Thursday, March 6, 2008

Of Rimlocks and Trees

I can't decide whether or not I mean that title to be a reference to Lewis Carroll. If so, it's pretty weak. But it's the best I can do at the moment, so let's go with it.

More horticultural news: my lovely cybister amaryllis, 'Meringue,' is in bloom. Cybisters are a (relatively) new group of amaryllis, so called because they arose from a cross between the traditional Dutch Amaryllis and Hippeastrum cybister, a South American species that is pretty darn breathtaking in its wild form (the Internation Bulb Society hosts a good picture of H. cybister). Love, love, LOVE these hybrids, which are still a bit rare. When my mad obsession with home restoration has run its course, I'm going to expand my collection--they are just spectacular.

Cybister amaryllis 'Meringue'

Also in very exciting plant news, we finally bought that 'Little Gem' magnolia I've been wanting since what seems like the Dawn of Time (but obviously can't really be much than 1 year ago, when we first saw the house and contemplated buying it). Long ago, there was a very silly oleander planted smack in front of the living room window. Instead of accenting the house, it obscured it, as you can see in this old picture that used to be part of our banner. It reminds my of one of Cinderella's step-sisters, attempting to be coy by ostentatiously hiding her face behind her fan.

House with silly oleander hiding its face--Mar. 2007

The day we bought the house (or possibly the day after that), the thing committed seppuku by falling flat on the ground and yanking its roots half out. Which was pretty much good riddance as far as we were concerned, but it left the house with a distressing nakedness--a weird lack of boundaries or connection with the earth. It needed a punctuation mark. Voilà the 'Little Gem'! A graceful exclamation point that changes our front from "House" to "House!" See how much better that is?

House. Now with 'Little Gem' exclamation point!

More is needed, of course. There is the temptation of azaleas, which you can actually apparently grow here. And as our house faces north, the front almost never gets direct sun, to the intense exasperation of the roses ('Red Cascade,' 'Mrs. RM Finch,' and long-time favorite 'Cramoisi Superiuer') that I insisted on planting there. But perfect for a beautiful bank of azaleas!

We also planted a 'Tuscarora' red crape myrtle to the left (see the profile at Dave's Garden). It's smaller and less forceful than the magnolia (at the moment anyway). Sort of the ¡ ("signo de admiración invertido"--did you know that was its name? Me neither) to the magnolia's !. Now the front says "¡House!" and how stimulating is that?

I also wanted to throw in (another) blurry picture of the mechanism of our RL. Co. rimlock (my camera apparently considers the rimlock an object unworthy of its consideration--I took about 8 pix--none of them were crisp). Matt got it functioning by moving a flat piece of metal that allows the key bolt to function and inserting it in the doorknob/tongue section of the mechanism instead (see arrow below). So now the key bolt doesn't work, but as we haven't got the key, that's not a big deal.

You can see that RL. Co. was serious about security--it's made with two bolts, in addition to the tongue--one was a deadbolt and the other was operated by a key.

I love the fact that there is a groove worn around the keyhole--you can see that people were actually using this as a lock. A giant "duh" to that, I guess, but I find it oddly endearing.

Anyway, when Matt was working on this, we both did a lot of poking around on the internet for information about how to make the mechanism work, and we just didn't find much. So for all you amateur rimlock restorers out there, here. Have a picture.

The inner workings of our RL. Co. lock. The red arrow points to a long strip of metal that pushes the lever to the right when the door knob is at its default position, in turn pushing the lever for the tongue out.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails