Home and garden update

So this one’s not going to be much in the way of words, but there will be a lot of pics 🙂

As of last fall, the work the city had promised to do for us when they repaved Marttila Drive was still not done.

In October, one crew came by to build our new front steps. Even though I asked for an estimate on rebuilding the side steps, too, the contractor never got back to me.

But the work was done. Ok.


No one’s going to trip on that

In December (remember we didn’t have snow until Boxing Day) another crew arrived to do the interlocking brick. They didn’t go under the front steps, though and now the side steps, our old, but very solid steps we made ourselves, overhangs the brick.

Oh well. We’ll build ourselves a new set  . . . someday.


Notice the former garden that’s now growing out from under the front steps

In February, in the middle of a snow storm, yet another crew arrived to install the railing on the retaining wall. It had already snowed quite a bit and they had to excavate the cement pylons they had to bolt the railing to.


Unfortunately, one of them was not placed properly.


Stable as hell

With regard to the garden, I planted the raised bed Phil built for me last year.


The transplanted hops vice and clematis seem to be happy.



Now if I could only get around to weeding . . . 😦

Phil has now added solar power to our gazebo.


So we can work outside, even after sunset. Summer office: accomplishment unlocked!


And that is this writer’s life.

I’ll be back in a bit with the latest Ad Astra reportage.

Sundog snippets: The shape of things to come

The gazebo is finally up.

It’s been a bit of an odyssey.

Last year, Phil thought he’d like to put a permanent gazebo up on our patio.  He set about drawing up plans and figuring things out.

This spring, rather than building the wooden gazebo with roof and shingles, Phil opted to purchase a metal gazebo.

It was supposed to be 10’ by 12’ and our patio was only about 10’ by 10’.  After we got the birches and the poplar removed in the spring, Phil determined that he would dig down and pour sono-tubes full of concrete to serve as footings for the new gazebo.

Then it rained.  Then it got super hot.  Then it rained again.  Then Phil bought Bucket.

It wasn’t until August that he got those footings poured, 10’ by 12’, on centre, levelled.  They should have been as perfect as Phil could have made them.

Then Phil opened the boxes (there were several) and located the instructions.  The first issue was the manner in which the directions suggested the gazebo be assembled: put the roof together, and have 6 people on ladders hold it up while 2 more people assemble the structure beneath it.

We both had a hoot about that.

Phil chose to put together the part of the frame that should have confirmed the proper placement of the footings.  The gazebo turned out not to be 10’ by 12’, even though every measurement in the instructions and on the boxes indicated that it was those exact dimensions.

It was 9’ 7” by 11’ 7”.

So Phil went out and got even bigger sono-tubes, excavated the ones he’d poured, stripped off the cardboard so that the new cement would adhere to what he’d already poured, and positioned the tubes so that the expanded diameters should have supported the posts.  Even then, the posts rested on the very edges of the footings.  He’d have to start over.

Phil was not a happy camper.

So more sono-tubes and more quick-crete later, and the gazebo is finally up.

Phil putting the roof on and Nu in the shade

Phil putting the roof on and Nu in the shade

It's up!

It’s up!

As I was helping Phil out yesterday (handing him roof struts and bolts), I found this lovely little heart-shaped stone.  I think that says it all.  He still loves me 🙂

The random, heart-shaped rock I found

The random, heart-shaped rock I found

I’ll show you what the finished, finished gazebo looks like next week with the curtains and the patio set.  I’ll have my outdoor office for fall.

Any reno-misadventures to share?

Sundog snippet

Caturday quickies: What’s going on in the garden?

Just a little note to give you an update on how things are going, or not, with the back yard.

The trees are gone and the hostas and ferns are beginning to recover.  Phil wanted to construct a roofed gazebo on our patio, but realized it would be fairly expensive.  Solution: a purchased gazebo.  He chose one that has a solid roof and intended to bolt it to the patio with tap-con screws.


Sadly, it’s bigger than the patio.  Solution: Phil is going to dig post-holes and sink some sono-tubes in the ground and pour proper footings for the gazebo.

Unfortunately, it’s been too hot to do a lot of work on the weekends.

So we wait.

Second problem, we had this small pond beside the patio.  It’s never been what either of us envisioned, so it came out this year.  The ground has been levelled but there are still all the stones around the edge.

This was the old pond

This was the old pond

then we dug it out

then we dug it out

now it looks like this (plus rubble)

now it looks like this (plus rubble)

Phil wants to replace them with retaining wall bricks or landscaping ties, but not until next year when he builds the deck overtop the patio and knocks down the brick retaining wall he build several years ago, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I think is a little too ambitious.

We’ll see what can be done.

In the meantime, it’s no outdoor office for Mellie.

As far as the gardens go, I’ve decided to let them grow wild.  I keep up with the weeding as I can, but I’m not moving plants from one area to another, thinning, or any other typical gardening duties.

The result is wonderfully chaotic.


itty bitty vine, HUGE flower

itty bitty vine, HUGE flower

Note how this clematis has grown up under my window (!)

Note how this clematis has grown up under my window (!)

And the Hedge Rose

And the Hedge Rose

Strawberry harvest is done.  Had about a week’s worth of berries on my morning cereal.  Perfect.

And my hedge rose has gone crazy this year!  I’m not complaining 🙂


My mom is helping a friend prepare for a move down south to be near family.  As a result, I’ve nabbed a couple of things.

A lampe Berger.


And another dolphin for the office collection.


Tomorrow: An ever so brief pupdate (the last, I hope) and another book review.  I’m thinking Blaze Ignites.

See ya then!

Caturday Quickies