Random Pictures of Interest – Yawwwwwwwn

Strictly eye candy – hopefully enough to keep everyone entertained……… πŸ˜‰

I am running extremely whimsical with this. In a way, I am just showing pictures from my Mighty Massive photo file system which have not appeared here before. New blood, as it were.

It also gives a chance to plain have some fun without too much hyped-up thematic discipline, so it’s even cooler. The pic below is my brother Mike posing with our very own Mother, often referred to as “Mom”.Β  They both seem reasonably happy, so why not etch that rare moment on historical online Eternity? πŸ™‚ I lied, of course. Truth is, we spend most of our time laughing.

Anyways, sashay with me through various and sundry pictures, none of which match.

(left click all images to enlarge – sometimes twice for real detail)

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Here’s a hole in the wall at the Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon.

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Modernistic planting, somewhere.

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Let’s face it. You don’t see Dry Water every day…………

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A highly-suspicious plant.

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Some interesting Iron Work a very good iron man did at a project of ours.

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Here’s some iron work of Antonia Gaudi’s. Now THIS is a gate!

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This fountain always tickles me.

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The Portland Japanese Garden is inspiring, quiet and beautiful. Even the fish agree:

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Yew Dell Gardens in Fall. Dude could use a haircut and a shave.

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Here’s that big Singapore fountain at night:

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Now, this is a river.

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Multnomah Fall just outside of Portland.

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I always loved traveling this stretch of road between Reno and Portland, Oregon. It was about 540 miles – which is a grind no matter how scenic – but this approach to Mt. Hood not only meant I was getting into more treed areas, it also meant I was within about 60 miles of home. Even in Summer – with the snow nearly gone – Mt. Hood was like a relaxing sight.

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Here’s a flower!

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Dealing with the desert – you can find some strangeness, for sure. Here is a mulch only a lizard could love. The good news is it grew up nicely.

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And the desert can bloom – don’t let anyone tell you different!

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Prune This!!!!!!!!!! πŸ˜‰

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This is a lot of moving water. 6,000 gallons a minute, to be exact.

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Narwals:

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Making Bubble Rocks can put you in some tight spaces.

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And some are tighter than others:

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I always have liked what we did in making this little creek.

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I absolutely love this picture. I shamelessly add it here, not knowing where I got it. I hope the author does not mind.

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“Sobering” applies to this military cemetery in Louisville, I’d think. It is amazing quiet here. Speaking as a veteran, I often wish more of us would visit these places. You’d be amazed at how many connections you have here and elsewhere.

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You know you’re up early when this sight greets you on the drive to work. Of course, then again, it could be lunch time in the Yukon in December. πŸ˜‰

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Would this be called a “Green Building”?

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Here’s something you DON’T want to see when you get low on gas.

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Those nutty Barcelonans will do anything for a laugh.

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An interesting landscaping idea?

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Here’s Louis XIV and an escaped horse in downtown Louisville.

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This is what it’s like driving from Reno, over the mountain to lake Tahoe in Winter.

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A patio and landscaping project in Portland.

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You don’t see rocks like this every day. Nor woodwork, for that matter.

HPIM1274An interesting Architectural feature from the Portland, Oregon Chinese Garden.

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The Truckee River as it courses through the midst of downtown Reno, Nevada. This shot is at the head of the fabricated kayak run, designed for competitions. Yes, it is in the middle of town.

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A luxury swimmin’ hole we helped construct in the woods near Lake Tahoe. We did everything on top – just not the pool itself. The paving, rocks and all that are ours,

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Another fountain, now that I am the Fountain Maven at my new blog at Pond And Fountain World………nothing special, just quite unique.

And unusual.

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Anyone seen my Narwal?

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Unique Public Fountains & Spaces

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My best friend Steve settles in, hard by the Ira Keller Fountain in Portland, Oregon, during their wonderful visit there a couple years back. The Keller Fountain offers a full body experience which can be especially refreshing on hot Summer days. Fountains such as this were designed to enjoy up close and personal, a wonderful civic experience amid the workaday world and the hubub therein.

Public edifices are like smiles – no one forces you use them. They are a response to an urge to appreciate ourselves and therefore make absolutely no real rational or intellectual sense. Like anything which is beautiful, the wonder is implicit as we adore what we see. I believe beauty lights us up inside by its contagious nature. I think that’s why God invented beautiful men and women. I mean, you can have too much mud, let’s face it.

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Below, we catch a stunning work of man in this constructed waterfall and a couple of huge lakes on the Papa John’s Pizza campus in Louisville. It’s a wonderful place to walk, with a landscape just completely enriching to experience. The scale is pretty much off the charts – an installer’s Paradise, with tiny little projects abounding.

Catching the corporate Paradise urge, enlivening our outdoors with splendid works of architectural and constructed resemblances of Nature Herself, we go to Seattle and visit the amazing waterfall built by my friends at Teufel Nurseries for the Microsoft Campus. This one needs to be seen to fully appreciate.

I’m a huge urban fountain fan. I love seeing a bustling population all buzzing around these “human flypaper” structures. Humans are plain drawn to water – it’s a trait we probably manifested back when we were fish – (I’ll ask a couple of my older friends to verify) – our children seem to believe water is magical, even when contaminated with mud. It’s just that cool!

So what we get with these designs are not just the wonder of water itself, acting on us in all of water’s ineffably strange and subtle manners, but we also get to grade the structures made to support it all. This one below generally gets an “A”.

I guess it deserves it. πŸ˜‰

This one below – The Magic Fountain – is in Barcelona – just another of the many reasons I need to see that town. The lighting alone on this stunning public fountain is absolutely Galactic Class:

Breath-taking, really, isn’t it?

Fun-loving civic projects – both publicly and privately-funded provide more grist for the Beauty Mill. For the vast majority of us, a puddle can be a world in and of itself. When placed in the hands of ambitious designers, they take on another entire realm of Wonder, such as this Singapore Fountain, the largest in the World:

It just doesn’t stop. Fun, vibrantly colorful, aided by lighting and engineering trickery, we look at such things and laugh. Their reason to exist is so tentative, yet so enabling for us all to catch our Souls as they smile.

 

Many More Before and After Pictures – Misery Beautified

Why not? My oft-stated and not-so-secret love affair with dirt, rocks, machinery and design reflects my equal regard for the one Greatest Human Quality Known To Man:Β  Occasional Silence.

These sorts of things don’t talk back. They don’t criticize or try and take my Pot of Gold. They sit and wait for my touch in a way that is most yielding and totally compliant. I can pick them up, drop them – in place or on the way – and they’ll just wait to get picked up. I swear, if “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”, then large rocks, lots of dirt, a piece of blank paper and a gorgeous mini-excavator are this Man’s Best Friends.

OK, my bad.

And this guy:

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(click any image to enlarge)

Let us proceed…………….

My reminiscences about all these projects are filled with a definite sense of accomplishment, I readily admit. Probably compensatory at that, so yes, there is an egotistical sucker underneath all this nice guy persona. But I still enjoy sharing!!

Let me take this moment to remember as well those guys and the gals who worked along beside me, doing stuff I am almost positive I could not have done at my best. Patient, long-suffering and dedicated work mates made my trade (and still make it so) my own version of pleasure in the most wholesome and healthy ways. Every day there were huge laughs – great explosions following someone’s screw-up or a joke told at an incredibly poor time.Β  Ironies and lying were often featured, carrying monstrous weight as elements of the day. Patient and hilarious, one often waited for the “catch”. Hiding among trees or behind machinery was great sport for a sneaky physical attack. A true phantasmagorical experience, working with dirt and mud among people who just knew they should know better. There is a farmer with a sense of humor in all of us. We got to exercise that homely Beast. And, hey – Hardly a day passed when I did not bless my good fortune at sharing all this – no matter how brutally grim and dismal it sometimes seemed. In fact – all the more so at those times. I have always felt richest in the people with whom I have shared the labor than in any other category. Driving home at the end of a day – endorphins irradiating all my available and very exposed pleasure centers – I often wondered if life got any better.

The accomplishment of a team working towards a goal has few equals in terms of pure social pleasure.

To me, there have been dismal days in the field. Good Lord, working in the North West of the US of A is a constant reminder to me that I have probably forgotten more about mud than anyone I know will ever learn. I have added sod on top of liquid dirt many times. I’ll never forget my first day working in Portland, during a complete 8 hour day trenching for irrigation while the area collected 2 inches of rainfall. The next day was worse! And, yes, to answer an obvious question – I asked myself: “I’m doing this for what?” Those are pretty stunning working conditions, fit for the remaining amphibious gene in all of us. It was a wake-up call for all you kids who make bad grades and think not getting a degree is smart!!Β  πŸ˜‰

Here is a perfect example. We made this nice-looking water feature for a genuinely cool older Italian couple in Portland, Oregon. I always enjoyed the outcome and it won a State Award to cement its status as ‘pretty well done’. Let’s admire the “After” pictures because it’s going to get ugly showing how we got there.

Here’s the view from the deck above –

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These gorgeous “Full Spring” shots obscure some pain which led to the accomplishment. This:

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Came from this:

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Here’s how we got there………


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We began dry enough. It was with bawdy optimism, in fact, that we undertook a challenging and well-drawn chore of rendering a waterfall and 3 levels of ponds down this hillside and which is also featured in the “Pages” section of this very blog under “Construction Of A Waterfall”. In that bit, I neglected to mention a few – um – impediments behind the gig.Β  Anyway, here was our very sunny beginnings, dry, sunny, unseasonably warm October days –

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Whilst I scratched around, digging holes and relocating existing stones, the guys went and grabbed the rocks delivered by evil, stinking truck drivers with a penchant for loads of rocks which were too big too handle. By using a ball cart for huge plants, Leo and Samuel were able to huff them all – and we are speaking about pretty much 40 tons of materials – to the rear by the fashion shown below. Dry, it was not that challenging, in the end. Rain of course presented another set of problems altogether. Here’s a dry look at our most modern technology!

150 feet of “carting”, down a hill and not all paved makes a strong guy. I’ll leave that there.

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Down the hill……….

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I mean, we were incredibly diligent! Never took a minute off – well……….except once. πŸ˜‰

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We did our thing, shaping dirt, getting ready for liner and then the business end of Finishing:

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We added the liner –

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So there were we were – ready to roll – and then it got nasty outside:

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It had all seemed so smooth – until it wasn’t. And it got cold – almost forgot to mention. πŸ˜‰

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The cleanup’s at the end of each day were tons of fun!

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Well, it finally cleared but not before making things rather dismal, in today’s understatement of the week. We applied our level best to it all – and got very detailed:

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Even a sudden and random outbreak of “Male Pattern Baldness” did not deter us from inspecting each and every little rock we inserted into this edifice.

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Still working…………

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Finally, it led to a semblance of order – one could see it taking shape in a much more physical way (and here we have added compost to the surrounding soil, yet to be tilled in):

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I believe the attention to detail really paid off well and is a large part of why it was so critically well-received:

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In the end, it looked darn good – and we were proud of what we’d accomplished – in spite of our liquid impediments. πŸ˜‰

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Pond and Fountain World – My New Buddies

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I have a new bff. I think that’s the Internet term, for new bestest friends. πŸ˜‰Β  When I first moved to Louisville, almost a year ago now, I kept noticing this place with all the fountains, their big ol’ sign sporting their name and logo. Well, it didn’t take long for me to visit, needless to say. It’s not as if that’s not completely right up my alley or anything. Wow – I was pretty stunned. They admit they are crowded but who cares? What a treat. They have Koi!

(click images to enlarge)

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Browsing Pond and Fountain World’s headquarters was a wonderful refreshment for me – they display a phenomenal number of their products but they have far, far more. There are water pumps pretty much everywhere, running the fountains they feature – we’re talking well-hidden electrical cords galore. But the incredible water falls, ponds and constructed displays are also off the charts. We’re talking “The Natural Look” side of things, ala this blog’s many water features. These guys are brothers.

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I rudely introduced myself and dropped my name and this blog’s presence. I actually got to speak with the owner, George, at that time, but he was as distracted as any landscape business owner would be at that time of the year. He did, however, say he knew of me and wanted to speak further. I was intrigued. Finally, we actually produced a get-together and they mentioned they might want me to blog for them as well. This could happen. There is a definite synergy of interests there.

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What I was really interested in was selling their products in other blogs and George mentioned his eBay page and such, which would work just fine for me as an affiliate of eBay. This I intend to do unless we produce a blog together – which we are talking about now. We’ll see. In any event, I like the place and the folks there.

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It’s a fascinating resource so close to home for me and they do so many things I have done. It’s also wonderful to watch someone else deal with the stress of business, I confess, while I now possess this newer identity as a “blogger” who can stay in his pajamas all day long if he wants. I suddenly feel like The Grateful Dead. πŸ˜‰Β  Or is that Cheech and Chong?

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It’s definitely crowded. It reminded me of those cemeteries in New Orleans, with all the closely-clustered and sculpted graves and statures. Ironically, it’s still possible to imagine any fountain or feature sold there on its own, at the same time. Plentiful, gorgeous and quite satiating for the water fanatic in us all. Check out these two Bronze items from Italy:

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At any rate, they reminded me not just of the glory of fountains, per se, but also of the human love affair with water itself. Water as art, water as a movable feast for the eyes and the ears and for the soul – and all the different ways the civilized human species has devised to present water as a kinetic art form.

Me likey.Β  πŸ˜‰

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