Weekend update

Saturday before the birthday dinner I attended my son's school music program. Of course I'm tremendously proud of him since he just picked up the trumpet a couple months ago. He's not a featured soloist yet, but he's having a good time.

The program was outside in the full heat of the day (the kids sat in direct sun between 11 and 1) against a stucco wall (lots of reflected sun) and I had to wonder why schools are designed the way they are: no trees on the playground, not even small ones that will one day come to maturity. No shade structures except over an outdoor lunch area, very little play equipment, a newly installed field that isn't watered, no eaves on the building to provide passive cooling and shelter from rain. Windows that don't open. And we wonder why schools all have to have air conditioning? My guess is that all these design restrictions are based on liability and cost of construction. How sad.

Sunday I spent the day working on my front yard trellis on Sunday and I have to say that it looks very good now. Although I had completed the project some time ago, it wasn't really up to my standards. I used some guidance from a home improvement magazine to add curved cross bracing and fixed a little out of square problem that was irritating in the extreme. I also added the top pieces.

The trellis adds a structure around an exposed window on which I will grow some grape vines to provide summer shade (Roger's Red are currently planted and climbing well). In the winter they drop their leaves, so I'll have less shade then. Maybe the schools will add something similar after they've had a few years to regret their current design choices. On the other hand, I added this only 54 years after the house was built and 8 years after I bought it. The previous incarnation of the trellis can be seen here.

In the foreground are some of the fading Clarkia (pink and purple, though the white may be one too). Behind that is a purple-flowered Mexican sage, then a native sage (blue). Behind the citrus at the far left is the very first Matilija poppy flower, just barely visible. More on that later.


  1. The trellis complements the house and plants nicely. Well done.

  2. Thanks. The curved pieces were surprisingly easy to make from x8 or x10 wood.