April 11, 2007


My other Easter project, besides rebuilding an old bike, was building a pergola. I bought the parts on the first day of vacation and lifted them onto a trailer and took them home, an act my back and shoulders are still griping about 10 days later. The overall plan is to build a stone piazza out back, a kind of mediterranean patio where you can eat olives and write with your right and left hands simultaneously.* Some friends sent us a postcard of St. Peter's Square in Vatican City that I am using for inspiration, and here's a cool picture of a fountain in a piazza in Rome. The pergola will create some shelter from the wind, and the bench is pointed to catch sunlight in the morning and provide shade in the afternoon.

Mom tells me that her grandpa Trochinski had a pergola in the back yard (they called it a grape arbor) where he grew grapes that he used to make wine. That's not so bad, wine in western Minnesota during the depression. Not to be outdone by my expatirate Prussian predecessor, we have planted a grapevine and two hop vines (humulus lupulus). Hops are famous not only for flavoring beer but also for growing really really fast, like half a foot a day and up to 10 yards in a season, so the pergola bench should be nice and shady come August, which is likely to be a warm one, since El Nino is in a bad mood this year.

*This reminded me of something our three-year-old said today. He declared that he had not a right hand and a left hand but a brave hand and a tool hand. We think he's a lefty-- that would be the tool hand.


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