And then there is the copper garden.
The copper garden began innocently enough. My husband and I were shopping several summers ago at one of the local garden shops. There on display were several lovely copper hanging ornaments. We picked out one, brought it home, and hung it off our green ash tree, right next to our house. Then we saw another one and bought it. It too was hung off the green ash tree.
Over the last several years, we have bought almost 20 copper ornaments, all of which hang from the same tree. Since they are either wind chimes, or wind twirlers, they give the patio area a touch of enchantment.
One of the items has its own special history. My husband bought this canteen of hammered brass with copper accents in Morocco. As we walked through the alleys of Tangier, we were pursued, even hounded, by street vendors. One kept thrusting this canteen in front of my husband, who kept refusing to buy it. Finally, as we neared our destination, my husband named his price. When the vendor began to protest, my husband started to walk away. (Perhaps it may help you to know that my husband works for the state teachers' union, and has participated in many negotiation sessions. One of the keys to successful negotiating is the ability to walk away.) As soon as he walked away, the vendor relented and accepted his price.
Deal done! Well, not quite. We sailed back to Spain, and when we went to leave the airport at Madrid, we went through the usual security, with the canteen in my husband's carry-on luggage. Into the x-ray machine went the carry-on bag. And then it stopped. The security personnel inspected it carefully, then moved it through, then backed it up. The security staff called someone else over, who peered at the image. Then they called a superior. He looked at it, pulled it out as it came out of the machine, and proceeded to examine it. We could see the image on the screen--and there in the middle of the canteen was a square object. The security officer proceeded to question us--where did we get this, what was it, what was inside it. Well, my husband told him we bought it in Morocco, and had no idea what was inside, but he offered to open it. Once the canteen was opened, the officer turned it upside down. Finally, my husband said--it doesn't matter that much to us; we can leave it here. That did the trick and the officer let it go through.
Yesterday, I took down the copper garden. All the items are now boxed, and in storage for winter. Next spring, we will get them out, hang them up again and watch them sway in the wind, and listen to the gentle chimes.