Friday, April 29, 2016

Creative Puttering

It may not be everyone's thing but I love when something I've read or heard leads to a progression of thought. That happened earlier this week. I was sharing with a friend about how I'd lined up the bits & pieces of potential boxes and planned to work through them and she responded by saying you love to putter like that.

Since I'm super excited about what I'm going to learn by working my way through those boxes, my thoughts were more along the line of tickle trunk, sandbox, playground, magic kingdom, or some other mysteriously-full-of-the-unknown kind of phrase. Putter is not what came to mind which made me wonder what does putter really mean.


... to
 busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner as in to putter in the garden.

... to move or go in a specified manner with ineffective action or little energy or purpose as in to putter about the house on a rainy day.

to move or go slowly or aimlessly as in to loiter.

... puttering or ineffective action as in dawdling.

putter away, to spend or fill in a random, inconsequential, or unproductive way; fritter away; waste as in we puttered the morning away.

I did that - sort of - on Tuesday when I went to a friend's house and we spent the day painting canvas bags in her studio except that our day wasn't ineffective, with little energy or purpose, aimless, inconsequential, or unproductive. It was a fabulously fun, simple, leisurely, casual, slow play time - friend time - definitely not a waste - which made me wonder what adjective changes puttering from mostly-not-so-good to mostly-good. Perhaps creative which means... cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes

to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

... to cause to happen; bring about; arrange, as by intention or design

That would make creative puttering a slow process of bringing into being something that is unique and imaginative. And that bringing into being would be full of purpose and energy - and possibility - like creatively puttering in my bits & pieces of potential boxes. I'm okay with that. My mind is...

... bubbling with ideas only I've been finishing up some other things first like the quilts for the guest room. Above, I'd reached the point where the remainder of the first quilt fit into the throat of the machine. YES YES - a positive thing... and then I finished it... and now I'm on the second one... which is also a positive thing, only different. 

And I've been working in the garden. Not puttering. It's more like hard labour digging up turf, moving rocks, building garden beds, and planting. Puttering might apply to pulling the odd unresistant weed but definitely not to 6 1/2 hours of digging, lifting, bending, throwing, dumping, pulling, pushing, hoeing, raking, planting, covering, watering... and so on.

It took four hours just to clear the rocks from the left edge of the gravel path above to the right edge past the hose where you see more rocks and to build the two walls. Then I filled in the walk with six bags of pea gravel and dumped and raked 24 thirty-liter bags of dirt into the garden.


Creative puttering.

Once I get rid of all the rocks along this side of the house, the plan is to create a five foot wide vegetable garden with more raised garden beds formed with rocks. I have lots of rocks. Millions of rocks. More rocks than any body should have and most of them in the wrong place.

When I bought the house last fall, the front porch had diagonal corners with stairs coming down at each end which were IMHO rather ugly to say nothing of the fact that the stairs on the carport end walked straight into a post. In the picture below with the ladder, you can see the piles of bricks that I removed from the space above that is now a curved garden. I planted the tree and some perennial plants and the rest will eventually get filled in.

The previous owner left behind two wooden ladders. Above is the shorter one, now a trellis. I sprayed it with a clear top coat to protect the wood and then wrapped it with string so the Trumpet Vine can climb up. It'll have pink flowers. And look much better once the carport is cleaned up.

Originally, I wanted to build the raised garden beds using wood so I invited my oldest son to come and help me tomorrow. He doesn't know yet that the task has changed. If he doesn't mind doing rocks, we'll work on the side of the house but if he'd rather do wood, the garden center up the road has a huge stack of pallets to give away and I want to use them for the skirt on the porch.

I had wanted the pallet wood for a walkway like the one above that I saw on Pinterest only it uses the wider boards and there aren't very many in a pallet and the walkway I want is quite long wrapping around the front gardens and the side of the house. Since that would be a LOT of pallets, I may need another plan... like a rock crusher ! ! ! Because I have rocks. Millions of rocks. More rocks than a body should have and most of them in the wrong place.

Speaking of bodies... I saw the surgeon yesterday and she was quite intrigued with my hip. The hematoma has shifted up and over and there is a softer pocket of liquefied blood as well as harder painful areas. The plan is to have it drained when I go for an ultrasound in a couple weeks and then immediately wrap it with a tensor bandage and keep that on day and night for a month to see if the tension will prevent the pocket from refilling and allow the tissue to knit together.  We may need to repeat that action but she would rather try that route first than surgery... which means...

... I need to be done the yard before then so I rest my hip and give it every chance to do its thing. Hmm... I may need to sew with my left foot.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - one finished quilt, progress in the yard, creative puttering


  1. Personally, I love to putter. That's the time when ideas can kind of come together in my mind. Or not. I just find it pleasurable and relaxing. That's not a bad thing.

    For someone who was just incapacitated by an injury, you sure have accomplished a lot. The yard is looking lovely. And, I hope that your doctor's plan for your hip works on the first try!

    1. Yes, yes... and it's a time when one idea leads to another. It's good. VBG... as you can tell I'm not very good at being incapacitated but I am smart enough to know that I can't do this kind of work once the tension bandage is on so I'm planning for more creative play after that. Thanks for the well wishes.

  2. Myrna, the house and yard are shaping up nicely -- but I'm worried about that hip! I hope your doctor's idea works so that you don't have to have surgery. I must find something to putter with as reading this blog post has worn me out! VBG. Hugs, Charmion

    1. I was over at my neighbour's this morning looking back at my house and it's a much prettier view than what they had. They're digging in their front yard making a flower bed and said a "little bit each year" only they moved in 1998 so I'm thinking it's more like a domino effect with one neighbour doing something so other neighbours are doing it too. Keeping up with the Jones. Too fun. The hip is annoying but I remind myself that I'm not dead, paralyzed, or broken so it's annoying but still good.

  3. Oh, I love that phrase..."creativie puttering." The words resonate deeply with me as a way to describe my favorite days.

    1. Excellent. I'm glad. Works for me too.

  4. Your yard looks terrific. I will be thinking about your healing of your hip. It sounds very positive.

    1. LOL - when I'm out there working and thinking of you coming to visit, I always get a giggle over our conversation about constipated gardening.

  5. Aimless?! Ineffectual?! Inconsequential?! Unproductive?!?!??! OH HECK NO! Somewhere I missed all those words in the meaning of puttering. I totally agree with the leisurely, slow, and casual though.

    I like what you're doing to the yard, and hope your hip responds well to the planned treatment. It will be nice to have the rock-moving done and off the to-do list while you are healing.

    1. It's like success. We all have our own interpretation of what that word means to us. Puttering to me is along the lines of the slow creativity movement and quite valuable. I've mostly finished the front yard. A few things next week and I should be able to let it go while I'm resting/healing. I just put the wicker chairs on the front porch with some pots of flowers and it's very pretty. A good resting place.

  6. I should warn you about Trumpet Vine. Dig it up and get rid of it now while you still have time! It will take over your entire yard, I kid you not! I have been battling TV for over 25 years, backbreaking pruning sessions. Round-Up won't kill it; the underground roots show up everywhere in the yard. It will climb that ladder and send its tendrils up under your roof shingles, under your siding, between any cracks in your foundation . . . everywhere. Dig it up and put a nice clematis there instead.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.