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Pergola

Nomad no more

I think I’ve finally found a cozy little corner in Mainland. I had to keep looking, almost everyday, for months, till I found this plot last weekend… by accident. You know that the SL map only updates once per day, so any changes taking place after 7:30 a.m. SLT (more or less) won’t show up until next morrow. That makes the SL map an unreliable tool to find parcels for sale. Yet it kind of became a hobby for me for the last ten months (yep, ten months).

So last Sunday, after buying Botanical’s new umbrella tree –that I’ll show you in a short while– I TPed to my beachy plot (the one with Llorisen’s cabana) to see if the tree could fit in the current mood. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like the way the poor thing looked in that dry and sandy land, so fearing it might die of dehydration if I planted it there, I opened up the map to check if by chance there was a small and greener inland plot for sale that I could use for occasional gardening tests like this. Several minutes in the search, I saw a 512 sq.m. plot somewhere in the northern lands with a tempting price. I TPed there… just to find it wasn’t as attractive as it seemed from a 2D preview, but then, next to it and just waiting for me, lay this glamorous slopy lot that was simply perfect for my new assignment.

Umbrella tree

I didn’t give it a second thought (well, I did, but don’t tell anyone) and clicked on Buy Land. Then I said to myself: “Let’s get down to work.” So after a couple of long laborious days, I can now properly present to you Botanical’s new Umbrella tree. Due to the nature of this RL tree, I never thought someone could upload a sterling digital counterpart to SL, but I’m super glad Kriss Lehmann proved me wrong, woot! This schefflera is a tropical native from Oceania, but it took a trip sometime ago and now is found in so many places that I would have never guessed its origin if I didn’t look it up in Wikipedia.

The house is Scarlet Creative’s Mountain Lodge from last March’s Arcade, and the Maritime pine tree (in the background) is also a relatively recent release from 3D Trees I haven’t had the chance to use before. The same goes for the Beech forest groves in the first picture.

Mountain Lodge from behind

Here is another shot of the Mountain Lodge, as seeing from the nonexistent backyard (there’s a hillside in its stead). The previous plot owner was also using this house, and I thought it looked perfect, so that’s why I went for it too. To the left of the house, there’s another 3D Trees release: an Apple tree.

Apple Tree

And you know what? That apple tree is available for free! It’s a gift from Nadine Reverie. I don’t think any other gardener is so kind to his and her customers as Ms. Reverie: jste nejlepší (I hope that means “you’re the best” in Czech). So head to her inworld store, get this fruitful tree and don’t forget to send her your most sincere thank you.

Promontory

As is obvious, the house sits on a rocky promontory made of Fanatik’s Rocks & Cliffs Wales set, with a twist: the basic textures are good enough, but I thought that Studio Skye texture looked simply superb. That’s why I added that small waterfall (from Studio Skye’s Waterfall building set) too.

Happy bushes

At the base of the cliffs, a small grove of Happy Mood’s yellow-green Shrubs add their shades to the mossy rock. The Dirt Road that leads the way to the house (review the first picture in this post) is another release from this creator.

Ox Eye Daisies

The last veggie release in this installment is the Ox Eye Daisy set from Heart Garden Centre. Large bushes are a little bit “primy” at 5 LI per clump, but hell they look so great! Just use with caution if your land capacity is not that generous.

Gazebo

Lastly, I couldn’t resist using Atelier Visconti’s Adria gazebo in the garden area, next to the waterfall. Considering that I was already running out of prims, the only decoration I could add were lame’s Kenway Sectional set, Culprit’s Seagrass rug, and Floorplan’s Captain’s desk lantern. 

Rest

With a few more prims I could have put out more stuff, but well… At least now I can take a rest from nomad life, at last!

Cube's Cave

Deep underground

Some people make good use of SL ground level –the rest do not. A lot of people abuse the skies –some do better. Merpeople are  beginning to reclaim the depths of SL seas –where sailors find themselves occasionally after a sim crash or any other happening– but there’s very few that dig underground. And the “why” may have a reason: though it’s quite easy to lower the terrain level to a minimum, only on rare occasions the results are interesting.

First of all, it’s not possible to make a natural-looking tunnel in SL. Instead, you can go for a narrow channel or a trench and then cover the top with an object, as the need asks for. But then, the walls may not be that convincing, unless the ground texture matches that of a seeming cave, or again use another object to compensate for the lack of nature’s way. Another option could be to use one of the few cave kits like the one recently introduced by Cube Republic of Ossahna Gardens. You can see some examples of his demo in the pictures below, or visit the store (a must) to take a closer and better look.

EntrancewayFloraCrystalsBridgeQuick exit

This is not the only cave building set out in the market of course, but you have to visit it and hear for yourself the –almost– fairy-like atmosphere achieved by the also included sound emitters, among other extras. Its walls have a slippery appeal, contrary to Fanatik’s set (the next pictures), which are more rocky and somewhat dry. This other one also has a more natural sound set (though frankly I don’t know if it’s included in the same package).

Fanatik entranceInside formationsStalactites and stalagmitesDoorMore rock formationsQuick escape 2

I’m not a speleologist, so I can’t tell you what type of cave each one is, but I bet you’ve never seen so fabulous doors protecting a SL cave before. This is from Cube Republic. First, they are closed, then they are opened.

Cube Republic Vine Door, closedCube Republic's Vine door, opened

Isn’t it meshxy?

Fanatik’s set has several addons with PG and Adult poses, among other things,  that will add extra functionality to certain special chambers. Take a look at this adult-enable cave pond, available separately.

Pond

If you want to make full use of SL multiple layers, don’t forget to experiment with any of these two cavern building sets. To visit Ossanha Gardens, click here; for Fanatik, click this way. Pictures were taken in the respective inworld stores.

Transition

Transition

Five months are long enough for autumn, but it’s still early for full spring (winter was up in a skybox if you’ve been wondering), so I set my plot in transition, to a time (or stage) before the flowers start to bloom. In RL you can’t stop your favorite season from passing by, but that’s one of the best advantages of virtual realms like SL, where there are no rules to taint your desires, even in places as Bay City, where there’s so little (if anything) to control in a rented parcel like mine. Yet, that’s part of the “challenge” at least as I see it, because it can’t be otherwise.

Before spring

You’re probably tired of seeing the same old abode by now, and I can’t blame you for that, but hey, you don’t change your home every month in RL, do you? That’s why gardens are more appealing to me because they’re easier to fine-tune in both worlds as seasons swap places invariably. You don’t have to pack or unpack, there’s no stress involved. You just trim that shrub that’s gone wild, or replace a fading bush, as simple (and as gratifying) as that. A little change could bring in a different shadow or ray of light, and renew the old panorama. So that’s what I’ve done this time: nothing too remarkable at that. For now, the only visible flowers are the cyclamen of red and pink upswept petals scattered in small clumps around the little pond. Come spring though, that spot in front of the house that looks mostly unkept at present will transform into something else; exactly what, I have no idea yet. But yes, what you see right now is a transitional phase, with a still un-blossomed cherry tree from Organica occupying the center stage. That particular sakura will turn pink in a short while, you’ll see, and then the rest of the garden will change again. Other new items:

Garden before spring

The whole place looks different in the (somewhat) soft morning light, n’est-ce pas? Too bad my photography skills are not so well-developed. I should be doing better after five years of taking shots and blogging, but I’m always on the run, and hence short of time to be more thorough. My bad.

Different

The reason behind why I keep retouching my surroundings so frequently, even to change a trivial shrub, a petty pebble or a more obvious rock, is because that’s the only activity capable of stopping the march of boredom from gaining momentum. The day that beast overcomes my daily SL, that will be the time to pack my suitcase and drive my red voiture into the setting sun.