Thursday, October 2, 2008

Early Fall Day

Today's was a quintessential New England fall day. Cool, crisp, and slightly blustery, with large clouds slowly scudding across the sky and occassionally blocking out the sun. I worked at home, and in the morning, went out to water and tend the herbs, including several salvia (azure sage, or salvia azurea) I recently purchased.

The honey bees were having a field day with the salvia, which had gone from a relatively flat to a deeply flourescent blue, just a few days ago. There were easily five or six bees buzzing about them, collecting pollen and consolidating it in those small sacks on their hind legs.

Two honey bees in the salvia (just left of center of photo); close-up of a third bee

Honey bee alighting on salvia bloom; another with his orange pollen sack

Back around early August, I purchased four additional herbs: Two basil and two marjoram. I have several round (barrel-shaped), wooden containers that I've used for various plantings the past few years, including several small conifers that decorated the front porch last winter.

Since then, the conifers moved to permanent homes in the side yard, and the containers were excessively weathered and slightly insect-damaged in spots. I repaired the damaged areas by bushing on a waterproof wood glue, and later re-stained the outside surfaces with Minwax Wood Finish (#222, Sedona Red).

Even though it's not intended for outdoor use, the Minwax is what I had on hand, and since these are fairly rough pieces, it didn't particularly bother me if they started to fade and weather again come winter.

Basil and marjoram in re-finished wooden containers; yet another bee, enjoying the basil flowers

In each container, I planted a single basil and marjoram plant. And after two months, the basil plants had grown to enormous sizes, and began flowering just a little over a week ago. The marjoram is also quite substantial compared to when it was planted, but the basil is truly prodigious, and its fragrance pervades the entry porch area where the containers sit most of the time.

Subsequently, I had repaired the three remaining containers, and during a late morning break today, completed re-staining two of them. Just about that time, UPS showed up to deliver a map chest I had ordered. It's very nicely made, and a highly utilitarian piece of furniture, with nine flat drawers for organizing flat-laying documents, drawings, designs, etc. I am going to use it to store my various architectural, restoration, and woodworking designs and plans. It found it's way into the spinning room, which I'm using as an additional reading & writing room, the southeast chamber being my main work area and computer room.

Re-staining containers in the spinning room; the newly delivered map chest

A little while later, as I was looking over the two stained containers, it struck me that perhaps tung or walnut oil might've been a better choice of finish. At least it's more environmentally friendly. So when I have another free moment, I'll give it a try on the last container and see what sort of results I get.

Recently stained containers; about 3" of gravel ought to help drainage and keep most bugs out

Blue sages in their newly finished container homes...
Butterfly in the blue salvia; BRT by the north side of the house and a lot of early afternoon sunlight filtering through the trees

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