Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What's Next? Part 18: Gazebo

Here it is, May 9 already and I'm far behind on posting about what's been happening here.  I find it hard to believe Mom has been gone for over a month already.  Going up to check on her house has been difficult for me lately; seeing her painting station empty when I walk into the kitchen hits me hard every time.  So many memories.  On Sunday I went up to fetch the tractor from her machine shed and when I rode by her kitchen window on the 574, I automatically waved.  Of course, Mom was not there to return my greeting; old habits die hard. 

However, Mom would not want me to wallow in grief, I know this.  So we must move forward the best we know how.  The thank you cards have been written, I finally finished up with them last week.  I have had several meetings with lawyers and bank personnel, and I've been knee deep in estate settling issues.  Sometimes I feel like the kids in the Charlie Brown cartoons when the adults are talking, it all starts to sound like, "Blah, blah, blah...." so from now on, Carl will be coming along with me so we can absorb what is being said.  This will all take some time to deal with.

 Being spring, there isn't much time to think about anything right now, the garden is taking over and making me run in circles like always.   Our first garden walk is mere weeks away and we have to get a move on!  The spring flowers are lasting much longer than usual this year since we've had cold weather.

'Golden Shadows' dogwood

Dutchman's Breetches

Rewinding our past history here at the garden, we have to fix the backyard somehow.  Remember the septic installation?  I sure do, it's a sore point every time I look out the window.

The backyard.  Look at the lonely tulip.
 Now that we have a blank slate in the backyard, we decided to do some major remodeling as long as everything is torn up.  The gazebo was the first order of business. 

But first, another trip down Memory Lane:  When I was a kid, my favorite place to sit on the farm was on top of the feed room roof between the two forty-foot tall silos.  I was up about ten feet off the ground and the breeze between the silos kept the mosquitoes at bay.  At night after chores, it was heavenly sitting up there, watching the cows go out to pasture and seeing the stars come out.

I never did take a picture of the concrete slab between the two silos, but here is a picture of the barn before it was destroyed by a tornado in 1981.   If the ladder wasn't available, I would often climb over the milk house roof (the little white building) to get to my perch.  Those were the days...I missed having my aerial getaway.

We built the gazebo in 1982 when we were 24 years old.  We didn't know much about building anything; ok, scratch that; I didn't know much about building anything---Carl had the knowledge I sorely lacked.  We both loved the idea of a gazebo being a sheltered area to view the garden.  There I am, below, hoisting a can of Orange Crush.    (Or is it Mountain Dew?  I never was a beer drinker.)  The cornfield behind me is now the Quarry Garden.

However, most gazebos are at ground level or only slightly raised.  Carl wanted to recreate my silo perch for me and also thought it would be interesting to have our gazebo up in the air so we could have a view of the gardens.  As if building the gazebo itself wasn't hard enough, Carl added a small observation deck (the part I'm sitting on in the photo) and a hinged top roof so we could take photos from the peak.
Who wouldn't want to enjoy the view of this garden?! 

At the time, our 'garden' consisted of a circle of white marble stone chips around the septic tank vent, but hey, we were young.  (The shingles are shading the spruce tree seedlings.)  This area now is the Quarry pond, but you have to give me an 'E' for Effort, ok?  The four circles held tea roses (not one remains in my garden today) and you have to love the tulips surrounding the pipe sticking out of the ground.  Very classy.

Yes, we had a lot of work to do.  Looking back, we never knew what we were in for.

The picture above was taken eight years later in 1990.  Carl, age 32 and Joel, age 4 are tilling the trees which are now behind the Quarry.  The pile of rocks in the background is the Formal Garden now.

But anyway, moving forward; the gazebo gradually blended into its surroundings.  

 This was taken in 2005, by then we had a little more gardening know-how.

Still, we were never very happy with the gazebo on 'stilts'.  We'd added the small deck and a staircase in 1988 but rarely used the structure.  I would go up there in the summer when it rained to take in the glorious sight and smells of a good, soaking rainfall, but truth be told, the gazebo never was the old concrete silo perch of my youth.  

As time went on, the gazebo was growing older and a bit wobbly.   We were having doubts about the pressure-treated posts buried four feet in the ground as they were starting to rot.  We had a wedding party come for pictures a few years ago and when it rained, the entire group crammed themselves into the gazebo.  Carl and I stood in the rain observing the young people jostling around and I muttered under my breath, "Oh, no.  We're gonna get sued."  Luckily, the gazebo held up.  But the seeds of its impending demise were already planted.  We had to do something about the gazebo.

Fast forward to November 2016 and the septic tank replacment:

 Yes, it is now time for a change.  

Carl and I stood around last fall and kicked the clods of dirt around.  

"I wonder how the backyard would look if we moved the gazebo?" I said.

"Move the gazebo?  I don't know how that would work," Carl said.

"The posts are rotting and the thing is kind of dangerous.  Besides, when's the last time you sat up there?    If the gazebo was removed, we could put the big circus tent up for the booyah parties in its place.  And in the meantime, in keeping with your wish to downsize the garden 50% (I knew I'd get his attention then) we could simply plant lawn where the gazebo was."

I think I had him at downsize.  

More to come...... 



Ellie's friend from canada said...

Thanks for sharing the lovely flower photos. There is one positive about a cool spring and that is the mosquitoes may be delayed! I was a bit teary-eyed, I have to confess, when I read the poignant memories of your mother. Yes, memories will flood back or you'll wave in expectation. I was walking up the driveway the other day and saw the kitchen light on and memories flooded back. I looked to see if mine was watching for me. Or the other day when I heard her say, "It's time to stop gardening. You've done enough for today". These memories will keep coming but will be less painful with time.

I'm looking forward to reading about the gazebo relocation project continued. What a lovely idead to have one with a perch on top! Blessings.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Bless your heart dear Karen! I enjoyed seeing the early pictures and look forward to seeing what you do with this turned up earth, making it into an area of more beauty to enjoy.

Love & hugs to you & Carl ~ FlowerLady

Karen said...

Ann, thank you. Yes, the other day it appeared there were lights on in my mother's house, but it was only a car coming from the east. The lights were reflecting off the glass. Still, it gave me a start. And, like you, I'm always thinking Mom will see me when I go outside. She was constantly asking me how long I thought I could keep up with the garden. This year I'm asking myself the same thing. Grief is exhausting.

Karen said...

Rainey, thank you! It will probably be an anticlimactic change in hindsight, because I envision a lot more grass in my future. :-)

Junebug said...

Oh to the downsize!! I sure hope you and Carl have better luck then I am having with the downsizing. I've only traded out a few annuals for perennials. Can't seem to have less. I say keep waving while on the tractor, someday it will bring a smile to your face with lovely memories.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

It was fun to see the "memory" photos! Took me back to that time--it doesn't seem so long ago. ;-) Blessings as you continue with all your new garden plans. Thinking about you during this tough time. I'm sure your mom was proud of all your talented gardening and stained glass work. Hugs.

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Love the beautiful pictures from your garden and the flash back to the beginning. You definitely always have a major project going don't you. lol
Sending hugs.

Karen said...

Junebug, I know! I am the same way, it's so hard to get rid of everything (and truth be told, I think Carl feels the same way) when it comes to downsizing. The yard would be so bare. And I will keep on waving; Mom is still here in spirit.

Karen said...

Beth, I agree, looking at those photos I cannot believe so much time has elapsed, where has it gone? Surely I haven't gotten as creaky as the gazebo? Thank you for thinking of me. :-)

Karen said...

Sandy, yes, we always have had projects; we were discussing that the other day, why do we do this to ourselves? Ha. Thank you for the hugs. :-)

outlawgardener said...

You and Carl always do such amazing things in your gardens. Loved the picture of your early garden. Like others, I'm looking forward to hearing the fate of the gazebo and seeing what you do with your new septic tank space.

Carol said...

Every year I say not so much!! Then I start dragging home plats of annuals and a new perennial here and there. This year it's all about growing more milkweed as the word is out that I have some and the Monarchs have left me hundreds of eggs :-/ which turn into milkweed eating caterpillars with ferocious appetites!
Thinking of you every day and sending lots of healing thoughts ♥

chavliness said...

It is so cool to go down memory lane with you. I love all those old photos. Any corn fields left at all? I'd love to see the result of the gazebo project. Whoever gets to see your garden in person is very lucky.

Garden Fancy said...

What great old photos -- it's so interesting to look back at where we were in life 20, 30 or more years ago. And it's certainly hard to adjust to life without a significant person -- who have you known longer than your mother, after all? I wish you the best with your gazebo project and hope you will cope in the coming days with your grief. Best Wishes, -Beth

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh those beautiful spring blooms! It must be heavenly to see them all in one area. Now I'm really curious about the space where the gazebo was and the changes to come there. And l looking at your older photos and the corn field and empty grounds I can see all the work you've done the past few decades at building this gorgeous quarry gardens that you have today. It really is a labour of love, sweat, hard work and determination! You have done an amazing lot of work! I'm glad you are keeping busy with all the spring work to do. Take care. Pam

Pleasance Faast said...

I’m sorry for the loss of your mom. Through your memories of her something new was created. For that I’m grateful. You inspired me to build a gazebo. I chose to build it on sand to help pull the moisture away from the post buried underground to prevent rotting.

Pleasance Faast @ Shelton Roof