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

Sundog snippets: Inside and out

Just a quick little note to let you know that I have a new piece of furniture courtesy of my friend Kim, who’s just moved houses.

FileCabinet1This lovely file cabinet used to hold her father’s papers.

I have two metal filing cabinets in the basement, a fire-proof box, and a safety deposit box at the bank that hold all our important stuff, but I just couldn’t resist the cabinet when Kim said she wanted to sell it.

Phil and I rented a pick up truck to move it (it wouldn’t fit in our car, or my mom’s hatchback) and I spent some time yesterday afternoon polishing her up and reinserting the drawers (which we’d removed for transport).filecabinet2

This lovely’s new home is in our living room.  Sadly, there’s no room in my office for it because I have a honking desk 🙂  I’m calling her Sally, and she’ll house our DVDs, Phil’s games, and other miscellaneous stuff we’ve kept in baskets and other hidey-holes over the years.

I rearranged some of the living room furniture to make room, and Phil and I discussed last night that we’d like to get some new furniture and use Sally as the thematic piece.  We have a small house and we were going to wait until we renovated the living room to get new furniture, but the hand-me-downs we have are worn and due for replacement.

So we’re going to look into that in the fall and probably touch up the paint on the walls at the same time, pending the full reno.  For the latter, we take everything down to the studs, rewire, re-insulate, and make sure everything is safe and code-worthy.  It will probably be a while before either of us is ready to tackle that project, though.

Outside, my experiment in chaos gardening is coming along well.  The lychnis (the fuschia flowers that complement the one young clematis along the wall) and rudbeckia (black-eyed susans) have joined the party.

chaostheorycontchaostheorycont2On the other side of the garden my bergamot (bee balm) is putting forth its spidery blooms 🙂  Bergamot is one of my favourite smells.  The roses are starting to fade, and are also putting forth a lovely scent.  I have a whack of hyssop in the garden (not blooming yet) as well.  I love smelly plants!

Next up: a brief update on the writing life, and a review of Lara Schiffbauer’s Finding Meara!

Sundog snippet