Friday, December 2, 2011

101 things to do with a dead eucalyptus

Well, okay two.  Three - just thought of another one.  Four.

To start with the last one: you can use a dead eucalyptus instead of a gym.  God, it's hard.  Here is the undergardener, peching like a bull mastiff, after sawing up a wheelbarrowful.

And once it's sawed and split and your arms have turned to jelly, it lights with one match and a barely scrumpled style section and burns hot and bright for hours on end.  Here's a picture of the first fire we lit after moving in.

You'll have noticed what it's burning in.  That, folks, is what we call The Flinstones' Memorial Fireplace.  Or sometimes The Climbing Wall.  Occasionally we call it The Ugliest Fireplace Ever Built (Also The Largest).  And yet, and yet, I've grown to love it over the last year in the new house.  I love it like you would a one-eared, three-legged cat with halitosis.  Protectively.  In spite of yourself.

So we decided to honour it with a mantelpiece.  After a year of having nowhere to put a clock or prop an invitation, it was back to the cuddy for the undergardener and his boss/father-in-law.  I somehow managed not to get any pictures of them actually working (funny that) but here they are doing the almost-as-important sitting down with a beer afterwards.

And here is the fruit of their labour.  The Jim McPherson Mantelpiece, with clock.  As fine a dod of eucalyptus as was ever hewn and oiled and placed atop a bracket or two.

It was no mean feat, thanks to the idiosyncrasies of Fred the Fireplace.  There was a bit of trigonometry involved in getting it to fit.

And now there's no stopping him.  Curtain poles?  Pah.  Curtain poles are for wimps.  Crack out the chainsaw and get some pelmets worth the name.

If only I could sew I could match the effort with something to hang from them.  I can't sew (or knit, or crochet, felt, quilt or tat)  but luckily I have a friend who'll fly from Edinburgh to San Francisco to sew stuff for me.  And she's a professional designer.  Catherine Lepreux, my oldest and dearest friend.  

Next week, I'll show Catherine's part of the project.  By then, I'll still have the ugliest house in California on the outside but the inside will be dripping with original craft and design genius (and all I did was open the beer and make the tea).

1 comment:

  1. I would kill to own a home with that fireplace in it. It's full of character and history. I'm betting it was built using stones from the property the house was built on.

    In Upstate NY, many of the small farms have fences which were made from the rocks they dug out of the fields so they could plant a crop.

    Best of luck in your new home, and Bright Blessings for the coming year. I have a copy of your book in my TBR pile and look forward to reading it soon.