Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pergola canopy!

We've been wanting a permanent solution for a sun screen on our pergola for years now. In the meantime, we've made due with some cotton fabric, weaving it thru the boards, but it always comes undone in the wind and it's not flexible in terms of moving it as the sun moves, much less easy to put up or take down. I wanted a system that was all 3 - adjustable, easy to set up, easy to take down.

I'd scoured Pinterest for ages, never finding quite what I wanted. Most were permanent installations, which doesn't work when you can have storms with 70mph gusts as a routine part of your spring/summer (much less tornadoes). So I decided to make one myself based on my own designs. 

I went and bought a ton of fabric in a color and pattern we all (including the kids) agreed upon. Two 3 yard stretches that I then sewed together so that the pattern matched up.
It's a lot of fabric and I don't have a designated crafting area in the house. I use my dining room for sewing. But it turned out pretty good, I think. At one end, for about a foot or two the pattern gets a little bit off. But it's one of those things I think only I'd notice.

So then I went out and bought the supplies I thought we'd need. Basically my thinking was we'd put the screw eye in on each side, create a loop on each end of the cable using the ferrule and stop, then attaching the cable to the eye with carabiners.  
Originally I'd planned to just attach the fabric using ring clip hooks. Those, however, proved too flimsy to hold up to the wind - the fabric was bunching up and pulling out. And it didn't let us pull the fabric taut at all. Additionally, once the fabric was attached to the cable, we ended up with a large sag on the cable length due to the weight. So the fabric came down for the night and we planned Version 2. It had been a long day of 90ยบ heat and we were all hot, hungry and tired.

The next morning I sewed in two 2" pockets to run the cable thru. We also had ended up purchasing two turnbuckles to better control the tautness of the cable. The end result?
Not bad. Not bad at all. A view much improved.
Here's a closeup view of how it's connected. You can see the setup on one end with the screw eye, turnbuckle, carabiner and cable. 
And the carabiner attached to the cable and eye on the other. This allows a flexibility to remove the canopy within seconds should the weather require it.
I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out. Yesterday was a pretty breezy day, but the fabric stayed put all day long, just gently blowing in the wind. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Randoms from the weekend

H finally made me my folding trellis! The peas are happy now.
Hopefully the kale and collards appreciate the slight shade they'll be getting.
Also, I finally got around to picking out fabric for our new deck canopy. I had to get 2 lengths of 9 feet and sew it together. I think it turned out pretty good. The pattern gets a little mismatched towards one end, but otherwise is spot on. Now I have to hem it and find a cable attachment system. I'm thinking something like the Ikea Dignitet system, though I'm not sure the hook will work holding the canopy parallel to the ground.
New rose bush is flowering! So pretty!
Finally, last night we got blasted by an early summer storm. You can see the leading edge here. It went from no rain, mild wind, to 70mph gusts as that hit.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

West bed - spring 2016

This is my absolute favorite spot in the garden right now. The roses smell heavenly.
I added some chicken wire fencing around this area because the dogs kept trampling it. Things are doing much better since then.
Salvia in drifts.
Salvia, BES, coneflower and spirea. Everything is doing so well this year.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Veggie Garden 2016

Things are up and some radishes harvested. Here's a view of our beds. This is the "Three Sisters" bed of corn, pumpkins and pole beans.
Carrots are coming along nicely.
Peas are badly in need of a trellis.
Spinach is doing well. New radish seedlings have popped up.
6 year old bean seeds had a moderate germination rate. I've planted some more to see if I can make up the gaps.
I may have gone a little crazy with the cucumbers. That's 4 hills there.
Summer squash and one tiny zucchini plant (also old seeds).
Nightshade bed - onions, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.
More bed overviews.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1st walkabout

Some photos from around the yard.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Redoing the garage bed. Again. Part 2

Happy mother's day to me! Today we worked on finishing up the garage bed. 

Since my ankle was still sore and stiff, H went and rototilled out all the old vegetation. It already looks a million times better.
Then we went to our local garden center to get the plants.

After lunch, H ran to the hardware store to get more leveling sand and I got to work putting the plants in, leveling the spot for the rain barrel, and mulching the bed.

A couple hours later and voila:

Items planted: 3 daylilies "White Temptation", 3 boxwood "Green Velvet", 3 siberian irises "Kaboom" and "Caesar's Brother", 3 Shasta Daisies "Real Charmer", 2 raspberry bushes "Heritage", and 2 blueberry bushes "Patriot" and "Peach Sorbet".

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Redoing the garage bed. Again

The awesome thing about gardening is you can just Etch-a-Sketch erase things when you want. This photo may look familiar, as we'd redone the bed back in 2009 after Eric dug up all the hollyhocks (still hasn't lived that down).

Well, for better or worse, the bed needed to be re-done again. We wanted to expand the landing and then re-create the outline to what was drawn up on the backyard plan. So up came all the bricks.
The above was where we left things before heading off to G's soccer game. When we came back, I went to go look at the naked stoop and found this.


Some digging out and here's the rotted board.
 Crap.

So H was sent to the hardware store to buy a new footer to support the garage door step and then G and I installed it, adding gravel beneath it so that it wasn't touching raw dirt.

While waiting for H to get back, I edged out the new bed line and dug up the sod.

Once H was back I went about tamping down the gravel, added a couple layers of weed block, and then put down sand and then the bricks. Unfortunately we ran out of sand, so we couldn't completely finish it up.

Additionally, I managed to injure my ankle while using the manual edger. So it was time to put my feet up anyway, literally and figuratively.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My new tulips!

I purchased a large bag last fall and planted a few just to see how they look. Yay!

Friday, April 8, 2016

April in WI

My daffodils are pissed.

Monday, December 14, 2015

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