A Gargoyle and A Whiskey Barrel ...

About fifteen years ago when I was an assistant to a realtor in Austin, she and I visited a European style home in the Bee Cave area of town.  At the front gate of the home was a wine barrel with a cement laughing gnome coming out of the top of it.  I laughed and laughed, then stalked the house for years to come!  The owner's purchased the gnome in Europe and had it shipped to Austin.  He has his hands clasped in front of his chest, his mouth wide open, his eyes squinted in a full, hearty laugh. He looks a bit mischievous, as though he was up to something. The front gate greeter stole my heart.  

Do you see him? He is just to the right of the courtyard gate.  Photo credit; Google Maps. 

Fast forward fifteen years to today, we live in Corsicana Texas in an English style cottage.  Before we made our deal on our cottage, I knew this was the house for a barrel and gnome.  For the six months we've lived here, I've been searching for a laughing gnome.   Unfortunately, the laughing, mischievous gnome was illusive. 

I happened upon a website Design Toscano, where I found Gargoyles. Honestly, gargoyles were not what I was thinking. Gargoyles are those scary stone creatures who adorn buildings, while serving the practical purpose of diverting water flow from the rooftop.  Design Toscano has many different types of Gargoyles. As I wandered page to page looking, I spied Gnash, who made me giggle. Though a bit garish, Gnash brought that same giggle I had when I first met the gnome years ago in Austin.  

Gnash, photo credit Design Toscano 
While Gnash is a wall mount gargoyle, I thought that he might work on a barrel.  I ordered him. He arrived quickly, and was perfect!  Next the search for a barrel.  Who knew everyone was using barrels?  Not me. I was na├»ve. I've learned a lot in the past three months trying to find a barrel; Micro Breweries use the "used" barrels from whiskey distilleries.  The whiskey distilleries only use their barrels one time, then sell them.  We've all seen the trend of more casual weddings, the barn style wedding - barrels everywhere. Barrels can cost between $100. - $200. each, depending on size, construction, condition. I've noticed barrels lately used on patios as tables, upcycled into chairs, even powder room sinks! 

I began my search for a barrel at distilleries, wineries and micro breweries.  Couldn't find one single barrel.  Searched online, shipping was costly.  Searched Craig's List and found barrels for sell but sadly those I reached out to had just sold their last barrel.   I began to see barrels everywhere we went, literally...

                                                        … even orange and white barrels.

Perseverance resulted in a lovely oak 53 gallon whiskey barrel.  All natural with a beautiful patina.   I stained the top with Minwax Dark Walnut, then coated the barrel with two coats of sealant.  We created a garden to the right of the entrance gate to showcase the barrel. 

We moved some of the gold Daylily from around the yard, then added Geranium, Blue Daze and Salvia.  Gnash now greets guest in a mischievous manner, by sticking his tongue out.  I'm hopeful this unusual greeter will bring at least a grin to visitors. 

Another project completed, a barrel dwelling Gargoyle to greet guest. A bit of English style whimsey in the garden. We'll keep digging. 

Until next time, wishing you all the best!   


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