Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tequila Worms and The Great Agave Meltdown

I have several very large Agave americana century plants in the front flower bed. I knew they would die one day when they shot up a magnificent flower stalk 25 feet in the air as part of their big bang reproduction. I did not realize their death would come sooner as a result of the Tequila worm in the Great Agave Meltdown. (actually it would be the Mezcal worm)

My agaves were attacked by the agave snout weevil (a beetle, Scyphophorus acupunctatus). The female weevil enters the base of the plant to lay eggs in the spring. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the core of the plant. Bacteria are also introduced which rot the plant. Then the core of the infested agave eventually collapses due the combination of being eaten and rotting away. There really isn't anything you can do to save the plant. In the case of my agaves the two biggest ones and their pups are dead and the other big one in between looks like it will soon follow.

The beetle larvae, or grubs, are the same larvae found in some mezcal (not really tequila) bottles. They also caused the increase in price of tequila when the agave fields in Mexico became infested.

Last picture of the big agaves before I removed them:
Close up of externally visible damage:
Close up of the agave weevil:
Close up of a larva (tequila worm):

Dissecting the fallen agaves was a mini biological smorgasbord. The rotting tissue was filled with weevils and their larvae, flies and fly larvae, staphylinid beetles and their larvae. So if you have a fallen agave go out and dissect it so see the living microcosm. A curved bill thrasher was gladly helping itself to the exposed larvae while I was pulling the plants out.

close up view of candy dish and cypress root

Close up view of the scrapped missile dome candy dish:
Now that is one expensive candy dish!

Close up view of the cypress root (The only thing done to it was to rub it with tung oil.):

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Finally Furniture!

I finally have furniture in the living room and dining room. It took a lot of time looking at furniture, multiple trips to stores, waiting a month or more for the furniture. The majority of the furniture came from Contents Interiors and the sectional and Ekornes chairs from Copenhagen.

I have all of my furniture now with one exception, I ordered a Natuzzi storage chaise. I'm not expected to get it until the end of March. I ordered it in a non stocked leather grade and color (navy blue) so they have to make it in Italy, hence the 4 to 5 month wait.

Here is a picture:
This will go upstairs in the"extra room". I didn't want the room set up as an extra bedroom but still wanted an extra sleeping space. The chaise can be used as an adjustable back chaise, a twin bed and it has storage for blankets and sheets. I have looked a long time for a solution to this space and this storage chaise is an excellent solution.

Pictures of the living/dining room:

Dining Area:
The barely discernible pieces of painters tape on the far wall by the stairs outlines a future art project to add color.The pictures are ones I have taken during my travels. I converted the pictures in Photoshop to a color between B&W and sepia. They are not as brown as sepia and not true B&W. I have a professional matt cutter and do my own framing.
The orange color really is not this bright of an orange is just always appears that way in the pictures. It is more of a burnt orange and definitely not as bright.The table top is recycled peroba wood from Brazil. The legs are Mahogony.
The same materials are used in my console table shown below.
They are both from Environment Furniture.
I think I am going to get copper cut into rectangles with rounded corners and a patina finish to use as place matts for the table. They will compliment the copper top bar.

Fireplace Sitting Area:
I made these coffee table cubes with drawers. Originally I wanted three custom made mesquite sloped cubes but the price was ridiculously expensive and would be a 4 to 5 month wait so I decided to make some cubes myself and added the drawers for drink coaster and magazine storage.
The chair to the left is called a grasshopper chair since the legs look like a grasshopper. I really love this chair and it is very comfortable. I love the contemporary pattern and the touch of color is brings. This chair and the dining room table set the whole design of the rest of the room.The console table holds a cypress root from SC that I have had for years and a scrap missile dome candy dish.

Corner Sitting Area:
(Eventually I will install a LCD TV on the fireplace column to be viewed from these recliners, the barstools or from the kitchen.)
These are Ekornes Orion recliners from Norway. I have liked these chairs for many years and always wished I had one. They are amazingly comfortable. These chairs have been around since 1971 and there are people who still sware by their vintage model.

The big plant is a fiddle leaf ficus and on the accent table there is a vase with two bambo sticks. The accent table is made of bronze but it has a darker anodized finish.
The Replogle Trafalgar floor globe has a LED light above it for viewing pleasure.
I installed the hanging light above the recliners.


All of the area rugs are handtufted wool. Fringe is very good about staying off the rugs. (Cazie is a different story)

I have to finish accessorizing. I'll probably look for things at the gem and mineral show the end of January.

I have a large convex germanium lens with a reflective coat by the front door. It is really cool reflecting a fisheye view of the room. On the other side of the door I have a "Margy IR (Infrared) Warhol". I took one picture with the IR camera at work and then made the other three color panels in Photoshop.

Dog house prepared for winter

I finally installed the bolts to hold the door and wood chip retainer for the dog house. I used slide bolts so they are easy to install for winter and remove for the summer. I filled the doghouse with wood chips and placed a very cheap sleeping bag on top. Fringe does not sleep outside at night (instead with me) but she is spoiled. In the winter the tile floor would be cold. I also installed a solar landscape light in the dog yard to illuminate the area in front of her doghouse since it gets dark so early in the winter.

Detail of door installation:

I also made the wood frame for the "Doggy Roy Lichtenstein" Beware Spinone GRRRRR! poster I made for Fringe. The frame has an open slot at the top to easily replace the sign when weathered. I laminated the sign for weather protection.

Dog House with sign:
Closeup of sign (has too many reflections):
Detail of Doggy Lichtenstein Poster: