Plotting along, but winter still rules

fresh snow 02-2010 measuring tapes The tools?  Paper, pencil, measuring tapes, and because the ground’s frozen state will not allow me to drive stakes in as markers, a willing husband.  He held one end of the measuring tape while I held the other and carefully recorded each measurement for later use.

The task?  Measure a house outline with notations of all windows, doors, porches, decks, downspouts, faucets, electric outlets and boxes.  Then choose specific plot points such as a boundary marker, a fence post, or any other spot usable as a measuring reference, and take multiple measurements of the distance between point A-F, A-H, B-F, B-H, and on and on until we gathered enough measurements from each plot point to each prominent aspect of the house outline.

Why do this in the dead of winter with 8 inches of snow on the ground?  Well, when class work calls, anxious students respond, and this anxious student was not about to let old man winter and a few inches of snow keep her from moving forward with her next landscape design lesson.

If I had waited for the friendlier weather of spring, the CAD lessons I struggled through would no longer be fresh in my mind.  So we bundled up in coats and gloves, pulled on our boots, grabbed our tools, and took as many measurements as possible.  Since then I’ve been putting pen to paper – or more accurately measurements to keyboard and mouse.  You can see from the photo that my computer now stores a house drawing.

survey lesson There was a time in my life – way back when – that I would have relished creating on paper, with ruler and square and pencils and many erasers, what my computer screen shows now.  But progress dictates we move forward, and I’m now happy to be able to draw on screen with the knowledge that a quick hit of the save icon allows me to freeze my work in time for a time when I have more time to plot through this lesson.

So I ask that you please forgive my intermittent posts of late.

I’ve had to shove blog ideas aside – even though a post about scabiosa keeps trying to poke its way out of its draft status to a full-blown published state.

Though seed packets stare out at me from their storage pouch, they too must wait.

Outside of a brief foray to the flower show all my garden and flower thoughts have been buried under line segments and snap points.

Now, I begin plotting the house on the site.  During stage two of this lesson, center and radius circles and marker points will dance in my head until the CAD version of the house is depicted on the computer as accurately as it is on the ground.

In a perfect world, which for this lesson is sans snow cover, all aspects of the landscape are measured at once.  First the house.  Second, fences, walls, and boundaries.  Third, trees, shrubs, walkways, gardens, etc.  Then with all measurements at hand, you sit at the computer and plot away.

I do not live in that perfect world, but in my perfect world, New England, where snow and cold reign from December through April.  I have to grab measurements as snow permits.  I hope some of the current snow will be gone by the time I get the house plotting stage done.  But I won’t hold my breath or bet on this – the weather forecast calls for slush … then rain … then snow. 

6 comments for “Plotting along, but winter still rules

  1. February 23, 2010 at 1:46 am

    You do have a lot of snow. It is beautiful, but I can see how it might grow old. Good luck with the CAD lessons! I would love to be able to draw on the computer. I wish I had time to take some classes. One of my sons learned to do this, and I think it wasn’t easy.

  2. joenesgarden
    February 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Learning the CAD program is definitely work, Deborah, but not undoable work. It’s fun to stretch the brain.

  3. February 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I’d love to see a post on your evaluation of the whole course… either when you complete it or if you have an opinion as you go. Worth it? Are you learning a lot? You have advanced Gardener degrees… would the course fit a self taught gardener? I’m enjoying following you as you progress, even though it’s all paper & pencil (screen & keyboard) stuff right now, and not yet much with plants!

  4. joenesgarden
    February 23, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I have many years of hands-on gardening under my belt, bolstered by Master Gardener and Advanced Master Gardener certification. This experience aids in knowing how to garden, but not necessarily how to design. The landscape design class covers all aspects of the later. I have long wanted to extend into landscape design but my time/responsibilities/location was not conducive to enrolling in brick and mortar institutions. This course fits my schedule by allowing me to continue with responsibilities and work on lessons. It requires focus, determination, and the ability to learn outside of the formal classroom setting. For those who thrive in this setting I certainly recommend the course. I also highly recommend the Master Gardener course as it combines classroom and hands-on learning. Your local Ag Extension Office and/or the UConn Home and Garden website will have info on Master Gardener programs which usually begin in January.

  5. Ralph
    February 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    nothing better than having a voice activated measuring tape when doing stuff like this.

  6. joenesgarden
    February 23, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Absolutely. I try to keep my voice activated measuring tape nearby whenever I work on a project.

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