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Copper Sprinkler Works Blog - From Our Garden to Yours

Miscellaneous (2)

Sunday, 21 October 2012 14:12

Getting ready for winter

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We just returned from a week “up north” (yes, even central Wisconsinites go even further north for their vacations).

When we left, trees were in full color. When we returned, all the trees had dropped their leaves. It is fall clean-up time. We keep our fall chores to a minimum mostly because we want to be able to enjoy the beauty of the season (all seasons are beautiful – it’s just how you look at them).

Today we headed out to rake some areas and drag those leaves deeper into the woods, creating compost piles that we won’t even recognize by next spring. Soon we’ll pull our bird fountain. While copper is definitely able to withstand the elements, it’s a good idea to move your sprinklers and fountains inside (a garage, toolshed, etc. is fine). Be sure to drain them (turn them upside down, give a gentle shake) so that no water is trapped which could freeze and perhaps weaken your piece.

If your copper piece doesn’t actively interact with water (a statue, for example), you can typically leave it in place throughout the winter season. We have a wind-spinner that is about 15 years old. We leave it out all year. It provides birds with a place to sit in the middle of our garden while they hunt for whatever food may still be available.

And speaking of birds – if you feed them, continue to do so. Even more importantly, provide them with water throughout the winter months. We keep a heated bird bath just outside our dining room window and are rewarded by visitors of all (bird) types throughout the winter.

Remember, enjoy the season – whichever one it is.

Saturday, 16 June 2012 09:35


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Copper Sprinkler Works is the “company name” for the artwork produced by Charles McConkie. The writer of this blog (and probably most to come) is Kate Reck. I’m Charlie’s wife – or as I used to say at the art fairs, I’m the one who “sleeps with the talent.” (It wasn’t too risqué at the art shows - hope it translates okay here, too!)

We decided to take to the social media waves because we miss the “people-meeting” that came with going to art fairs and other public events with Copper Sprinkler Works in its earlier years. Many of Charlie’s ideas were sparked by conversations he had with folks who visited us in our booths.

And, we realized that a blog could be a fun and down-to-earth way of getting to know others who are interested in gardening, art, and anything that may be related to those two things.

Hence, the title, “From Our Garden to Yours.”

I’ve always been interested in gardening and sustainable living, but kids and life got in the way. Now the kids are on their own and I have the time and land to bring those interests back into my life. Over the winter, while Charlie was busy in his shop, I pulled out my old books on gardening, plant stores, and sustainable living. Going forward, I'll also use the Internet to find sites that offer new ideas.

I'll share our exploration of the five acres of land we call home – it was once planted by a phenomenal gardener and then neglected for years by later owners.

There are flowers everywhere on our property that are vaguely familiar to me and need researching. There are garden beds to be unearthed from years of neglect. There are new technologies to try and new ideas to hear.

And there is my husband (Charlie!) who is able to create absolutely breath-taking pieces (mostly flora-based) out of metal.

Please come back and follow our blog. I look forward to trying science experiments (what turns copper green the quickest?), figuring out how to get rid of the slugs in my hostas, and what great new artwork can be used in a garden setting (sometimes Charlie’s items, but there are lots of other artists’ ideas to share).

And, I will start my flower journal on documenting the flowers and plants we inherited and find.

Finally, we invite you to share with us your ideas – that’s the primary reason for this blog. To get a network of folks sharing ideas about gardening; landscaping; birding; sustainable living; and, of course, Charlie’s art.   I hope to get new ideas and suggestions from this community to use in our landscaping. We’ll be sure to share the before/after pictures when we put something into motion.

Thanks for joining us. It’s going to be a great adventure.


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