Wednesday, June 15, 2011

my blair witch project

A while back when my sweet peas were just wee little greens looking for something to climb on, I decided to build my own trellis. It would have been easy enough and not entirely expensive to pick something up in our Fred Meyer's garden center. It certainly would have saved time. But, in an effort to spend no money, I scrounged around the house, basement, and garage to find something to use.

Years ago, I went thru a craze of Willow branches. I had them in vases here and there about the house. I collected different kinds. I tied fancy ribbons around them. I even, confession, hung decorations from them at the holidays. But, in time, I got sick of getting poked in the eye every time I dusted. Eventually, I gathered them all up and shoved them in an heavy plastic, office-sized trash can and put them down in the basement. I wanted to save them... just in case. A few years later, I decided I was never going to go thru the "willow branch" phase again. They were banished to the recycling bin. But, they were big. Instead of actually making it into the recycling, they were set next to it, then behind it, and then they disappeared. Out of sight, out of mind.

You know how it is if you live with something long enough, you begin to have selective vision. We only see what we want to see. Once, in our upstairs hallway, I left a whole bin of paint supplies shoved under a six foot ladder. It was kind of the last straw in my terribly ridiculous attempt to "encourage" my ex to help me finish painting the hallway. I wasn't even aware of my passive-aggressive behavior and he didn't ever pick up on my subtle way of asking for help. Obviously, it was a symptom of a much bigger problem. Anyway, that ladder and paint stuff sat there for six months. Even worse is that I'd put only one coat of paint on the hallway walls so they looked terrible. And, I'd tried out several colors of paint on the trim so it was all just a big mess of a space... the space we walked thru every single day about a million times. Well, my point is that after a couple of weeks, it didn't even bother me anymore because I didn't really see it there. We started hanging our coats on it. I'd set my purse there. A few pairs of shoes ended up in the bin with the paint brushes. And, a jacket I'd only worn twice was perched at the very top of the ladder.

It's not that I'm a slob around the house... far from it. I am actually quite organized and picky. In fact, I am a perfectionist that's learned that good enough is okay and a few dishes in the sink won't hurt anyone. Sometimes, I slide a little off balance, I get too intense and start fussing about making the house magazine ready and getting cranky when someone moves a pillow on the couch. Silly because I don't expect we'll ever have a magazine shoot. Then, other times, like now, I slide the other way and it just doesn't bother me that the bathroom needs to be deep cleaned and the kids' rooms are a disaster. But, it's the last week of school and we've been busy. I scrubbed the toilet and sink in the bathroom and decided that was good enough to get us thru the week. The deep cleaning will happen next week. I am totally okay enjoying my kids and my guy and dealing with the mess later. Years ago, I would not have been okay. Thank you, therapist Nancy.

Talk about side tracked and distracted... back to the willow branches. I went scrounging around with a purpose of a trellis in mind. Low and behold the trash can full of willow had never moved out from behind the old recycling bins. In fact, I didn't even see them at first. I mean I saw them but I'd seen them so often that I quit seeing them. A little light bulb went off and they were the perfect material with which to build a trellis. Mind you, I've never built one before but I'd wandered around looking at pictures and ideas online and that made me feel qualified.

They were sitting in stinky, murky disgusting water. My nose is super sensitive and I was gagging as I dumped the water out. Actually, I think the trash can of water is still sitting there, I really just dumped it out enough to gather up all the branches. They stinky parts that had been in the water grossed me out. I didn't want our sweet peas touching them. So, I spent over an hour washing them off then stripping off any parts that had been tainted. Once they were sufficiently clean, they were ready to get dirty again.

I tee-peed them up on either side of the peas, then laid one across the top of the teepee. Using a handful of plastic zip ties (I found a million in the garage), I tightened each place the branches crosses. This amounted to the use of about 25 zip ties. I trimmed off the ends and my little trellis looked pretty good. I believe "artsy" is the term Mr. T used. I wrapped the tender tendrils around hoping they'd eventually find there way to the top. Then, I decided that I could see the plastic zip ties and they didn't look organic enough. I wrapped every single one in twine to finish the artsy "look." All in all, it was about 4 hours of work for this thing.

When we pulled out of the driveway, Mr. T said it reminded him of the branch thing from The Blair Witch Project. Not quite the look I was going for and we laughed about how it took me forever and I washed the sticks before plunging them into the earth where they were bound to get dirty, and I hadn't really given much thought to how tall my vines would grow.
Remember this from the Blair Witch Project?
Now, my vines have grown well beyond the confines of my sad little trellis. All the time spent wrapping the zip ties with twine to cover up the plastic really wasn't time well spent! And, I must figure out how to contain and manage them again.
Don't look too closely at the chicken wire contraption behind... my other attempt at trellising.
They grow really fast! 
Look what I found yesterday! Hello, Beautiful.
What do you use to trellis? Any cheap/free ideas? Please share!

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