Coatsville Update


It has been in the 60s and sunny for a week, so I grew this Pergola with autumn magic beans.

It has been in the 60s and sunny for a week, so I grew this Pergola with autumn magic beans. I worked on this in 5 stages, each stage taking me outside for the nicest part of the afternoon (after spending the nicest part of the morning out walking Nora in the hills or to the park).

I jumped up the height of two posts from the old abandoned fence line, adding two risers of 4×4″x4′. One riser is nicely fitted by cutting matching “L”s and bolting them flush, the other riser is directly under the eve of the big green tool shed and so it is connected with an overlap to the outside to jump up higher than the roofline.

The lofted structure is mainly pressure treated wood rather than Redwood, as it will be covered with the vine soon enough. The 2×4 running boards forming the outside triangle are bolted to the risers, and jointed at their ends like a woodworking nerd would do. Also, most Redwood (and many other hardwoods) is illegally harvested from Peruvian rainforest- exposed in an investigative report last week- so I limited the Redwood to four 2x2x8 runners of the top layer. The mid layer is toed on one end with pairs of 3.5” deck screws, and pinned on the opposite end with one screw- the triangle form made for some crazy drilling angles. The top layer of narrow Redwood stabilizes the structure from warping and twisting. The project was funded as an anniversary gift from my mom last summer, knowing I would eventually come up with another build-out for the yard. Thanks Mom!


The trumpet-flower vine will cover this in a jiffy next summer.


A few winters ago the dead cherry tree that the vine ensconced collapsed in an 80mph wind storm. I propped up the vine and replaced the tree with a 12′ 4×4; 3 feet in the ground and 9 feet in the air. The vine has overgrown the new pole and I had to trim it back hard this fall.


Nora has decided that this section of the yard can now be lounged in.


This is the view while writing this post. The wisteria pergola of a few summers ago is to the left, and the new trumpet pergola is straight through the middle aside the green shed.


A Xanderous growth on the Fern transplant.

The repotting of the fern just didn’t seem to take. Whatever could be the cause? I brought in a specialist who noticed this Xanderous growth. At this stage the fern is beyond recovery, unlike the other ferns in the room that were pre-treated with bamboo spikes.


The white pustule is a bit malignant.


Better than a box, a windowsill, a catbed: a fern. The vibrant fern in the foreground has bamboo skewers acting as tiger spikes. Sometimes he manages to lay between them…


Avian winter housing.

Spent a day making these little numbers. Multiple sparrows and finches can perch inside these winter houses. Inside there are rungs of perches, the hole is set low and there are no air vents to retain all the birdie-heat on cold nights. On cold days the wall gathers warmth, and the overhanging eve keeps them out of the elements. When the nights are single digits a bird or two can keep these near 30 degrees.


High up on a South facing warm wall.


The Back 40 is slowly becoming a bird sanctuary.


Nora was my spotter while up on the ladder.


Ahead Warp One. Crushin’ it. haHa-trekkie humor.

After refinishing the wood of the Kennedy Rocker, I decided to cane-weave the seat and back myself (the closest to caning I’ve been would be a macrame stint in 3rd grade that resulted in a plant hanger and an owl). Factoid: a bundle of caning is called a Hank. This was a two Hank project. I Hanked the Rocker, but the chair is also named Hank.


Nora photobombs are always glam. Also, Wefting right along- haHa! Nose on a Stick! (obscure Colbert reference from Harvey Birdman still used by ED in our coded nitwittery.)


Wefting to the right, after backfilling the left with Weft.  


New England Porch Weave is the pattern I laid down.


My weftin goes aaall the way-around!


Need a sarsaparilla whiskey and some high humidity to get a true sense of porch settin’.


Rocker Back front.


Rocker Back back.


Rocker Seat: a square with two triangles.


Acreage of cane ache.


Lantana at full power.


Lantana anchors the porch and brings in Hummingbirds.


Can almost see these in Hummingbird ultraviolet sight.


Fall Asters holding on to purple, as the huge hummingbird bush flares out.


Deep field Hubble view.


30 quail in the yard; 2 of ’em on the roof with some of the zillions of LBJ’s below.


Nora’s safe space from the cats. They are everywhere and nowhere, ready to pounce!


Garage Sale Kennedy Rocker; 6 hours of refinishing later.


Her cane backing and seat had rotted away, so “before” was $10 at a yard sale.


Oak comes back to life with persistence.


Next I order in 3 hanks of Binder Cane and a how-to manual for Porch Weave.


$5, same yard sale. This one lived inside so just needed gorilla glue and light refinishing.


Perfect Elizabeth-sized chair. And with a steam-bent back!


$7, same yard sale. She was so loosey goosey that she nearly didn’t make it out of their yard intact, as a large old fella tried her out and she nearly folded.


Three warped little boards running parallel tried to capture all the seat runners, failing at that while providing no structural support. They came off and it got the Danger treatment.Multiple old fellers could rest easy. Walt, your long rail clamps helped pull her in tight for her triage.


I shifted her from ruddy black to Mountain Blue, for porch-sittin’ in Montana on Bluebird patrol.


Also, I created silicon mother molds with plaster backing molds of the Ibis. Tomorrow I take them to the foundry for wax pour, then I’ll bring them back to chase out the wax.


Wax gets slurried in down the hole, rolled around and poured back out. This is done layer on layer until at a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. It takes about 2 hours, as there is a lot of waiting for the wax to cool.


Southern highlands sunset phone signal sojourn.


The heifers all line up to use the new phone; are bummed that we still can’t check messages.


Looking North into the ranch.


Smoke on 360 degrees of the horizon.


Moon is back to white, from the blood-orange of a few nights ago.


Up at the high meadows above the hayfield along the Blue Bird trek.


This steep is a snowbank in winter, and stays green even in our Flash Drought year. 


Surprise! Karen has jumped up from CA to visit for a few days at the ranch.


One of the highland’s magical spots.


Bluebird overlook from their front porch. Four hatchlings from a week ago are now fledged.


A quiet evening and Karen joins E & I in putting up the new series of Bluebird houses.


E watches a herd of deer watching us.


Setting a whole new leg of Bluebird-House trekking.


The deer are moving out as the sunset begins to move in.



A last group of deer run the to the ridgeline.


A fawn leaps to catch up with her group.


Smoke down from Canada tinges the light.


cool air rushes through the warm grasses and summer lifts from the earth


Setting the last of the new houses.


E can see the wooden bird house the bear opened like a lunchbox way over on the road. 


More of a thermos than a lunchbox, E thinks the bear may just ignore the new models.


the stillness of twilight sweeps beyond the mind’s eye


infinite sky over unending undulations of coulees and mountain


The moon is a dusky primrose from on top, but later rises again at the house… 


Deep layers of atmospheric smoke tint the moonrise from the yard. Same night, different moon.