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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Day 40 - Prettying Up The Place

It is day 40 of our self quarantine. We have not gone into any stores, or any public places, or been in physical contact with anyone in 40 days. We have only met three times with people, while social distancing, when buying used items from Facebook Marketplace. We are trying to spend our quarantine time doing projects around Our National Folk Farmhouse.

Yesterday while on our car ride, Steve used the phrase: "Prettying Up The Place". I like that.

So I guess that's what we are doing.

I will continue on where I left off yesterday. We drove on down to the people's home where they were selling the used blue pergola. They had already taken it out of the ground and disassembled it into three large pieces. We socially distanced as we took care of the transaction. They asked for $100, but we settled on $80. As we were loading it up on the trailer, the husband came over and offered me two of these very interesting plant hangers that had been hanging from the pergola in their original photos. (for free!) I put them into the Tracker and off we went...

We pulled up to our favorite little grocery store in Sherwood, Dick's Family Foods, and called inside to let them know we were waiting in the parking lot. They rolled out our cart of our entire large meat and grocery order and parked it by the side of our vehicle. From there, we donned our gloves and set the bags into our coolers that we had waiting on the back seat. Once we got home, we removed items one at a time with our gloves on, cautiously repackaging, re-bagging, or wiping down everything that we had purchased.

When the groceries were all put away, and we had a quick lunch, then it was time to start unloading the pergola!

We had some ideas that were a little different than the original configuration. So we kept intact the parts that we were going to keep, and we disassembled some of the other items which included the grids that had gone on each side. We are going to put them up a little differently, so disassembled would be easier for me to paint.

Out again came my handy dandy little roller and bucket of primer/paint. I got the entire roof section painted two coats as well as the supports and the crosshatch pieces.

Then it was time for us to take a little nap. It had been quite a busy day and we both needed a little rest. 

The weather had warmed up to 62 degrees, but it was very windy. We opened up some of the windows and doors on the house, and turned off the furnace. The fresh air smelled so good and it was wonderful to take a nap with the sun streaming in.

We didn't lay down long, and within an hour we were both up and at em again. I was finishing up the paint on the main supports and grids while Steve was figuring out in measuring the exact placement of the pieces.

We have both long ago learned to "measure twice / cut once". So he figured out the actual little spots he had to cut off a tiny ridge overhang of the walkway between the she shed and the garage.

While Steve was doing the layouts, I started painting all of the grid pieces that we had disassembled. It was so nice and breezy outside, and warm, that they dried quickly.

This entire structure is freestanding and independent of touching either of the buildings. The same with the walkway. It is just set on the level ground. Nothing is cemented in, or dug down into the ground or attached. Because of this being "freestanding" it could easily be chained onto and slid off to another part of the yard. By being a free-standing pergola, and not an attached breezeway or structure, it is not considered a taxable structure on the property.

Last summer, at an architectural salvage shop, we had run across these two columns that exactly match the columns out on our front porch!

Steve figured out a way to integrate the two columns into the entrance of the pergola from the front side. By concealing the support beam inside of the hollow column, we could erect the pergola and have it supported securely without relying on the hundred plus year old columns.

By notching off the bottom edge of the column, we would be able to set it on the edge of the walkway, and make it appear as if they are coming out of the ground, as well as having them offset a little bit and not intruding too far into the walkway.  Plus it leaves enough of the support post sticking out of the top without changing the design of the top of the column.

I got the job of holding the column stationary while Steve did the cutting with the saw. Why do I feel like Cher on a cannon? Lol!

Once we got all four of the support posts securely mounted to the bottom walkway, it was time to get up the crosshatch pieces. This would help stabilize all four corners and keep things square and plumb. The dogs were intently watching us from the windows of the she shed door.

The next step was to carry the whole roof configuration over from the garage. Then to get it up in the air over the posts and down into place on the cross hatches.

Steve and I carried it ourselves 
and managed to get it 
up over and into place!

It was heavy but we were able to do it. I know we are both going to be gulping Aleve and Ibuprofen tonight and taking a nice long soaking bath or a hot shower on our sore bodies.

Here Steve is checking for level and making sure everything's in place before he screws it all tight. We did it and it's starting to "Pretty Up The Place"!

By now it was time to get supper going, and we were running out of energy. So far so good. I would like to keep Go Go Going, but the energy level is slowing down. Now I see as I near the age of 60 this year, that the energy level depletes more quickly. I remember people saying "I'm not as young as I used to be"... I think that's true?

The next step will be to reconfigure the side grids. They will go between the columns and the buildings on either side leaving an open walkway in the middle. These are the grid pieces, all painted and ready to be assembled.

(scribble drawing with my finger on my phone)

On the two back sections facing the back yard, I am going to put 2 pieces of painted red lattice panels that we have left over from a different project. They will kind of match and blend in with what we have underneath the front porch. They will be a backdrop kinda for the more open white front grids. I hope it all ties together and looks compatible with the rest of the house.  

I am growing multiple pots of ivy in the house --- and I am thinking about planting it in 2 white cement planter pots in front of the pergola entrance. Maybe some more ivy behind hanging from the pergola. We can let the ivy wind its way around the lattice and grids each year, but cut it free in the fall. It is not the type of ivy that can withstand the winter temperatures anyhow. I would really love to do a combination of white and red clematis plants to grow all over the whole thing and come back year after year. They are expensive and hard to get established though. Planting won't be until late May or early June. I have a lot of time to decide.

First, we need to finish up the grid spacing and get them screwed into place this morning.

That is today's project... As soon as I finish up this blog post and my coffee, I will head out there and measure up and figure the spacing for the grids. Steve will build the framework for it and we will be doing more "Prettying Up The Place".

Stay In.
Stay Safe. 
Stay Well.


  1. The two of you are amazing! The pergola will be absolutely gorgeous when it's complete. I love the idea of red and white clematis (it's a Canadian thing) but I would understand ivy instead. I've had luck in other houses with grape ivy...it is hardy here in zone 3. Hope you're not hurting too badly today. :)

  2. your pergola is very clever. You are certainly "prettying up the place"


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