Friday, 8 August 2014

August Already?

Summer Harvest

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to believe that summer is half over already. July just flew by (maybe due to all that garden work) and now the first week of August is gone, too. Work in the garden has slowed -- although the weeds never rest —and we are beginning to harvest tomatoes and zucchini (you can always count on zucchini!).

Left: here it is, the first full-size tomato of the summer. Our Tumbler cherry tomatoes have been ripening for a couple of weeks and they are delicious — and very abundant — but this is the first tomato that would make a sandwich.

The next photo shows two of our four tomato plants. The two behind (hidden) are quite ordinary. These two, however, are just amazing.

The Long and Short of Small Tomatoes

In the foreground, the little Tumbler plant. Not quite knee-high, it is covered with rapidly-ripening fruit. Behind it, reaching for the sky, is a tomato I hadn't seen before. It's called Indigo Sky and the tomatoes themselves are just slightly larger than cherry tomatoes. The plant, however, is now about 6 feet high and shows no sign of stopping!

These are such pretty tomatoes — when they ripen, the tops are purple but the lower part turns yellow. As the plant is loaded with them, I foresee some really attractive salads this year. Good thing that basil plant in the foreground is also producing well. Just add olive oil and balsamic — perfect.

Our Patio is Now a Place to Sit (and Create)

With all that construction work done, the patio has become a place to sit on warm afternoons. As it happens, a friend from the Creative Jewellers Guild taught me a new skill last week. A spool of copper wire, a pair each of pliers and cutters plus an old knitting needle is all the equipment it takes to weave a wire chain. It's a perfect occupation for a summer afternoon — no hot torch required! In this photo, I have begun a length of chain. Once enough is woven, you thread the end through all the loops to secure it and then draw it through holes drilled in a piece of hardwood. That compresses and smooths the chain. Can't use a steel draw plate as the metal could cut your copper wire. The final result looks rather like Viking Weave.

More Jewelry (or Jewellery to us Canuks)

A couple of recent mornings were cool enough to get the torch working again. This photo is of pieces of reticulated sterling about to become long dangle earrings.

It took a lot of filing and sanding to smooth the edges of the dangles (they are a touch more than two inches long). I cut the squares they hang from out of the same sheet of silver. Then I soldered posts to the squares and drilled holes in all four pieces so I could connect them with jump rings. Final result below.

Samurai Pendant

Right: my other new item. I'm still having fun "cooking" copper to create a Raku finish. I wanted to highlight this piece with a rough triangle of reticulated silver. Not wanting to use a torch (and mess up the Raku!), I cut a slot in the top of the copper sheet, threaded the silver through it and bent the back of the silver into a bail for this box link chain (no, I did not make that fine chain — my eyesight is not nearly that good).

The earrings and pendant now online at <>