(from French folie, "foolishness"), also called Eye catcher, in architecture, a costly, generally nonfunctional building that was erected to enhance a natural landscape. Follies first gained popularity in England, and they were particularly in vogue during the 18th and early 19th centuries, when landscape design was dominated by the tenets of Romanticism. ...
Last May, Norm wandered into the studio and said “ I think I’ll pour a pad for the dog’s kennel.” I said ( words he really hates to hear) “You know, ……………………..I could use a structure for wisteria to grow on and it could double as a kennel pad until the dog’s not a savage any more, we could sit out there under the wisteria and it would be really pretty and nice and you‘d like it.” I just happened to have a nice little photo of a little arbor that would serve as a jumping off place. Grumbling softly, Norm skulked off to stew. Later that day he came in and said “Ok, I can do that”, and left. In the days following, 6 posts were erected, sticking up like an orderly Stonehenge. We began to call it “Stick Henge” and people would say “what is that thing out there”? As I throw, I can see it whenever I turn my head and I wasn’t sure for a long time what exactly it would be as Norm’s plans were 2 lines sketched on a yellow legal pad, "to figure the arc & pipe lengths". He insisted that it was all in his head. Yeah right!
Norm wanted a copper top like the picture, and didn’t know anything about bending or brazing copper and there aren’t a lot of “How to..” books out there. Took him 3 weeks to learn how to bend the copper, which required stuffing each, 11 foot, 1 ¼ inch Dia. copper pipe with sand before it could be bent, took him six weeks to learn which materials worked to braze the copper. That was stressful. He’d be out there snarling and spewing a litany of words, day after day, and was not satisfied with the joints. (He used to know how to braze 40 years ago) The welding supply store loved to see him coming and let him work on the problem for a long time before helping him out. Eventually, he got it right, and brazed the 6 main ribs, raised the frame and set up scaffolding to braze the horizontals. This next part is important. When Norm builds things, he thinks in lengths of what’s available and likes to be optimistic about proportion. When we lifted the copper frame up, I ( in my capacity of “good wife”) was compelled to point out that I thought the stick part was a little too short to look good with the gigantic copper top. Norm in his capacity of annoyed husband, and optimist, didn’t comment. He didn’t hear me repeat myself, again, and again and again either, and just forged ahead. So in the ensuing brazing work, I must admit to greatly enjoying the next couple of weeks, listening to Norm shout, followed by a few fancy dance steps, a break to apply aloe to his burn and a repeat of the routine, over and over and over. It was summer and hot and while he’s usually not macho, he does refuse to wear long pants and proper shoes. That mean’s cutoffs and sandals. Sooooooo when the molten brazing rod would spit onto his feet, the dance would begin. The real fun came when he attached the circles to the frame. He’d have to stick his head between the space on either side of the circle to braze it. That would make the dance so much more fun because when the spits hit, the reflex action to stand up would make him smack his head on the hot pole, so he’d need aloe on both ends. We went through lots of aloe plants this summer. I gave up trying to convince him the base was too short. Turns out that he knew it was too short but hated to agree with me. (His inner sense of "Foo Shoo", (Feng Shui), told him so).
were moving right along when I went off to be a Nanny in Italy for
two weeks. Norm didn’t wait for me to clear the driveway before
he snuck out to make it taller. He cut each post with a compound
mitre saw which he clamped on the post, jacked up the top and added an
18 inch splice to each of the 6 posts. It was so much taller when
I got home and I was glad I wasn’t there to wring my hands and watch his
insanity. See ......about Norm
We were liking it just fine when I though it would be nice to hang some of the glass roundels I had around the house inside the circles. Then I found some great red plates at a yard sale and the hunt was on for fun things to hang in the circles. By now it was becoming a cross between a planetarium and a bottle farm. Family that saw photos were mixed in their reaction from a polite “that’s nice” to “splendiferous”. Friends referred to it as “The Folly”, and I have decided that it is great fun, but now I need to persuade Norm to build another arbor for the wisteria, because this is one just too much fun to cover with a vine.