Sunday, April 6, 2014

April showers

In my senior year of high school, I applied to the Architecture School at Carleton University, proudly hand delivering my portfolio.  Left alone with a heap of other applicants' portfolios, I perused and quickly realized Admissions wouldn't be calling me any time soon.
Architecture had been the backup plan in case my main goal of Veterinary Medicine failed.  My graphic art design had made it through multiple competition phases to be eventually exhibited at the National Art Gallery.  Call me a one hit wonder because I haven't produced anything else as creative ever since.
(Historical aside:  I wasn't accepted into my Canadian vet school and subsequently declined, multiple times, here in Alabama.  Lucky for me, rejection is a motivating force.  Also called stupidity and pigheadedness.)
What does a frustrated wannabe become?  A critic, of course!

My fascination with modern architecture has been a mix of

"What were they smoking?":

1960's museum designed by famous Swiss architect, Le Corbusier...makes you wonder if it could possibly clash any more with its setting.
or I think: it's genius, but not melding with its surroundings:

In 1967, Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie completed this apartment complex inspired by pueblan cliff dwellings. Fantastic.

A recent design, Stacked Houses, by Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. I'm easily smitten by anything cantilevered.


My third favorite architect is Frank Lloyd Wright.  He nailed the artistic design aspect, but was not the greatest engineer.  Most of his houses have required extremely costly upgrades to compensate for poor structural stability.

FLW's Taliesin in Wisconsin.  It was a dream come true to tour it.

Finally, it appears that modern green architecture is blending recycled and local materials with engineering know-how to come up with designs that have structural integrity and are in harmony with their environment.

Above is the 2010 Pierre House in WA, designed by Kundig.  It's one of the most beautiful houses I've ever seen.  I discovered Kundig's work in the magazine is mind blowing to see the creativity in modern architecture today.

I can't help but look out my window at the old farmhouse in my backyard and dream of modern retrofits:

Alas, my off shore account is non-existent and the deed isn't in my name, two very insurmountable obstacles. 
Happily, I have a project to retrofit a steel gas tank to become my future storm shelter.

Scrubbed it down to prep for a coating of coal tar mastic, only to discover that rust has created a hole in the bottom.  If I can find a welder to do a small project, I'll be back in business.
Meanwhile, the plants I had bought to cover the underground shelter needed planting.  Sometimes you have to put the cart before the horse.

The earthen area will be dug down 5 feet.  An additional area to the left was tilled up for the kniphofia needing planting.  Oh, more flower beds, that really hurts my feelings!

Kniphofia or Red Hot Poker plant.

Cole and his crate were dragged out of doors for some fresh air and vitamin D.

While digging, I made a significant archeological discovery:

Artifacts from the 1950's... valued in today's market at approx. 10 cents.

All cleaned up.

Half a day of digging left my formerly alabaster back with a wicked sunburn.  No telling what degree of doneness I would have inflicted upon myself if friends hadn't stopped by to visit for the afternoon. 

The fearlessness of some children is amazing.  Five year old Regina walked up to the donkey and grabbed his ear because she had something to tell him.

My former employee, Geovani brought his kinfolk for meeting the farm animals, canoeing and fishing.  The recession had forced me to lay off all my employees and Geovani and I  both moved and went AWOL at the same time.  Only last year did we reconnect. For about ten years prior to that great economic debacle, he had been my the greatest business partner and friend.

Back in 2004, even after 70 hours of working together, we could stand to hang out together.

In 2005, I couldn't have turned an abandoned farm into a home if it hadn't been for all the evenings and weekends Geovani , his family and friends spent working on building my house.

Fast forward to 2014.  Geovani and his niece atop Bella.
Next weekend, he wants to come back to help Abuelita (little grandmother...his favorite nickname for me) dig the hole for her shelter.  I've missed that crazy Michoacano and speaking Spanish all day long!
Quick tip of the hat to another friend who told of her experiences with feeding June bugs to frogs.

Wilbur is letting me get closer and closer to him.  Seems he understands that I am the bearer of June bugs!

Another wildlife note:  the hummingbirds are back in Central Alabama.  Get your feeders up!

Proof:  April 6, a visitor at the feeder.  Only picture I could get after standing in the rain for 5 minutes.