Monday, May 19, 2008

More Cement, Blossoms and Trees...

After working on the wall we had left over materials to do random projects with. Jeff made a form for a bench top and we found some extra carport tiles to jazz it up a bit. We aren't sure whether laying the tiles down and pouring cement over them OR putting the tiles face up afterwards is the best method so this time we did both. I think you cannot put them on the bottom if you want smooth cement around it. I think there will be rocks that will make the bench bumpy...when we unveil it in a couple days we will know which way is best! It could be that you adhere tiles later with special tile goo or something. We didn't add rebar either - didn't think we'd need it. If I made it myself I probably would have poured it in a location close to where it would end up since it will be pretty heavy. Jeff poured it near the carport. Hope it isn't too heavy.
With leftover stuff already mixed he poured some into the center column of the two cinder blocks and I will finish them later so we have the bench legs. If this works well we can tint the cement next time so we don't have to paint afterwards. Could be hard painting around the tiles on top (if that works). This could be a fun and cheap way to make lots of benches so we can rest our weary bones in between work spurts. The top took a bag of cement ($3.60) and some gravel. We had wood laying around. Cinder blocks are 65 cents each.

Touring around the yard several times a day is always a treat. This time I spotted some big avocado in one of our 7 trees. There are at least two varieties, several trees are too young to bear fruit, and they seem to be blooming at different times (which is good). Anyone got any recipes for something other than cold avocado soup or guacamole?

I had to move the bird bath since birds weren't going in it. I put it outside our bedroom window because we hear doves and all kinds of birds in the orchid tree, corazones, achiote and guava. Little Boy (our fat Washington cat - aka Dakota) is sitting under the Guava which has a zillion blossoms that I didn't see until I started waking up to the sounds of really big peanut-m&m size bees! I looked up and saw buds and flowers and little fruits! That's how it is here - one day there is nothing, the next day fruit! or flowers! or leaves!

These are the guava blossoms that have the bees so excited.

This tree is a "must have." I didn't appreciate it at first until I noticed that at night the leaves looked like butterflies' wings - they fold up. Then it started to bloom and the flowers look like orchids! Sorry I don't know the real name of this tree yet but I really like it. I have collected seeds and am growing starts to put up on the hill.

Here is one of the blooms that dropped off. There are hardly any leaves on the tree right now so the flowers are very showy. We bought this house mainly because of the property and all the full grown trees and shrubs. The house is a wonderful design as well, but I really want to be outside all the time. Just touring the yard makes me happy. Every day brings a different smell as something somewhere starts to bloom and sets me off to go find it! Can't wait until the plumeria and llang llang start to bloom. I also planted mirto outside the bedroom window (below the plumeria). The plumeria has buds already so it should bloom soon - ah well, maybe tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Hi Katrina:
Nice looking bench! Curious to hear how the tiles work out.
Your "Orchid Tree" sounds like a Bauhinia Variegata (aka "orchid tree" or "poor man's orchid). Lots of info about it at: It is VERY easy to start from seed once you get pods.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! One frustrating thing here is that nurserys don't label anything and no one uses latin "real" plant names so it is hard to ask for things or know what you've got. There are some decent sites about tropical plants/trees for the USDA and Universities but it is hard to find specific things. I am an avid pod collector and constantly scouting around tree bases for seedlings. I'll let you know about the bench... katrina

Summer said...

I hope your bench isn't too heavy too, BUT, Stefan built a desk out of cement and that is the heaviest thing I have ever attempted to move. And it was just a thin-ish slab of cement.

Avocados - 1st off, I'm jealous that none of our trees are producing yet! Have you ever heard of the seasoning, Spike? It is the best thing ever for avocados. I could sit around and eat plain old avos with Spike all day long.

You can get it at FreshMart in Aguadilla or if you have a health foods store nearby, look there. When we get good avocados, we have forked avo on toast with Spike and two thick slices of tomato. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Yowza! A cement desk? How do you move it around when you rearrange? Cement is really fun and cheap but I never thought of a desk - now the mind is thinking potting bench (put the old sink in it)...thanks! katrina

SUMMER said...

The cement desk was an experiment since we originally wanted to do cement countertops (we ended up going granite). It definately was crazy heavy, but it's cool that you can make just about anything out of cement!

Anonymous said...

We are going to redo both bathrooms and the kitchen at some point (all are totally functional and only the blue bathroom is kind of ugly). We thought about cement counters in the kitchen but the house has terrazo floors and cement walls and we thought it would be too much cement. I am wondering about bamboo counters? I am wondering if epoxy over bamboo laminate flooring would look good and work well. It would be natural and neutral and I could go wild with dishes and cabinets! katrina