Monday, August 13, 2012

Spontaneous Construction 2012!

SponCon is back for 2012 and better than ever.  The annual Home ReSource festival of creative re-use will be on September 29.  And yes, Butterfly Properties (our garden coaching business) is again a proud sponsor, but more importantly we are competing in the building contest again.  Our team remains the same as last year (me, Barry and Marilyn) and we have another garden project in store (to find out what we are building, you will have to show up on September 29!)

Last year we built this mobile greenhouse, and this year we are concocting ideas for something even better, that will hopefully improve on our finalist placing last year (afterall, it is a contest!).
The mobile greenhouse our team built in 6 hours at SponCon in 2011
The event is a wonderful, fun and uniquely Missoula and there is something for everyone to do- from kids to adults, but one the best ways to experience SponCon is to enter the building competition (it only costs $40/ team and they feed you, and you get free run of Home Resource for materials for your creation).
Enter soon, because the word on the street is that the competition might fill up this year!  Sources close to me also report that Missoula's world renown artist, Monte Dolack, is competing this year.

Here are excepts from my blog post about Spon Con 2011:

"Yesterday our team (Butterfly Properties- our garden coaching business) spent the day participating (or as our friend and teammate Barry would say "competing") in Spontaneous Construction.  This is an annual event at Home ReSource that is all about creative and adaptive reuse.  It is a wonderful event and fun for kids and adults.  Contestants have six hours to build anything from materials found in Home ReSource.

It was a fun time with activities for all ages and creative interests (art, music, community, ice cream and more).
 This year was our first time in the building competition and we built a mobile garden cloche (little greenhouse).  Our little mobile greenhouse (actually 3 items in 1- see below), was selected as one of the contenders for the grand prize.  The prize determination will be revealed at a benefit auction on November 10th.  At the auction, among other things, you'll be able to bid on our mini greenhouse and all the other top pieces that were built yesterday. All of them will be on display at Home ReSource (1515 Wyoming Street), until November 10, so you can stop by and check them all out.

We wanted to build something for the garden that was functional and beautiful that was made from from  discarded building materials.  All the wood for the greenhouse was painted redwood (you'd never know it from the paint) deck balusters, and the frame was built out of an ugly steel fence.  The glazing was single pane glass- and there is always tons of this at Home ReSource, ready to be cut up and put to use.

Six hours is not a lot of time. For maximum efficiency, we divided up tasks- Barry did the metalwork, I did the woodwork and glass cutting, and Marilyn did the site cleanup and all the painting.
We dressed up the cart with some shelf brackets and even garden shears for the handles (below).

The greenhouse (displayed in front of the proud team, Barry Cummings, Marilyn Marler, and me), is actually three items in one.  It can be used as a mobile greenhouse (as is), you can remove the greenhouse and use it directly on the ground as a cold frame, and then you can use the cart as a very study, heavy-duty garden cart.
Team Butterfly Properties:  Barry, Marilyn and me
The cart features 20" solid rubber wheels, and is made with 1" square steel tubing, expertly welded and fabricated by Barry.  The floor of the greenhouse is expanded steel for drainage.
Home ReSource is a wonderful place thanks to all the hard work, vision and dedication of its staff and supporters in the community."

Monday, August 6, 2012

a repurposed garden tool, garden gate

Here is my latest project- a repurposed garden tool, garden gate.  If you recall, this is not on my prescribed list of garden projects for 2012, but this project actually represents me creeping up on a bigger project- a fence for the front yard.  It is kind of a long story how, but trust me, I am making progress on that project, slowly.
Before- a fine gate.
This gate is a replacement for a perfectly good gate I built about 12 years ago.   There is nothing wrong with this gate, but it was not really interesting, nor was it especially inviting.
After- an interesting and inviting entrance into the garden.
Thinking back to 12 years ago in the garden, the gate basically describes the garden, too.  There was not a whole lot going on, and the main objective was to gain some privacy.  
Now that the garden has matured, privacy is provided by trees, shrubs and other structures, and the old gate seemed like an unwelcoming impediment to the garden beyond.
So I took this as an opportunity to add a little creativity and art to the garden, while at the same time, opening up the backyard and connecting the side yard to the back.
As with most of my projects, all the wood (cedar 2x stock), garden tools, and hardware were all recycled and came from Home ReSource (have I mentioned I enjoy shopping there?).

Using garden tools seems fitting as both an entrance to the garden, and to describe the hobbies of the homeowners.
This gate is just down the path from the new trellis I made earlier this year, and there are obvious similarities.
 I think this gate provides a sense of separation, yet allows a nice flow or continuity to the garden.
In case you are wondering, the old, perfectly good gate won't go to waste.  I am going to reuse the screws and cedar fence boards, and the frame and other hardware I'll donate to Home ReSource (where I will probably end up buying them for another project someday!).