Building a Trellis From a Felled Tree

 A couple of years ago there was a windstorm and I woke to a crashing sound about 5:00 am.  I thought something fell on my house so I looked out the front window and the large oak tree was still standing.  I went back to my room to look in the yard and my initial view were branches and leaves pressed to the window.  I threw on some clothes and ran outside to better view the damage, though completely dark with my outside light being damaged as well.  The first thing I noticed was my rather large mock cherry tree was completely split down the middle.  The initial planters of the tree had not properly pruned it when it was young and it was all gnarled at the crotch of the tree and did not allow proper aeration.  The tree had appeared very healthy in all respects, but the split clearly showed that it had been rotting for sometime in that area.

Tree Split

                                                                                         

 What caught my eye was the fact that a number of the tree branches were resting on the power lines going to my 1942 bungalow, phone as well as electric.  I got out my electric chainsaw and was praying the entire time I was cutting the branches off myself.  Everyone was out of town during this time.  I did not try to disturb my neighbors.  I figured if any of them heard my chain saw at about 5:30am and wanted to help me, they were welcome.  None ever showed up.  After I had cut off most of the branches that were resting on the power lines, I was able to see underneath to find a large limb was resting on my deck rail, which prevented the entire weight of the tree to actually knock out my power lines!  I was thanking God like mad for his blessing and help in that it could have been much worse.  Starting with the fact that the only chain saw I had was electric.  Had the power lines been knocked down, I would have just had to call the electric company and let them do all the work.  At least I found out the hard way what I was capable of.  Once everthing was felled and neatened up, I slowly cut all the branches so that I would be able to use most of the wood later.  Nothing was really wasted.  My neighbors look some of the larger pieces of the trunk and the kindling for fireplaces and firepits.  I kept various sizes of the cleaned off branches to use as trellises and fences later.  I have two trellises done at this time and will be making more if I did not spread myself so thin at this time looking for another home I can buy for cash cheap, looking for another job, working on my clothing and jewelry I want to get on etsy.com asap, getting ready for various art shows and fixing up my current home to make it “renter ready.” The following are pictures of the finished trellises made from the branches of that felled tree.  I have also included a short video.  After I layed the various branches to shape and size, I had to verify that the branches also touched one another in the correct places so they could be properly drilled and the screws would hold.  I actually started using my old screws used with Hardibacker, backerboard with I installed ceramic tile around the tub.  They are #10 x 1  1/4.”  I need to get some 1 1/2″ for the thicker branches.  It’s not difficult.  Anyone can do pretty much anything they put their mind to.  If it doesn’t work, then try another way until it does work for you.  You may want to tie the joints together with natural hemp twine either in place of the screws or after screwing together for added strength.  Screws keep the branches in place much better then just twine.

First attempt

First Attempt

Getting fancier each attempt!

                Work in progress.

                                        

Fancier still, I painted one of the trellises with Lumiere Paints.

The Usual Makeshifting of Recipes

The Cake of Many Flavors

Big mistake.  I love to take creative license with almost every recipe I use, when I use one.  This time it was a bad idea, but cook & learn. 

I started making a banana bread, did not have nuts.  I thought, “What would Elvis do?”  I added a half cup of peanut butter.  Then thought, “Chocolate & bananas, good, chocolate and peanut butter, good” so I added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder.  I had about 1/2 cup of freshly homemade strawberry syrup in the fridge without any long-term plans, added that as well.  Need to add that I use less sugar then the recipes call for when I bake to lessen SUGAR SHOCK!  Needless to say, it was disappointing.  Not horrible, but confusing.  After I tried a couple of sad bites.  I tried to figure out what the problem was, but decided it was because one bite you could slightly taste peanut butter, the next bite you could just taste some strawberry, maybe if you tried real hard.  So decided I had too many flavors combined to have anyone taste really stand out and with the semi-sweetness, eatable but very mediocre.  Whoops, forgot about the yogurt to replace half of the oil and the cup of whole wheat flour. 

Put most in the freezer, will not share this one with anybody.  If I get a desperate sweet attack, I can take a piece out of the freezer to prevent me from making an ice cream run.  Needless to say I am not posting the recipe.

Ingredients for the Cake of Many Flavors

Putting it in to bake.

Had Better Luck with Chicken and Pasta  The original recipe was Penne with Chicken and Mushrooms, which consisted of: 1 oz butter, 1 Tb of olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 2.5 oz prosciutto, 9 oz chicken, any meat, 4.5 oz sliced mushrooms, 1 peeled & sliced tomato, 1 Tb tomato paste, 1/2 C white wine, 1 C cream, served on 1 lb penne pasta.My recipe consisted of: 1 med sliced onion, 1 can of cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom), 1/2 C white wine, 1/2 C milk, 1/2 C water, 2 Tb tomato paste, 1 lb of chicken, 1/4 C parmesan & romano cheese, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder on 1 lb of bowtie or farfalle pasta.  Technically it is probably a completely different chicken pasta recipe, but the original gave me the idea for mine.  Thankfully, no pictures.  Made another chicken & pasta dish with mushrooms a few weeks ago with similar ingredients, no tomato paste or onions and substituted the bowtie pasta with whole wheat capellini.  Again used the cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom which could have been used.

Chicken and Mushrooms with whole wheat pasta

Uncorking Wine and having great weather here

     Uncorking wine on a Sunday morning is not my usual style.  The “spirit” moved me to add some white wine in the sauce that I was making for my Pasta dish planned for lunch.  I had an old bottle of Pinot Grigio, 2002.  It was my understanding that this type of wine did not age well at all.  It has been stored these many years in a cool, dark area of my basement.  I figured, since this was 2012 and the end of the world and all, I may as well get some use out of it. 

     I actually remembered to video trying to uncork the bottle with my new 2-prong wine thing, instead of the usual pain-in-the-rear cork screw.  Ended up using the corkscrew anyway. 

     The wine was cheap to begin with and was only purchased years ago for a photo shoot.  I had not had a drink of alcohol in over 20 years when I started to allow myself an occasional taste of various wines that I hear so much about on-line and on the TV foodie shows.  There are a few that are a delight, most are not.  So now I very seldom if ever drink again, but love to cook with the stuff.  I add it to all kinds of sauces and stews and whenever I cook fruit, semi-sweet red wine adds a richness to the taste, no matter what the fruit.  Yum, I was just remembering the fruit I cook in the fall.  Peaches, pears, apples, cherries, some sugar and cornstarch, do not over-sweeten, and 1/2 Cup of Michigan Cherry Wine.  All those flavors combined to something that is too good to describe, you will have to try it yourself.

Image

Taken at Henry Ford Fairlane Manor after days of temperatures in the 70’s here.  Unfortunately there were some tornado touchdowns that destroyed many homes and businesses in Dexter Michigan as well as bringing strong storms across the entire area.

Organic Gardening and Other Stuff

Growing Herbs on my sill, can hardly wait until

Days are longer, growing stronger

The acres they will fill!

 

Po Girl Shines at last! Sorta

Finally got my website up, pogirlshines.com.  Once posted my links are not working at all on the link page.  Also, my contact page sends the email to me, but the message area is blank.  Got to pay for the upgrade for this blog though.  It is frustrating to not have any options of fonts, or anything much. 

These are two cuff bracelets made from actual cuffs that were cut off of two pairs of Jeans that were too long.  Just added yarn, ribbon, sequins, charms and beads to see what they would look like.  They are my first attempt in using leftover scraps and making a cuff bracelet.  Not too disappointed.

                                                                           

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