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  • Almost 12 years ago, when we had the house and garage resided, the roofs redone, and all the windows replaced, we also added an 11'x20' concrete pad next to the garage to build a shaded area where we could enjoy our back yard. While I am the gardener in the family, we all enjoy barbecues and family gatherings, and our yard is big enough that the kids can run around safely and have fun. While we adults are less likely to be running around, we all enjoy the fresh air and the sunshine.

    Although the project has been delayed by various events, we finally decided to erect a Pergola. Last month, I got the plans through the city planning and county zoning commission. This month, we are getting it done.

    We started at 9 am this morning, Dondi and I, beginning with drilling the holes in the concrete to fit the anchor bolts to secure the 6"x6"x8' posts. Carefully measuring our distances twice (Measure Twice, Cut Once is the golden rule of carpentry), we drilled out the bolts and then carefully aligned the U shaped footings and measured again. Perfectly 11'x13', which will leave 7' of the concrete unshaded and open to barbecue on. Picture is Dondi from behind setting the final bolt.
  • A shot of the post footing when finished.
  • Next step was to set the 2"x10"x14' cross members on either side of the footings and cut the end top boards to fit on their respective locations. Again, careful measurements before cutting the slots in the top pieces, and walla, the rectangular box which will eventually be the top of the pergola.
  • An angle shot showing the box resting on pieces of 4"x4" to hold it off the ground high enough to allow access to the post mounting holes in the footings.
  • Dondi and I taking a break before continuing to cut and mount the top pieces. Notice the posts are set behind us.
  • And here is where we ended up today. I fell short one board, so tomorrow morning I will travel to Menards and get one, as well as an extended bit to drill through the bulk of 8 1/2" four times to secure the top to the posts with carriage bolts. Yes, we will lift the top straight up the poles. Unconventional? Yes, most people would begin by setting the posts and the cross members up and going up and down ladders to attach the top. But you see, I have no great love of ladders, and I have quite a few friends willing to help.

    So tomorrow will be sort of a barn raising event, and once the pergola is completed, we will be serving my renowned and often clamored for Spaghetti Sauce over pasta with a nice green salad containing some cherry tomatoes from the garden and garlic bread. I've even located a couple of bottles of Chianti. No farver beans, though.

    Painting will have to wait until next spring, as the treated lumber will need to dry.

    So how did you spend your Saturday?

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