Branching Out

February 24, 1996|CYNDI Y. NIGHTENGALE

Going out on a limb is a way of life for builder Michael Emmons of Big Sur, who brings the essence of nature into the home with his furnishings.

Using hardwoods, mostly eucalyptus, from the California coast, Emmons adapts the branches of the trees to make chairs, stools and tables.

"I started with a chair because I wanted to make one for my family, and things went from there."

He began working with willow but moved to eucalyptus, he says, "because it is prevalent in Big Sur."

He uses a mortise and tendon joint system for connecting the branches, which gives the pieces, which start at about $800, support and strength. Once harvested, the young trees are air-dried and sealed with a clear stain to let the natural markings show through.

Emmons, a former jewelry designer, uses rocks for accents and upholstery, such as leather, canvas and cuttings from Turkish kilims, for the seats. Custom fabrics are accepted for the seats.

He can be reached at the Bare Bones Design Studio, Partington Ridge, Big Sur, CA 93920, (408) 667-2133.


Quench your thirst by tapping into the Water Mart, a store that offers fresh, purified water as well as more than other 300 water-related products.

Ceramic water crocks and coolers are among the many items available. There are 40 types of bottles, home filter systems and sports cups. The store also has a complete beverage bar.

"We are an alternative to delivered water and the bottled water you get in grocery stores. We do more than sell water," says Patrick Kane, who along with his wife, Cathy, owns the Water Mart, in the Vons Shopping Center at 22421 El Toro Road in Lake Forest. "We're here to educate people, to help them understand how purifying the water works."

The store's purification plant is a closed system placed in a "clean room" behind glass, which gives customers a full view of the process. The Kanes test the 750 gallons of water being purified daily.

For more information, call (714) 586-6889.

Gardening Guide

So you have the tools but are lacking a few tricks?

The Old Farmer's Almanac 1996 Gardener's Companion is a perennial source of tips and hints for successful planting and growing of fruits and vegetables.

The 144-page guide (about $3), published by Yankee Publishing Inc. of Dublin, N.H., draws on 204 years of growing experience from readers and experts, and includes many words of wisdom, such as:

* Place rose twigs, holly or anything else prickly down mole holes to keep them away. Moles can't stand the sight of their own blood.

* Basil should be planted with stomping and swearing. Stomping firmly compacts the soil and eliminates air spaces that would allow drying. The swearing helps you remember to stomp.

* Turnips must be planted by naked gardeners. If the temperature and the soil are warm enough for the gardener to run around and plant undressed, turnips are much more likely to thrive.

All kidding aside, the companion does include information on how and when to plant bulbs and increase the life of cut flowers.

Copies of the guide are available throughout the county at newsstands, supermarkets and garden shops. It also is available through mail order for $2.99, plus $1.95 shipping and handling. Orders should be sent to Old Farmer's Almanac, P.O. Box 520, Dublin, N.H. 03444.

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