21 September 2005

Grapefruit Eggs

Bowl of Grapefruit

This bowl is, appropriately, made from grapefruit wood. Here is the story of how I acquired the wood and why the bowl has cracks in it.

In 1978, my parents retired and moved from New England to Phoenix, and two or three years later, they planted two grapefruit trees in their backyard. For many years those two trees flourished, bearing bounteous crops of delicious grapefruit. In the desert heat, they grew into low, multi-branched forms, with dense wood and intense green foliage.

But as time passed it became extremely difficult for my parents to keep the plants sufficiently watered, and eventually the trees succumbed to a prolonged drought. When I visited in the summer of 2004, they had been dead for two or three years, defiant skeletons of dry cracked branches, weathered silvery grey. They were carefully cut down and sawn into chunks, which I shipped home.

In May of 2005 I sent my parents a pair of eggs made from this wood. The branches that I used were rather heavily cracked, but the dense wood had beautiful figure. I felt the flaws gave it more character, so I filled them with cyanoacrylate glue and, well, flaunted them.

My mother, (obviously an astute judge of such character!) was delighted with the eggs, and, as mothers are wont to do, she showed them around. Next thing I knew, she had called and requested five more pairs for various friends and neighbors!

Eggs Go Marching

While making the additional eggs, I discovered that not all the wood was shades of sand - some of the branches were a pale yellow, and a few displayed both colors. All of the eggs in this photo were turned using wood from these two grapefruit trees -- as was the bowl at the top of this post, and the grapefruits in it. When I saw the yellow wood, I simply couldn't resist making some grapefruit wood grapefruit!

By the way, here's a for-scale shot of that bowl of grapefruit, right next to a new, genuine, Oregon Crater Lake quarter.

Bowl and a Quarter