Sunday, September 21, 2014

The landscaping project, part II

Part I here:

We can haz wall?

This is how the yard looked when we started today:


We made an excursion to Home Depot, buying 900 pounds of sand:





Then we finished smoothing out some bumps in the trench and made a beach strip with the sand:



(Guest blog appearance by the husband!)





The first row was the hardest.  We ended up with a bit of a wavy line because of how the yard is shaped, but I like curves.





Second row went in easy-peasy:


 
The rock pile that we accumulated while digging the trench was great filler behind the bricks.





I could never have managed the heavy lifting by myself. 



Third and fourth rows were even easier:









We still need some more gravel for fill, and then will shovel some of the dirt back in and level things off.  Once we've got the filling done, we'll see if we should add a fifth row.  But the hardest of the work is done!  Hooray!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

A fairy tale





There once was a great and magical forest, and all the animals and mankind lived together in peace beneath its boughs for centuries.  Then, one dark day, a dragon came and made her home in the center of the forest, and the peace was shattered as he laid claim to everything green for as far as she could fly in a day.  Many a champion tried to drive the dragon from the forest, and met their doom beneath her claws and teeth, so finally a great wizard came to the woods.  He knew what it would take for him to conquer the mighty lizard, but paid the price without complaint.  There was no battle, just the casting of a single spell, and now the forest stands safe for as long as the wizard too stands. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The landscaping project

Business has been slow.  I'd blame it on the fact that I haven't been promoting, but it was slow when I was doing a lot of promoting, and I got tired of wasting time and energy.  So, time to put that creative force into something else!

Our house is on the side of a steep hill.  How steep is it, you ask?  Well, when we have a good snowstorm, the city puts up barricades at the top and bottom instead of plowing, if that gives you any idea, and when I had my minivan I'd have to get the front brakes replaced every couple of years.

What that means for our house is that you walk in the front door, go through the living room into the dining room and go out the French doors there, you find yourself on our deck, which is a good 8-10 feet over the back yard.  If you go into the basement, there are two windows that overlook the street on the North side and from the back we look like a 2-story house.  Then, when you go along the fence line dividing ours from our neighbor's property, you find yourself going downhill and when you end up in the back section of our yard you find yourself staring at a rock wall and a back yard that's now about 8-10 feet above street level.

Along this rock wall is a dirt slope that up until 2 years ago was completely taken over by a holly tree.  I took that down to the stump, and last winter I pruned the pear tree on the corner that we hadn't touched in over a decade.  And then this spring, I got the wild idea that I wanted to turn this area into an iris bed.  I found some lovely black irises, which I proceeded to purchase, and now I've got to get this part of our property fit to plant.

Here's a panoramic view of the area in question before I started:



And a side view:



There's still a couple of areas that aren't quite clear yet, but I need to get this going as I'm running out of planting time.





That second picture is of the front corner, and a giant thistle grew up in everything else there.  I missed getting a picture of it when it was in bloom, but it's still pretty nifty looking in its going to seed phase:


Thistle Gone To Seed 2 by dbvictoria on deviantART

Here's a sad diagram I did in Photoshop of my grand plan:



Here's how you build a retaining wall.

My husband is also redoing the upper part of the back yard.  He just completed a new fence yesterday and this evening he'll start clearing the area where he wants to put a fire pit.  We did the math on how many retaining wall bricks I needed and how many he needed, added another 20% on top of that, and the lovely folks at Lowe's delivered two pallets yesterday morning.



Part of the clearing included breaking up all the branches from the holly and pine trees, which will be used in the christening of the fire pit.





I'm in the "dig a trench" phase now, which is step 2 of part 1.  (Part 1 Step 1 was to make a string line.  That's the only part of this entire process that didn't involve sweating.)  It's a good 30 along this section, and I'm about 8' in as of this morning.  I started out having to dig in only ~14" because the back corner is flatter, but I'm up to ~24" in width now because the creep is increasing as I get out towards the street.  There's also the stump of the now officially titled Evil Holly Tree, and its roots.



Day 1 (yesterday) trench progress:



And so far today:



I had to dig in a big further because of that root thing.  This time it's not the fault of my being straight-line challenged.  (Yes, this time.)

It's now getting into the hot part of the day, so I'm breaking until about 4 in the afternoon, then going out for some more torture, I mean digging.  I hope to have the trench finished by tomorrow evening, and the husband hopes to have the firepit completed by tomorrow evening.  I hope he finishes too, because then I can wheedle him into helping me, but the firepit comes first because we hope to premiere it for our birthday party next weekend.  (His birthday was actually Thursday, and mine is today.)

Oh, and if you'd told me 20 years ago that I'd be doing yardwork and landscaping on my birthday, I'd have suggested you go get yourselves committed.  How times change.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


My reaction to finding out that Share a Coke does not have my name available.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bathtime!

We went out to Saltwater State Park this morning, and the tide was out, which meant lots of tide pools, lots of squirting clams, and lots and lots of stinky slimy piles of seaweed.  We ended up with a stinky, slimy dog, so when we got home there was bathtime.















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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Silly cat post

Our 10 month old cat, who is already bigger than any cat I've ever owned, has a new cat tree, and a new toy to go with it:

Brass Screw Confederacy, 2014

The Brass Screw Confederacy is a Steampunk weekend in scenic Port Townsend, WA.  I was originally booked to vend at another event this weekend, but after a change of plans I headed out with my camera to play tourist.  This seems to be the year for that!

The full album is here, and here's a few of my favorites from it:











bonus ladybug!





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