Which Tulip Would You Like To Tip Toe Through?

This year I have not reported on my Intarsia project. Much like I did in past years, I spent a couple of months making Intarsia with one big difference, this year it was mainly for me. The subject I chose is simple, a stylized tulip flower. As simple as it seemed at first, I had difficulty matching parts. Before I finished, I had made five of the same design, and I had just as much trouble matching the fifth as I did the first. Clearly I am doing something wrong.

One huge benefit came from the Christmas present I bought for myself i.e. a Dewalt scroll saw. The saw is not my problem. I studied Youtube videos of Intarsia Masters giving advice on how to cut and match pieces in order to improve my technique. I used many of the suggestions from the videos, but still had trouble.

I switched to experimenting with scroll saw blades to improve. Also, not the problem. I began making cuts at an angle so the lines would have less wood in contact, things improved, but not to my total satisfaction.  At the end, I was pleased with the final result, but not pleased with my progress as an Intarsia artist.

You tell me in the poll below which flower you like the best.

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Take the poll and vote for a favorite in the comment section

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Too Exhausted To Think Election

Thank God the garden has distracted me from the election. My tulips came, and I now have a mission to plant. In May, during our escape to Holland, Michigan, Peg and I bought ten bulbs each of thirteen different colors. Now I’m anxious to see them bloom. Along with the bulbs, I popped for a Mantis power tiller-cultivator. I always wanted one of those suckers. I was just a little hesitant to fire it up for the first time, but I got over that, gassed it up, and pulled the rope. WOW! That’s all I can say about this machine. It does the job. My first try saw me holding on like a bronc-buster on a mustang.

 I started in the softest soil in the yard. That’s where I practiced moving the machine back and forth to get the feel for it’s power. After ten minutes, I was ready to tackle the bed for the bulbs. The top soil in the new bed is only three inches deep, Below is hard clay. Even so, the little Mantis ground its way into the ground. When It hit the clay it began jumping up, trying to get out. With some patience I was able to scar the clay.

My shoulders and neck ached from the tension of holding on. It’s been a long time since I stressed the old body this way. I’m sure that by the time I finish planting I will be in better shape, or dead. Next, I moved the soil out of the bed to one side with a rake. My last compost from son Steve’s horse farm went down in a thin layer. I planted three colors of ten bulbs by mixing. The next ten were the same color, after that another ten of a different color. The squirrel guard came next. For this, I used chicken wire, or as it is called at Home Depot, “poultry barrier.” Finally, I shoveled the top soil back to cover the bulbs. Next, I will add a six inch layer of soil, sand, and compost.  

Three hours after I started, I went into the house, too exhausted to think about the election, and the future of our great country.  The candidates need to do the same.

“Eat Dessert First”

Stargazer LillyThe last two days have been spent traveling. Peggy and I were touring the West Michigan shoreline. Our destination town was Holland, Michigan. We wanted to see the tulips in bloom. I love to stop in the small towns and explore the shops, and the beaches. We pick up real estate magazines and look at what kind of homes are available in the towns. Most are resort towns with a huge summer time population that are near deserted in the winter.

Our first stop was in South Haven. We lunched at Clementine’s. The lunch rush hour was over, so we had great service. I always give Clementine’s four stars****. I pointed out to Peggy that South Haven has a wonderful ice cream parlor that serves Sherman’s Ice Cream. Our waitress, Janet, told us that we had to go to the dairy just outside of town to experience the “real thing.” To work off lunch,  we walked the business area browsing the shops. Peggy searched the shops for a summer wreath to hang on our front door. We did find one that we liked, but it was the wrong color. We wanted a blue, rose, or lavender color. This one was pale green.

Driving out of town, I looked for Sherman’s, but could not find it. We proceeded toward the town of  Saugatauk. Instead, I decided to show Peggy the town of Douglas. Douglas is adjacent to Saugatauk. As it turned out, they were paving the main street of Douglas and the entire business area of two blocks was shut down. We kept going to Saugatauk.

In Saugatauk, I made my regular visit to the drug-store and souvenir shop.  I have been there several times. On more than one occasion, The druggist was being hollered at by his gay lover. It was funny, but embarrassing too. It didn’t happen this time. Maybe they broke up. We walked shop to shop looking for a wreath. We have a very specific vision for what it should be. We kept asking at the shops if anyone in town carried such a wreath. Each time they sent us to another shop. No luck, none of them had what we were looking for. It was becomming more and more apparent that the wreath we turned down in South Haven was the one we wanted. Peggy and I agreed that we would venture back to South Haven if we struck out in Holland.  Our biggest treat was a stop at the fudge shop.  We bought two kinds of fudge before leaving town.

We arrived in Holland by six o’clock and checked in at the Holiday Inn Express. Instead of going out to eat, we snacked in the room, and watched tv. The next morning we toured Windmill Island. We were hoping to see buches of tulips in bloom. There were indeed many tulips, but most were spent, and the colors faded. We climbed the four stories of the De Swaan windmill, now 257 years old. “The Swan” came to Holland, Michigan from the Netherlands. The town purchased it in the ninteen sixties from the country of Holland. It is the  only one imported from the Netherlands. Our tour leader, who was much older than us, climbed the stairs without getting winded. Peggy and I puffed at each level. After the windmill we visited the caliope. What a wondeful instrument this is. Another, younger lady gave the history of the caliope. She showed us the player book, a series of cards with holes punched in. These cards fed into the machine and played the pipes and the drums. The music was great.

We left Windmill Island and drove the two shores of Lake Macatawa. This lake extends for several miles and opens into Lake Michigan. The result is a great harbor for Holland. The homes along both shorlines are magnificent. Obviously they are not occupied by the middle class of Holland, rather the very wealthy. My guess is that these properties are in the one million to three million dollar range.

We left Holland for lunch at the “Golden Arches.” We tried the new southern chicken sandwich. I gave it one star.* From there, we ventured north to the Veldmeer Tulip Farm. Luckily, there were still acres of tulips in bloom. The colors were absolutely brilliant. The trip became a “baby step,” for my new garden. We selected several colors of tulips and purchased them for fall planting. This purchase now solidifies my vision to add a few more flower beds into the yard. More grass to take out, more soil amendment, more compost, and lots of mulch. 

Having spent a ton of money on the tulips, we headed back on the scenic Blue Star Highway to South Haven. I gave up a stop to the Fenn Valley winery to get to my son Steve’s in time for dinner. We found the wreath at the ‘Rambling Rose’ in South Haven. The lovely proprietress gave us directions to Sheman’s along with another fantastic recommendation. On the way out of town we “ate dessert first. *****”  Sherman’s dairy, established in 1906, has had alot of practice making ice cream.  We jumped onto I-196 South to get to Steve’s farm. Twenty minutes later, I pulled into his yard.  Steve was waiting for us. We drove to Saint Joseph’s for supper.

We ate dinner at the ‘Pump House Grill.’  This restaurant is in the heart of the historic Saint Joseph’s business district at the top of the bluff.   The menu has a nice variety of foods. The wine list features wines from Australia. Our server Andrew took good care of us throughout the evening. He incurred my sacasm when he confessed, after a very long wait, that a printer mal-function in the kitchen prevented our order from being placed. He apologized and promised to discount the meal to appease us. He did as promised. All in all, we had a nice visit with Steve while we waited, ate soup, bread, salad and the table cloth. The food was tasty. I had lake perch, Peggy had a t-bone with too much sauce, and Steve had a Thai Salad with chicken.  The portions were hefty. Even with the screw up, I give the place three stars ***. 

On the drive home we were treated to a fabulous sunset. The clouds covered the sun but produced ribbons of lavender, taupe, and rose with tinges of yellow that merged into the grey lake.

Peggy and I arrived home in Frankfort, exhausted by 9:30 p.m. We pretended to watch T.V. until finally retiring after mid-night. Not long after we had both fallen into that deep sleep the phone woke us up. It was 1:00 a.m. I answered, “Where the heck are you Dad?” the caller asked. The voice was not that my sons or my son-in-law.

“I think you have the wrong number,” I replied.  

“No I don’t, I have been at Mc Donald’s waiting for you to pick me up. Where are you?”

Again, I tried to explain, “I think you…” He interrupted again.

“I’m sitting here lookiing forward to getting home and having a drink and a smoke.”

“Oh,” I answered, “I’ll be there to pick you up in ten minutes.” click

I went back to bed to resume that deep deep sleep. 

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