Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Contemplation

 
Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one. ~Maryanne Williamson

Monday, June 24, 2013

Time is the Only Variable

This is my mantra. How else could I explain the gap that occurs between the conception of a brilliant idea and its execution? I have come to conclude that every good idea must need to bake for a while on the back burner of my brain before manifesting in this world...yes, that's my excuse.
This particular project began more than two years ago. How simple is seemed at the time (don't they all!). I would just purchase a fountain, Mike would dig a hole and we would have a beautiful water feature. To quote an endearment from my son..."Silly Momma."


In the fall of 2010 I fell in love with the beautiful stone fountains from Range West in Madrid, New Mexico. My husband, Michael is represented by Metallo Gallery in Madrid which is right next door to Range West Gallery and all those lovely stones.
Range West fountains are worked by hand by Stone Artist Joshua Gannon from granite, basalt or other beautiful rock from New Mexico and Joshua lovingly juxtaposes polished surfaces with the natural rugged surface of the rock, exposing the beautiful striations and layers of color captured by time. I was smitten. Really, resisting was futile. Three years ago I purchased two beautiful fountains.
After several summers of dreaming about how they would look and sound, this summer the fountain idea became a reality. Here is a "blow by blow" of the installation, for all my friends whose "gap" is not quite as large as mine.

For this project we used Range West's Installation Kit
with a few of our own touches, consisting of:
Two -  36" 4" x 4"s
Two -  30" 4" x 4"'s
Eight - heavy duty "L" bracket, w/dry wall screws
Two - 36" steel channels
Metal grid w/cut out  trap door
Roofing Rubber
Heavy duty pump
Heavy duty plumber hose (for the large fountain)
1/2 " clear tubing the small fountain including a
brass "t" to connect the two fountains
Of course you need all the appropriate tools
Thank you Range West for some of the installation jargon.
A special shout out to our good friends Chris T. for giving a hand with
the electrical and to George T for the use of his carpentry skills and awesome saw!



Here, Michael is laying out the four 4" x 4"s on a flat surface, joining the corners with "L" brackets on both sides using 2" drywall screws. Obviously you can build any size you like...the steel channels are key here.

Then the digging. A straight wall hole 12" deep and just shy of the inner edge of the 4" x 4"s.


Measuring the size of the "lip" or ledge needed to countersink the frame. Marking the ground with chalk helped.


The frame must sit level with about an inch above ground level. The slightly raised portion will help keep organic matter from flooding the reservoir during heavy rains (which is the only kind we get here in the desert). Notice the pick? Necessary to get through our hard, dry desert ground!


You can see how the frame sits onto the ledge. Also notice the slats in the top of the frame. These are necessary to hold two pieces of steel channel. They slide into the grooves in the 4" x 4"s to hold the fountain base.


After leveling the ground in the center of the reservoir hole, Michael placed the pond liner over the entire catch basin, pushing it down into the hole and the corners creating as straight a drop as possible. Beginning at the center of the timbers and working out (just like stretching a canvas) he stapled the liner onto the timbers, folding the corners in and stapling. He also placed some staples at the edges of the timbers. It is important to make the bottom of the basin as level as possible.


Michael then made a 1.25" cut into the pond liner above the pre-cut grooves for an easier fit, then placed the steel channel into the pre-cut grooves and secured them with a screw in each end.


He then attached a metal grate using small sheet rock screws around the perimeter of the basin. There is a "trap door" built into the grid, which is placed closest to the power source. Then he placed the pump in the catch basin through the trap door with the intake on its side (bottom down). He ran the pump electrical cord out the trap door of the grate in the direction of the power source.


We're almost there! Here, he places the (very heavy..you're welcome dear) stone fountains on the grid over the steel channel. He threads the plumbing hose from the top of the fountain stone out the bottom and into the cutout in the center of the grating. At this point he adjusts the gasket on each of the hoses to create a snug fit in the fountain stones. You don't want the hose falling out into the catch basin...pain!! He built up the gaskets using duct tape so it was just the right thickness. The placement of the hose/gasket produces different levels of water movement and sound. Last step, connect the other end of the hose to the outflow nipple of the pump. Now fill her up and plug her in!


Now the FUN begins! Level the stones, place rocks on the grid, place plantings and we're UP!!



video

The lovely sound of water in the desert...just in time! Thank you sweet husband!




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Robin's Pancakes

Robin's pancakes. The divine simplicity of this recipe represents my dear sister to a T; cooking basic pantry staples and transforming them into something simply wonderful. This recipe is easy, to the point, and simply delicious. To all my cosmic daughters out there, this one's for you, a gift from me and Rob.


Today I sliced fresh strawberries and mixed them in a little sugar and Amaretto, added a little pure grade B maple syrup, crisp bacon, a tall glass of bubbly Pellegrino...and voila! A perfect Sunday morning in June, al fresco!


Robin's Pancakes
from the kitchen of Robin Barringer Anthony
Makes approx. 16-3" pancakes
 
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 T vegetable oil
1 T sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder, stir dry ingredients to mix.
Measure a cup of milk into a small bowl, plop the egg in there and mix with a fork until combined.
Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture, combine with a large spoon until mostly smooth.
Add the oil and mix until combined.
If the mixture is too thick, add more milk
Here is a little tip: Let the mixture sit a few minutes to give the baking powder time to process.
Drop from a ladle onto a hot griddle or frying pan. I never make my pancakes larger than 3 inches in diameter. They should be thick enough to hold their shape, but not so thick they won't cook through before they brown. Flip when you see little bubbles forming and bursting top-side. I use butter on my griddle or if I'm really being bad and want the edges of the pancakes to crisp up, I use bacon grease, or both!....it's what Robin would do! Enjoy!
With Love, Victoria









Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Painting for the Soul

Over the last ten years our Sketchbook Tours watercolor painting retreats have taken on many different incarnations. At times we have focused on the playful activity of painting, other times our classes have been more technically oriented, but I was thinking today about how I would describe the core experience of putting pencil to paper and color to shape and this is what I came to; that regardless of the approach, when we record what we are seeing through the activity of drawing and painting we are connecting at a deep level to ourselves and our surroundings in a type of "meditation" which can lead one to a lovely sense of connectedness, peace and harmony, and, that this experience is available to everyone.

In October we are offering a watercolor sketchbook painting opportunity to beautiful Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. We are so excited about this upcoming retreat we hope you will join us and let yourself open to the experience of this inspirational place.
Peace,
Victoria
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