Sub Irrigation Planters! Part 1

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Yep, after visiting Washington and seeing the sites, and especially, tons of art! I am spending my time building SIPs, or Sub Irrigation Planters!
I have to do this now because the summer’s hitting and it’s really impossible to keep plants alive in summer here without some kind of automatic irrigation.

So here’s the plan, Part 1 replace the window boxes on the balcony. Part 2 the window boxes in front of my studio windows, Part 3 build a roof garden on top of the house on the deck.

Part 1

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I made two boxes which fit exactly between the walls. Painted them a dark weathered grey and lined them with pond liner. They are just wide enough for two perforated drainage tubes and space for the wicking mixture. On the top right you can see the overflow tube, this ensures an air pocket. Very important to stop the roots from getting waterlogged.

Trying it out with one of my old window boxes to give it the plant effect .

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The boxes are watered on the other side via these bottles, which are screwed inside the drainage pipes. The boxes are now filled with the wicking mix, peat moss and vermiculite.

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And then keep on filling with a mix of peat moss, vermiculite and potting mix. And the old earth from my window boxes. And some azomite for minerals, and ecological fertilizer.

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Trial placement of the plants, I replanted the good ones I had and added new ones.

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Add more potting mixture, add lots of water to fill those reservoirs and saturate the rather dry mix, and it’s finished!

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And: Enjoy. Relax on the lounge couch with the Luxury Fekete Kutya.

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I love it so much! I just have to have another look a couple of times a day!

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New wall shelves!

I made them myself!
I love minimal simple wall shelves, I was very fond of the Ribba shelves at Ikea, but they have been discontinued, and what they have instead is, as usual, an inferior product. I will not start ranting about Ikea, I feel they are letting us down.

I couldn’t buy anything I liked so decided to make my own. They were meant for the daily paintings, so they needed to be pretty minimal, as in small, and no visual impact.

So when I was at the diy-store, looking at wood and stuff, I saw these corner covers! (No idea what they are named in real) They were much smaller than I had planned, but I realized, these were even better! The only thing they needed was an extra rim… no problem, next to them were the perfect tiny square dowels! So, stick ’em together, sand, paint, sand, paint, sand, paint… drill a few holes, attach to the wall…

And Voilà!

wall shelves for paintings

Antar at his first flyball competition

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I can’t believe I didn’t post this at the time! fact is, Antar’s his first official flyball competition was a great success! We had a wonderful time, lots of fun, and Antar did really well! Of course that is to be expected from a Fekete Kutya, but en verité, I am still all excited and rosy when I remember. Everything was good, we camped out. Antar had fun racing. nice friends, our team is the best, but we had a lot of fun in the evening with the other team’s members who also are the best!
Of course lots of amazing dogs besides Antar!

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Antar has to get his paws wrapped. It looks funny, you usually do that on a horse, but why on a dog?
As you can see on the drawing,this is the wrapping after a race:
that black dot is where the small pad  gets rubbed on the mats, and if he didn’t wear the wraps they would have been bloody! That’s what happens if a Fekete Kutya goes flat out!

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A couple of people were going to stay in tents, so I brought my super mini trekking tent. The Eureka Moonshadow.
It was Antar’s first time sleeping in a tent. Which meant that we didn’t sleep a lot. There was also a massive thunderstorm. It was expected, so we all set up underneath a large open barn, which turned out pretty good.

Here you see my mattress, me and Antar…   And how that works out in the real world….

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Memo to self: need a larger tent and mattress…..

The second day Antar got to race in the team! He got even more excited in the team! It’s more complicated though. Luckily coach was right next to us to keep and eye on us and tell me what to do when. Antar did great.
Except for the Fekete Kutya victory lap at the end of the last race, but he had passed the finish line so the race was officially over so it didn’t matter.
Except for me looking like a bad dog trainer.
Not everybody understands the challenges of training a Fekete Kutya.

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The Fekete Kutya, a rare breed. Part 1

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From my sketch book:

One of the most rare dog breeds is the Hungarian sight hound, the ”Fekete Kutya”.

Appearance:
The Fekete Kutya is a medium sized dog, weighing 28 to 44 pounds. The height should be between 18 to 24 inches.
The only accepted color for the Fekete Kutya is black, with some white hairs, but no socks or markings larger than an inch in circumference. The coat is short, smooth and shiny. On the back runs a band of hairs with a coarser texture, the belly is only very lightly haired. Most Fekete Kutyas show a light feathering on the tail, in rare instances long feathering. This is accepted by the breed standard.

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The Fekete Kutya should be of an elegant streamlined build, but never slight or delicate. The legs are long and straight, with a sizable paw. The back is straight, with a slight bend at the rear, a roach back is not acceptable. The tail is long and slender, with a slight upwards bend.
The head is long and narrow with a sharply pointed nose. The ears are small and floppy, but capable of many diverse expressions. The eyes are small, dark brown and have an almond shape.

Medieval tapestry, embroidered with coloured wool thread on linnen, showing a Fekete Kutya hunting the Hungarian Furry Gerbil.

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Used for hunting, one of the most important prey animals for the Fekete Kutya was the now extinct Hungarian Furry Gerbil. The traditional hat worn by the medieval Magyars was made of Hungarian Furry Gerbil skin. These small, ball shaped rodents were notoriously difficult to hunt but proved no match for the speed and agility of the Fekete Kutya.

16th century engraving of an Hungarian nobleman wearing an Hungarian Furry gerbil hat, his favored Fekete Kutya at his side. The dogs were trained to ride on a special cushion attached to the saddle on certain occasions.

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The Fekete Kutya became such an outstanding hunter of the Hungarian Furry Gerbil that the animal is now extinct. However, the hunt for these rodents is so ingrained in the Fekete Kutya’s genes, that even today all Fekete Kutya’s have an insane, deranged, and manic obsession with balls.

The Fekete Kutya is extremely fast, needs daily exercise, and preferably participation in sport. Especially flyball. In fact the modern sport of ”Flyball” originated from the medieval Furry Gerbil hunt.

When not exercising or at sport the Fekete Kutya will enjoy lounging on a luxury dog bed, next to you on the couch, in your bed, or actually on top of you.

The Fekete Kutya is famed for it’s intelligence, and these dogs are beyond compare in training humans. They also have a mind of their own. If, for example, the exercise offered is not up to par, according to the hound, they will conduct their own plan, which usually means running very fast around a building while the owner, trainer and various other persons call and yell for it to come back. However, the Fekete Kutya never listens to commands unless it feels like it.

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As the sport of flyball is derived from The Gerbil Hunt, the Fekete Kutya is the most perfect dog for this sport. In fact the Fekete Kutya evolved with the sport. In the early 18th century both the Hungarian Furry Gerbil and the fashion for Hungarian Furry Gerbil hats were on the decline and instead of hunting the sport of flyball was invented and had started to become very fashionable in aristocratic circles.

18th century colored plate:

”Lady playing Balle Volant with her Fekete Kutya”

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In the 18th century the first rules for flyball, or ”Le Sport de Balle Volent” as it was named due to the universal popularity of French as the European Lingua Franca, were established, and for the first time special equipment was designed for Balle Volent.
Three jumps, made of concave boards but with a fixed height were put out by the servants on a specially cut grass run, this was named ”La course”, At the end of la course was a square wooden contraption, ”La Boîte qui frapper la Balle”, it contained a rabbit fur covered ball and spring which, when pulled by a servant, would release the fur ball, ”Le Pouff”, in imitation of an Hungarian Furry gerbil. The dog would snap up the ”Pouff” and run back to it’s handler, who also had a Pouff on a silk ribbon, which was meant to entice the dog back and reward the dog by having another ”Pouff” to catch.

Stay tuned for Part Deux

Daily Painting, Roy

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A small sketch in pen, with water colors, of Roy,

This is my favorite technique for my sketchbook. This is pretty fast so good for work-on-the-go. I don’t have too much bulky stuff in my travel gear, and you still have precision and colour. Of course you can also work just in pen or water colours, but this is fast and it looks good.
At least that’s how I think about it.

In this case I used a drawing pen. The Sakura Pigma Micron 03 in black. These have been favorite pens for years. I have them in black and sepia. Very reliable and water proof. So you can add a water colour wash.
The water colours are my trusted Winsor and Newton watercolor set, the same one I have been lugging around with me for 20 years now!

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Daily painting, Grumpy Pom in a basket

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Pom is relaxing in one of the many baskets my friend has strewn around the house. It’s a beautiful 18th century canal house in Amsterdam, and it’s cat-heaven.
This is in pen and aquarelle on paper. Or ”water colour” on paper, but ”aquarelle” sounds so much more chique! I like painting in water colours, it’s restful. As a technique it’s almost the opposite to oil painting. I also choose my technique according to the feeling, the atmosphere I would like to achieve.

Water colour on paper

4” by 6”

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Daily painting: Meeting with a donkey

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On our trip to the Dallas Heritage Village we met with Nip and Tuck, two giant, very friendly donkeys.

I found them strange, they had a lot of angles and bumps, beautiful to paint of course. They are both greys with a lot of different shades in their coats. I do not know who is Nip or Tuck, so here is either Nip or Tuck!
This painting is quite small, 4 inch by 4 inch, it’s a miniature, it’s like a small jewel when I hold it in my hand. It will show up much larger on your computer screen, unless you are looking at my blog on your phone.😉

Oil on board

4” by 4”

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Dallas in the heat of summer

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It’s really hot in Dallas. People tell me it could be hotter but I find it difficult to deal with. This view of the Dallas skyline hopefully expresses the heat. We were at the Dallas Heritage Village, an open air museum and very interesting, but it was very very hot.
I mean really hot!

Oil on painter’s board

6” by 6”

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