Category Archives: home improvements

With a Little Help – – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post makes it on time again – –

Per Ardua Ad Astra (through struggle to the stars)

It may seem strange to be constructing a covered pergola on our back deck when we’re still in lock-down and there’s no end in sight. One reason is that we already had planned to do this and another is that we have the time right now. Finally, it encourages us to look forward to entertaining friends once things eventually settle down.

Many friends make light work

One advantage of the current situation is that most stores are doing home deliveries just now, so I’m very glad that the very heavy large and awkward box was carried by the driver and his helper right to where it was needed.

We got an Allen and Roth 12′ x 10′ gazebo from Lowes – it is well designed and sturdy. The instructions are mostly clear and where they aren’t it’s not hard to work out what to do. I would recommend this if you’re looking for something similar. It took us three days of leisurely work – maybe 8 hours total and needs at least 3 people.

It was delivered last Friday and I began the assembling of the various sections of frame on Saturday. Then on Sunday four neighbors and myself bolted together all those sections including the roof frame. After a break on Monday when I screwed the four corner posts to the deck and made sure all the bolts were tight, some of the friends returned Tuesday and we got the roof fabric and side curtains on.

The most enjoyable part of the whole exercise for me was how friends we’ve made since moving here were so willing to set aside their own priorities to come and help. Not just muscle power but strategizing and instruction interpretation as well!

Et Voila!

With our three tables and chairs there’s room to accommodate a group of six folk while socially distancing, so it may not be so long before we can share our new space

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Filed under between books, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

In a VA Country Garden – –

Jack misses by a day – or as his economics professor would say ‘reverts to the mean’ – –

I have always disliked gardening. I used to think it was a hellish Calvinist punishment for past or future sins. That was probably mainly because I lived in west Fife for the first sixty years of my life where the ground is solid clay and only good for weeds. But when Wendy and I married we moved to east Fife where the soil is completely different, fertile and easily worked. So in our very small back yard we successfully grew vegetables for the first time. It was still hard work but at least with results!

When we moved here last year we found we’d inherited a vegetable garden that only appeared to have some rhubarb and raspberries in it. But we did notice that the previous owners had carefully planted lots of different flowers around the place very thoughtfully and they matured at different times through the year.

That should have hinted at something – –

With the uncertainty of the Covid 19 situation and the resultant notion of trying to be a bit more self-sufficient, we set up tanks around the house to capture rainwater and then turned our attention to the vegetable garden.

When we started preparing the ground we discovered a layer of black garden cloth everywhere so we pulled it all up and threw it away. Only later did we discover why it was there. Our yard has a number of big mature black walnut trees and they send out fine tendrils from their roots that are death to a number of vegetables. Despite that we were able to grow onions, peas, asparagus and a few other things. We also have a fresh crop of rhubarb and raspberries. Our tomatoes are either in grow-bags or as far away from the walnut trees as possible.

The other big job was converting our wee shed into a chicken coop for Thelma and Louise and that was another heavy bit of work.

So we are slowly learning what works and what doesn’t – next time the peas need to be staked better, the potatoes need to be in isolated raised beds and more of the tomatoes need to be in grow-bags.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch