Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Adding Lattice

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On a gift of a day in late November when warmth and sunshine belied the proximity to winter and scores of others were hanging Christmas lights on their homes, Cyndie and I were weaving branches into the frame of our gazebo.

The inspiration struck a few weeks ago when I was pulling down the aging canvas canopy in preparation for the onset of winter. The old cover had long ago faded from the original brown color to a silvery-blue and the fabric fibers, weakened by the relentless bombardment of solar rays, were breaking around the edges.

I was pretty sure it didn’t have another summer of life left, so I considered alternatives. A natural canopy of live vines would provide shade in summer and leaves would fall off for the winter so I wouldn’t need to do any additional work.

All I needed to do was convince Cyndie the idea had merit. Since we share a similar perspective about these kinds of things, she was all in.

While I was taking a few weeks to think through how I might execute my vision, Cyndie was thinning our woods of saplings in preparation.

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First, we wove one long stick along the front face, then, two. Continuing around the four sides, we worked our way up. The closer we got to the top, the harder it was to weave the branches through, so we switched to cuttings from wild grapevines.

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Next spring, we will transplant some wild vines from our woods to the four legs of the gazebo in hopes of establishing a natural canopy that thrives on the massive exposure of direct sunlight.

My only trepidation is about how much snow might collect throughout winter to stress the modest strength of the metal framework. I expect it will depend on how wet or dry the snowfalls are and how frequently separate snow events will occur.

It’s a gamble we are willing to wage. I figure, worst case, I could use more cut trees from our woods to prop up the frame in places where the metal shows signs of buckling. The whole thing is already flexed out of level due to the lack of solid footings. We merely set the four legs on spots I prepared when we moved the gazebo to this spot beside the labyrinth. The ground in those spots has not shifted in unison from the subsequent seasons of freeze/thaw cycles.

The structure has a quaint “askew” look that I expect will fit nicely with the vision I have for a natural canopy of living green growth by the middle of summer.

For now, we just watch and wait.

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Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2020 at 11:05 am

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