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

Sundog snippets: Spring is finally here!

So … spring has finally arrived in northern Ontario, but the black flies and mosquitoes have me hiding inside.  I also find that I’m not as motivated by outdoor tasks as I once was.

One thing I’d usually start doing is set up my outdoor writing spot, A.K.A. the patio, but this year, Phil and I have made the decision to rid ourselves of some potentially dangerous, though lovely, trees.

We have a stand of 6 birches that have in recent years been dropping what Phil describes as “widow-makers.”  If someone gets hit by one of those, it’s game over.  Plus, they’re older than I am and if one of them should rot and fall (which happens with old birches) they could damage either our house, or my mom’s.

Soon to be departed trees

These are the birches and poplar

They’re about 30 feet high.  The poplar (actually a large-toothed aspen) is coming down incidentally, because of its proximity to the birches and to my mom’s house.  Last year, we had to trim it back, rather it had to be trimmed back by the roofers because it overhung Mom’s roof and would have damaged the new shingles otherwise.

The poplar can be pretty

The poplar’s rather pretty in spring, with its new silvery leaves and catkins hanging down.

The work will be done on May 29th, while I’m away, but I’ll come home to a new view and that weekend, Phil and I will set up the patio.

Another sign of spring that always happens around the Victoria Day Long Weekend is the blooming of the pin cherry trees.  The blooms don’t last long, but they are glorious while they last.

Pin cherries in bloom

They herald the coming of the lilacs (in about a week).

Lilacs on the way

I have a massive bunch of rhubarb.  I need to take some in for the girls at work.  If they can help me get through some of it this year, it will be a good thing.  We always have so much more than we can use.

My massive rhubarb

And one final gift: my one perfect tulip.

My one perfect tulip

Sundog snippet