Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer Projects

The last few days have been filled with manual labor of all kinds, and the next several days will be the same. Here is what we're working on:We tore out the old rotting wood & brick deck/patio two or three years ago, but then couldn't find the motivation to do the hard work of rebuilding. Just recently we finally decided to bite the bullet and get busy on it and, since there's a heat wave coming, it's the perfect time to work outside in the glaring sun!

We want all brick this time instead of a combo of brick and wood so on Friday we hauled home two truckloads of interlocking paving brick, 660 bricks in all, including 60 edgers. Luckily, Michael was here so he helped load (at the store) and unload the bricks (here at home), and stack them by the wall of the house:Because the ground was uneven, and the bricks need a foundation to rest on, yesterday Mike brought home two truckloadsd of crushed rock to spread and tamp down:Michael was away until Monday evening (smart guy!), so Mike did the work of shoveling two loads of crushed rock out of the truck and onto the ground, then spreading it around.

We've also been hard at work here: The cat garden, where stuff has been overgrown like crazy since Spring. The entire flower bed (way in the back in the photo) has been taken over by weeds, to the point that we weren't even sure exactly what "real" plants were still in there.

And not to mention this: Our very sad looking little cat cemetery. Yes, there are cats buried here, three of them. Each time we planted a cat we planted a different color daisy. We actually have four daisies planted here, but one of the cats, Callie, isn't really here; she didn't come home from the vet. Three other cats are here, though, O.J., Tony, and Leah; they all died at home.

Since gardening is a TAD easier than shoveling rocks and dirt I did a lot of it (so I could get out of the shoveling). Here I am in my ultra-cool gardening hat. Ok, it's really a sun hat for sailing, but it works for gardening, too. At least I'm wearing one! I look like a pinhead in hats, but I have to learn to wear them. With my skin type I can't be too careful in the sun. I trimmed and weeded the cat cemetery myself, but Mike did a LOT of the work in the cat garden. Between us we weeded all the flower beds, repotted plants, hung some plants (Mike made a plant-hanger out of rope, it's awesome), re-staked the tomatoes, cleared and leveled the ground under the succulents, the climbing rose and the climbing morning glories (both on the arbor), pruned the bushes and trees, moved stepping stones to be used underneath the potted cacti, mowed the grass, and who knows what else. We were exhausted, dirty, scratched up, and pretty darn happy with the results!

Our newly cleaned and trimmed cat garden! Here's a shot from inside the garden, looking toward the arbor:
Here are my much-happier-now cacti and my cheerful-again (& deadheaded) geraniums:And one of our many tomato plants, now staked nicely so it's not half-laying on the ground, and half-propped up by plastic chairs:
I was hoping we were done with manual labor for awhile but then today, this activity began: The tamping down of the rock and sand with a machine called the "Wacker." It rattled and hummed and vibrated and but it did a great job. Mike made me do some of it, too, but I didn't last too long before my arms gave out! Here's the final result:
NOW can we be done for the day? Nope, now arrives a truckload of sand:
I helped (a little) shovel this out of the truck and spread it around on the ground. THEN we got to stop for today. Tomorrow Mike will finished evening out the sand, making sure the plot is perfectly level and then . . .

. . . we get to lay bricks!!

Soon, we will be barbecuing outside our back door, on our very own brand-new brick patio, instead of out here:
Can't wait!


Heather and Spencer said...

You know you sound like the crazy old cat lady, right??? Just kidding, well, only about the old part! Love ya!

little ray said...

oh,it's a lot of work there,i'm glad that Michael helped a little,GOOD BOY!hehe...
it's hard to work outside in such a big sun,but it's a good exercise and that's so nice to have a rebulid garden!