My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Challenge: Empty

Just when I was starting to think the Thursday Challenge wasn't terribly challenging, up pops this week's prompt...

EMPTY (House, Room, Playground, Glass, Container, Chair,...)

I'm afraid the past several days have been too hectic for me to be very creative, or to keep my eyes peeled for artistic tableaus of empty chairs or containers. My first thought was to photograph an empty beer glass with nothing remaining in it but Belgian Lace. Goodness knows I had the props on hand, and the willingness (if not outright need) to use them!

But I kept pondering the prompt, and although my attention remained focused on beer, it turned to empty beer vessels of a more whimsical sort: this whirligig made out of empty Bud Light cans by a man in Saskatchewan, Canada, purchased from him by my mother at the Havre, Montana farmer's market last year, and then given to me to hang above our patio on summer days...

My mother had a silver one made of empty Coors cans hanging from her deck when I'd visited her last year. I found myself torn between admiring its clever engineering, craftsmanship and hypnotic multiple spinning parts, and thinking it was, well... tacky. There, I said it.
Mom apparently thought I'd be won over if I owned one of my own so she sent me this one, and her strategy has been surprisingly effective. So I decided to use it on Robyn, who is now the ambivalent owner of a green one made of Mountain Dew cans. (My mention of the raw materials used in the making of these three whirligigs should not construe that any of us drink nor condone these brands and/or types of carbonated beverages.) ;-)

While I won't attempt to convince you that a whirligig made of empty aluminum beverage containers is more fun than tacky by foisting one upon you, I can do the next best thing and share some video (and audio) of mine in action on a typically blustery Wyoming day...

Here's a little closeup action of its moving parts (over the wind and whirligig noise you can occasionally catch the sound of my bamboo chimes, too. But for the lack of tumbling tumbleweeds and other objects hurtling by (trash cans, patio furniture, compact cars...), you get the entire Wyoming Wind experience...

I'm only kidding a little bit about the wind here. Wyoming's vast, empty spaces are filled with it. (So maybe that means they're not really empty!) ;-)

Strength of wind from chain angle
0º Broken - Notify Meteorologist
30º - Fresh Breeze
45º - Gentle Zephyr
60º - Hurricane in Area
75º - Beware of Low-Flying Trains
90º - Welcome to Big, Wonderful Wyoming


Visit this week's Thursday Challenge!


  1. Wow wht a view
    Would want to have that here ;-)

  2. What a good Canadian... drinking all that beer so he can make beer can wind chimes! See, we do something other than play hockey! (LOL).
    Jane x

  3. You make empty cans look good!

  4. This is highly creative work.

  5. Melody ~ Couldn't agree more, our views are spectacular. (They're also for sale, since our home's on the market!) ;-) You have pretty views there, too ~ they're just not as "lumpy" as ours! lol

    Jane & Chris ~ I know, eh? And it's not even Molson! ;-) (Major sacrifice for the sake of art, drinking Bud Light out of a can! Let's hope the poor guy had a lot of help!)

    Jamie ~ Thanks, to the guy who created it and Mother Nature who provided the backdrop for it goes all the glory. Maybe Kodak gets a little too, they did make a good camera. :-)

    Indrani ~ I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your visit and comment!

  6. I must say, what a clever take on empty. I doubt I would have gotten past the empty beer glass idea. The beer whirligigs look like little space ships.

    I love the wind and all things that 'capture' its effects, tacky or no, they're a glad thing to have in the garden/around the house. Too funny that you, Robyn, and your mom all have a model. You guys are probably some of the Canadian man's best customers.

  7. Definitely a nice addition to your I guess you can thank the Canadian Can Man . . .sorry ;O)

  8. Rose ~ Thanks, but sure you would have. Anyone who could create such a convincing trompe l'oeil beach scene for their brilliant Vegan MoFo Random Road Trip could certainly come up with something far more creative for this prompt than an empty-can whirligig. :-)

    I think they look like spaceships too, especially the top and bottom ones (spaceships come up a lot in our blog comments, I just realized!) :-)

    I like most things that catch the wind and make it visual and/or audible in fun ways too. It is often too windy here for many of them though, they'd be in South Dakota by sunup. I'm pretty sure Mom has either bought more of those whirligigs for other people or has inspired other people to buy them for themselves, so yeah - Canada Man should give her a cut! :-)

    Noni ~ LOL @ "Canada Can Man" - or "CANada Man" for short. :-) Which begs the question - why doesn't he make the green whirlies out of Canada Dry Ginger Ale cans? If I make it up to Havre while their farmer's market is still going and I see him, I'll have to ask him. I'll tell him that millions of bloggers want to know. :-)

  9. Recycling at its best. And an amazing view.
    Windy days make me (and the cats) a bit antsy. Years back we had a cat who on a particularly windy day, ran up a tree and bit it. I knew how he felt.
    Lovely post, and great take on empty. Thanks.

  10. I'm laughing. I can imagine your mom purchasing this. I can imagine you thinking it was tacky, yet having to hang it, well because your mom gave it to you. Please do NOT send me one. The video has got me all up to speed.
    Love the Wyoming wind sock and accompanying sign.

  11. Ellie C ~ Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    LOL, your cat bit the tree? I've been known to yell at the wind, "Just stop, already, just stop it!" Fat lotta good it does me, but I guess it's my own version of tree-biting. :-) I know what you mean, the wind can make me feel antsy and unsettled sometimes too, and can also give me headaches! But other times I love it and find it energizing and stirring and freshening.

    Sue ~ Yes, well, you know Mom. A force of Nature! But the whirligig really has grown on me! :-) And now I know what to get you for your upcoming birthday... should you in any way piss me off between now and then. LOL!

    Isn't that WY windsock and sign a hoot?

  12. Goodness, I like your windy whirligig - it's very effective.
    I laughed at the Wyoming wind sock - no cobwebs in anyone's minds in your corner of the globe;-)

  13. jabblog ~ Thanks, I'm glad you like it too! Mom will be pleased (and vindicated) to hear of all the positive feedback. :-)

    Sadly there are plenty of cobwebby minds in these parts, but our very long winters do lend themselves to pockets of intense creativity! LOL

  14. You did well with this challenge (you may have noticed my mind was empty of any ideas and I missed it entirely)
    Love your whirlygig! Recycling at its best.

  15. Lesley ~ Thank you! I thought this was a tough one, and I think you weren't alone in skipping it.

    I definitely appreciate clever recycling, and am glad you love my Canadian-made whirligig! :-)

  16. I'm going to be very cautious in my remarks because though I loved your idea for "empty", enjoyed the video of the whirligig going very fast, and agree that it's fun, I am pleased to know that you won't be foisting one on me and don't want to encourage you to change your mind! :-) For one, it's not really my style and for two, I have a beautiful one I bought on my first visit to Wyoming forever ago and it's still not hung. Partly because I haven't got a great spot for it.

    I am glad you included the video because just hanging there, it does look a bit tacky but when it's spinning, it's quite beautiful.

    I really enjoyed the Wyoming wind sock - too funny that it's a chain and the descriptions are a hoot!

  17. Jo ~ LOL! Delicately done, my dear, delicately done. :-) Don't worry, I know it's not your style, and can only imagine the seven kinds of fits Jim would pitch if you tried to hang one somewhere! (But I do think I"ll get you one made from red Coke cans as a housewarming gift for Cranberry Lodge! LOL!) I think I remember the one you got - isn't it a copper spiral thingy? I was thinking you got it in Shipshewanna (sp?), but you'd remember better than I. Did it come from a shop in Sheridan? Can't you hang it on your covered porch?

    It is fun when it's spinning, and luckily it takes only the slightest breeze to get it going. So it looks pretty a lot more often than it looks tacky.

    I found that Wyoming Wind Sock picture a hundred years ago when we had WebTV!! It's made its way from that to at least three different computers over the years. It's definitely a keeper!

  18. I know just what you mean when you describe the dilemma of deciding if something is tacky or clever, (or tacky or esthetic if the item you're pondering is at an art fair!) I'd probably think the whirligig was tacky, but desperately want one anyway. :) The device is incredibly clever, and you've got to admire someone who can craft such a thing. If I had one, I'm sure I would like the wind more than I do now.

  19. Andrea ~ I love your deconstruction of the whole "tacky vs clever" conundrum! LOL! And you're onto something - having this does make me like the wind more! (Unlike my windchimes, which go from prettily chiming to annoyingly clanking when soft breezes turn to stiff winds, this just spins faster and looks prettier!)

    It's great to see you again, I missed you! I'll email you soon.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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