Pergola Proud

Every day I have good intentions of putting together a blog post. It actually takes way more mental energy than one might think, and I’m low on that lately. We still have a lot of rough family stuff to deal with, though I’m REALLY hoping we are on the other side of most of it now. The girls are good, which helps. We’ve crossed a few things off the huge to-do list, which helps. I’m cooking/baking some yummy stuff again, which helps. Fargo keeps us busy, which helps.

I realized, as we ate lunch in our new and beautiful outdoor space yesterday, that I never wrote the “we finished the pergola” post. Although it took longer than anticipated, and due to The Lost Summer we haven’t been able to use it as much as we anticipated, it is done and it is wonderful. Neither of us can believe how it has changed the patio space into so much more than it was.

You can go back and see the earlier stages of the project here: Pergola I and Pergola II. We had gotten as far as putting enough of the structure together that it was time to fasten it to the concrete. Unfortunately, that process was more intense than we had anticipated. Between needing (very good) friends and relatives to lift the sucker into place, to chalking out where it would sit, to moving it away again, and then moving it back once the rubber footers were fastened, all proved challenging. The fastening was a hurdle as well, since the lag bolts kept breaking off and we had to get new ones. Finally, the fastening was done.

And the structure was attached.

This particular pergola has a high table on one side and a bench seat on the other. Next step was the table.

Fargo supervised, as per usual.

At that point, we decided not to use the bench seat. After spending some time walking around the patio and assessing the things, it seemed like it would close in the space too much. I am very happy with our decision.

We found some high stools to go with the high table. We mixed and matched some end of the season outdoor furniture. We attached a shade above the high table that can pull down to the ground (if necessary) and block the setting sun. The shade makes the space usable, as the hot late afternoon sun was one of our main problems.

It’s pretty fantastic!

We are hoping to use the heck out of it starting next Spring. I enjoyed working with hubby on this project and I’m hoping we can do more empty nest building of stuff together.

Wood Furnace Workout

Our house is fun in that it has two furnaces. There is an oil furnace, and there is a wood/coal furnace. For the first few years, we only used the oil furnace. Then the cost of oil went so high that we decided to switch over to using wood once a long stretch of colder weather was in the forecast. When I say “we,” I really mean hubby, because he has done 99.9% of the wood furnace work.

I gained a greater appreciation a few weeks ago, when he was out of commission and I took over the wood furnace responsibilities. I have helped out here and there by loading wood mid day, and by helping with the wood pile a bit in the Fall, but that’s it. You may remember the pictures I shared a few months ago.

wood stacking art

wood piles

The first thing is, if we are using the wood furnace, it is COLD out. The (large/heavy) pieces of wood need to go from the wood shed in the pic right above, to the bottom of the outdoor stairwell.

outside stairwell

Let me tell you, it’s a workout to carry all those pieces of wood down the steps. I was moving 30 ish pieces every day and a half and most of the time, I carried one piece of wood at a time because I didn’t want to fall.

Fargo supervised and watched to make sure I was doing okay.

fargo stairwell

And he was very helpful by moving some sticks.

fargo stick time

Once the wood is (not so) neatly stacked at the bottom of the steps, it’s wasn’t over. Every 6-8 hours, I needed to bring 6-7 (big/heavy) “sticks” of wood inside, one at a time to put into the furnace.

wood furnace

Then, there is a whole process of how to open the door so that smoke doesn’t set off the alarms (still sorry girls, mom, dad and hubby about that happening at 2:30am), letting the wood burn hot, then shutting down the vents, etc.

I honestly could have just shut it down and reverted to oil, but the difference in how cozy warm the house feels with the wood furnace heat vs the oil furnace heat is really pretty amazing. The floors are even warm. Thankfully, by the time the next cold snap comes through, hubby should be able to at least help, even if he can’t do it all on his own. I’ll happily help and be grateful that I’m not doing it all on my own.

Side note: I ran outside this morning. The first time in way too long. One of my young, energetic co-worker friends was nice enough to plod along with me for 3.4. It was a good one.


Before and After

Thought it would be fun to look at before and after pictures of the bathroom.


girls' bathroom

And after:

bathroom after

We again veered from our comfort zone with the shower curtain. It is less vibrant than it looked in the picture, which is perfect. It picks up the brick tones in the floor and just gives the bathroom some nice character. Love how it turned out and can’t wait for the girls to see it in person vs pictures.

Fargo agrees:

fargo bathroom

Though we may be ready to start on the garden fence project this weekend, Mother Nature is laughing at us. We are looking at rain/snow and 50 mph wind gusts today into tomorrow.


The spring after we moved into our house, we focused on the garden. There were a few areas that looked to be garden like, with raspberries in the middle. Our home is in a highly trafficked deer area, not to mention groundhogs, bunnies, etc., and we knew a fence would be necessary.

Hubby built an entire fence that spring and we were able to get a few veggies started as well. This picture (from a previous post) shows the fence, our amazing garden as it has been the last 10 years, as well as the blueberry structure he built a few years ago.

tim garden

It was a beautiful fence, but it’s been disintegrating over the last few years and it is time to replace it. We are planning a smaller garden this year so that there is more time to get outdoor projects done, and this is one of them.

Yesterday was an amazingly beautiful day for early March so I took advantage of the weather and, as they say on Fixer Upper, it was “demo day.” I started fence demo by removing the screws I could, some would not budge for me and I didn’t want to strip any. Rarely could I get all four in a section. Hubby was able to come through and deal with the rest to remove sections.

Fence removal

Fargo supervised…

Fence removal fargo

Almost an entire side is gone. It’s supposed to rain today, maybe it will be “demo day” inside and the bathroom project will get started.

There were a lot of projects that went on while the kids were growing up (hubby has a never ending “to do” list), but often I wasn’t as involved as I am now. Having an empty nest gives me time to think up lots of new project ideas. We have been totally enjoying episodes of Fixer Upper together, which makes me a little dangerous because, I end up with too many ideas for this house. Hubby (mostly) patiently listens to my ideas, and then continues on with what he is doing.