  I am good at manual labor, but I have to admit that I am an amateur gardener.  The only gardening that I have been successful at it online playing Wizard 101.

So I was told to come up with a plan.  I have given it a lot of thought, and have come up with four spots to start off with. 

First I have to contend with what is available.  There is a lot of land, but due to the heavy cover of oak trees it is mostly a barren sandlot.

That's okay.  I will just have to get creative.  I was thinking of running/building a wooden fence along the front of the house. 

My girlfriend knows someone who knows someone, and can get me some leftover two by fours.  It may look a little odd until I slap some paint on it.  Then it will start to look spiffy. 

I was thinking about planting some giant bromeliads behind the fence/ in front of the house.  Those things will grow in anything down here in Florida.

Next to them/ around them would be a good place to start growing some Aloe Vera plants.  My girlfriend has always had them, and they are really useful to have around.

Then to spice up the color a little I would add some of those small floppy ear type plants.  I'll admit, I have no idea what the different ones of them are called.  But I do have a bunch of plant people I know who can tell me what they are.  All I have to do is show them this picture.

So that's what I am thinking for the front.  When I say from the front, I mean from the house door and going left.  That's the longest part of the house.  From the door going right is a nice small spot.  However I think I have an idea.  I am thinking of doing a raised bed.  There are a couple ways to do this.  The first is kind of simple and involves using concrete blocks.  It looks like this.

That's simple enough, and won't take much time to put together.  Then there's the other way.  It involves using red bricks.  It would be a bit more expensive, and take more time to put together, but it would look sweet.

Okay, that takes care of the front.  I was thinking of using the front for the decorative plants.  However, the one thing my girlfriend really wants is a herb garden.  There could be a few vegetables thrown in there, but mainly for herbs.

However due to having a dog it would need to be fenced in.  I do like this type of fencing.

But I have to be honest, the dog is really, really good at jumping.  He's also really good at building up speed and jumping.  So that kind of fence isn't going to stop him.  I was thinking of putting up the wooden type fence that would match the front fence, and then stapling chicken wire to it.

The next step involves planting tomatoes.  As you look at the property, the very front right corner has a lot of sunlight hitting it.  It's the only place where grass grows on the property.  I thinking about setting up a raised bed strictly for tomato plants.

The plant would be able to get a fair amount of sunlight there.  Not too much, not too little.  And the good news about Florida is that, we get crazy amounts of rain all year long.  And anytime tomatoes get rain, they grow till they want to explode. 

So that's the four main ideas I have for garden beds.  I don't think I would be overdoing it.  I am trying to stick with plants that are native and not hard to raise.  I am lucky in that, I have a lot of people around me who know the ins and outs of plants.  I may not know much about plants, but I am good for the manual labor.  With those things combined, I feel that this garden will be a success.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mama Said

When I was a young boy my Mother had a few rules for me.  Not just the usual ones like "don't pick your nose" and "don't fight with your Sister."  No, I'm talking the kind of rules that will get you disowned and thrown out of the house kind of rules.  If I wanted to live under Mom's roof there were three rules that could never be broken.

Rule 1.  No Motorcycles.

Honestly, and I'm not making this up, I didn't even ride a bicycle until I was 12.  I never even had my own bicycle until I was in my twenties.  My Mother was totally against motorcycles for many reasons.  First, anytime you ever heard about a motorcycle accident the rider ended up as road pizza.  She didn't want me either dead or in a coma.  Also, I don't think she wanted me to "associate" with the motorcycle crowd.  And to this day I have never owned a motorcycle.

Rule 2.  No Tattoos.

I guess you have to remember the era where my Mother came from.  Only really bad criminals had tattoos.  Heck, even back in the 60's, a woman couldn't get hired as a stripper if she had a tattoo.  Yes, only the most delinquent persons of society had tattoos on their skin.

While she was telling me all of this she made sure to let me know exactly how tattoos are done.  You have to imagine her telling a little kid all of this.  She asked me how I liked getting shots at the Doctor's office?  I told her that I really didn't like them.  She made sure to let me know that to put a tattoo on someone they used a machine that rammed a needle repeatedly into their skin.  Did that sound like fun to me?  Guess what, no it didn't.  And to this day I have no tattoos.

Rule 3.  No Banjos.

It's true.  My Mother hates the banjo.  It has such a bright and annoying twang that it's like nails on a chalkboard to her.  And while I have two cellos, a number of guitars, I have never owned a banjo.  I have worked on them.  I have even played them in music shops.  But I have never owned one, and never will.  It's not that I don't want to own one.  It's just that Mama said.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Guide to Adrian's Spirit Guides

As I am dating someone with American Indian roots, the subject of spirit guides came up.  I made the comment that everyone seems to have uber cool spirit guides like wolves, eagles, and bears, but no one has regular or boring animals for their guides.  I mean, has anyone actually even seen a wolf now a days?  Is the only thing that someone might have in common with a wolf might be that they wolf down Mickey D's burgers on a regular basis?

So the comment was thrown at me, "Okay smart guy.  What are your spirit guides."  And to that I said, "I'm glad you asked."

The Penguin

First and foremost, my main spirit guide is a penguin.  Here's the rundown on the penguin as a spirit guide:

Fatherhood; understanding of feminine energy; waking dreams; astral projection; patience; endurance; lucid dreaming; teaches grace in emotions and actions; paying attention to dreams, thoughts and ideals; Fasting. Sacrifice. Abdication. Self-discipline. Self-mastery. Self-maintenance. Territory. Aesthetic Appearance. Water Mastery. Air Mastery. Uncommon Grace. Earth Resistance. Primal Heartbeat. Self-Confidence. Specialization. Adaptation. Dreams. Slipping Between Worlds. Purpose. Determination. Etiquette. Black and White.

Pos: Paternal, masculine, feminine, patient, enduring, polite

Neg: Territorial, poor eyesight, rude, serious, conflicted

Primary Element: Water

Secondary Element: Air
Well, I'd agree with a few things: 
Fatherhood in the fact that I like taking care of pets.  I did work in a few pet shops.  That was a lot of animals to take care of. 
I am good about day dreaming.  In fact, I do a good amount of sleeping/daydreaming/dreaming. 
I gotta agree with with the aesthetic appearance.  I have a bunch of brightly colored shirts, so I am kind of concerned with that.
All the negative things, well I'd have to agree with all of them.  Especially the bad eyesight.
What I don't agree with. 
Understanding of feminine energy.  I am bad at girls.  That is all I have to say about that. 
Uncommon grace.  No one will agree with that. 
Fasting?  Look at my belly.  I haven't missed a meal in a while.
Patience?  Um, yeah... not my thing.
My next spirit guide would be the Armadillo.
Armadillo's Wisdom Includes:

  • Understanding your personal boundary
  • Respecting the boundaries of others
  • Carrying your protection with you at all times
  • Understanding your vulnerabilities
  • Empathy
  • Discrimination
The main power behind the armadillo is boundaries.  I gotta say that I agree with that.  I am kind of rigid when it comes to boundaries.  I can also ball up and keep my feelings closed off from everyone.  I did tend to keep personal things from others, including my family.
I may or may not agree with the empathy thing.  With close friends and relatives I can be very empathetic.  But to people I don't know, I can be a little .... shall we say, off putting.
The Dung Beetle:
My next spirit guide is a little odd.  It's the dung beetle.  I know most people would say, "Ew!"  But in Egypt it is called the Scarab Beetle.  It's very important in their culture. 
The Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle represented their sun god, Ra. Ra was the Egyptian god who rolled the sun across the sky and buried it each night.
Dung Beetle's Wisdom Includes:
  • Connection to spherical power
  • Ability to move heavy objects
  • Persistence
  • Reemergence/resurrection
  • Spontaneous generation

I'm not sure if I have a connection to spherical power, but I did move a lot of heavy objects in my younger days.  In fact, I feel that I have had a heavy burden on me my whole life.  Some things more mental than physical.  Although, I do agree with persistence being a feature of mine.  I also agree that spontaneous generation comes through in my writing of music.  Of all my spirit guides, I may relate closer to the dung beetle than I thought.
I would have to say that the next spirit guide found me.  For those who don't know my Chameleon Dave "found" me when he was crossing Sunset Blvd. here in Lutz.  Read how Dave came to me in this blog:
Chameleon teaches how to show true colors of the self in your environment and in your sincere emotional nature. Quickness, sharpness in endeavors. Shows how to be tough on the outside with emotional/spiritual/mental armor along with facing one's fear. The mind and intellect can be used for defensive purposes in which Chameleon will show how to strike when necessary with discernment and patience paired w/ intuition. This animal shows a talent of adaptability to the environment and surroundings. Are you easily influenced by others, perhaps it's time to speak your mind? Do you absorb too much from others, maybe it is time to learn proper defenses? Chameleon can teach the art of sensitivity and independence to master changes of the mind, body and spirit. Demonstrates rejuvenation time. Listen carefully to your intuition and inner sight.
There are different types of spirit guides.  There are those who you reflect, and there are those who teach.  I think the chameleon is one that teaches what I should become.  I have trouble with my inner thoughts and emotions becoming an outer problem.  I have had trouble adapting to new things, places, and surroundings.  The chameleon is a good teacher for me to learn to go with plan B.  I think the chameleon will help me get my act together.
So that's my spirit guides so far.  Maybe as I get older a few more will find their way to me.  Maybe some of the old ones will send me new messages.  Hopefully I will find myself a little older and wiser.