Friday, March 9, 2012

Changing plans~

Strong winds. Lots of bugs. Dappled sunlight. Heavy vehicle traffic in the surrounding fields and roads (i.e. a sod roller that shakes us like I imagine a small earthquake would do) . And a paving stone patio that refused to work well with others (partly due to chickens that love to peck near it) and dirt that refused to support sod no matter how hard we tried. All of these contributed to our overcoming an aversion to a concrete patio and path from the backdoor to the Gazebo. It all went in yesterday.

Over the past 8 years, we learned that bugs are so heavy for 4 - 6 months each year that we are "housebound" for way too many days. We wear bounce sheets tucked in our collars to do yard and garden chores during those months. Sitting on the front porch is a rare thing because either you are being blown so much you don't have to do a thing to rock in the chair (!) or you are being bugged beyond tolerance.

We can tolerate the bounce sheets and the winds; what we find we can no longer live with is being housebound for so many months of each year. The plan was simply to lay concrete inside the frame of the gazebo and roof and screen it. Until it wasn't. The more we talked about it, the more we convinced ourselves that putting in a patio was the right move. Having to reset pavers each year was getting old. The area between the house and gazebo is shielded from the winds most of the time, but keeping grass there was nigh on impossible due to high traffic. And so, last years project of completing the gazebo was put off until this year.....

We placed permanent "holes" on all sides of the patio and walkway so that Tiki Torches will stand firm in the winds and being buffeted by playing dogs and protected from the pecking of the chickens.

And there are fire bricks in the spot where we will build a small fire "pit" for those evenings when there is a chill in the air.

Now comes the job of making that stretch of concrete "fit". This means lots of container planting. We found 2 pairs of concrete planters that will be filled with something in the "heirloom" realm; I've dug out my "Restoring American Garden's" book and been making a plan. The kitchen garden (the brick one just outside the back door and along the foundation) has been planted with Rosemary and Marigolds (they help a little to keep bugs away).

The idea is that folks won't notice the concrete because of the plants that cover it and the pretty torches that line it. I hope that the seating areas draw folks in and make them want to sit and enjoy the view while sipping ice tea or an ice cold beer in the summer and Irish Creme laced hot chocolate in the winter near a small and cozy fire. I know that that is what I''ll be doing!

And if the torches aren't working well enough to keep away the bugs, we'll be able to move into the screened gazebo and sit in cozy chaise lounges or melt away the stress of the day in the hot tub!

There is a lot of work ahead for us....but I am ready!

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