Showing posts with label digging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digging. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2013

I made you a cedar chip wasteland

I have officially spent two weekends putting out a lot of effort to make a pathway, a pretty simple one at that. Apologies for how many crappy phone pics there are here, I was chugging along and couldn't be bothered to do anything beyond grabbing my phone out of my back pocket.

After we removed the sod along the driveway I needed to dig down a bit so it could hold the cedar chips I wanted here. I was hoping to soften up the ground before I had to dig, so I thought about how to make it rain. A ha, I thought, I'll put out yard debris bags! You know the bags--the ones that get heavy so easily and turn to mush and break if it rains even a little? We put four of those, filled with sod removal scraps, out on the street and of course the heavens opened up. But it made digging easier.

I found buried stuff because I always find buried stuff.

The oil tank that we knew was here.

A pretty large cavity, probably from a critter long ago (I hope long ago).

I was like, how can I make sure I move this soil as many times as humanly possible? I know, I'll dig it up, transport it to a tarp under the dogwood, then transport it back to the driveway and into Greg's truck so it can go to the soil recycling place. My back was not amused.

I used thinner, taller pieces of the same rock I've used to edge the beds elsewhere in the garden. I just wanted a simple line to say "chips here, mulch there."

It looks goofy now because the chips are bright orange. I have a skosh more room (just like Levis) in the beds, so I need to rearrange things a bit. It helps that a few weeks back I removed six or seven of the rose bushes here. All the rain had really softened the ground and they popped out with almost no effort. I got a little carried away and started removing them left and right.



Now I just need something low-growing and drought-tolerant to weave through and unify everything.


The best part is that cedar chips break down and feed the soil, so when a future owner inevitably plants lawn here, they'll find the soil to be rich and loamy. Circle of life and all that.

I finished up by vacuuming the driveway. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And then we built a swimming pool

So I decided to rain garden. And I have to apologize to my friend Sue because I missed meeting her sister and drinking martinis to dig this stupid thing.

I followed the recommendations for sizing my rain garden, which is 10% of the area of roof feeding it. Roughly 500 square feet of roof dumps water into the rain barrel, so my rain garden needed to be about 50 square feet. That's freaking HUGE but I'd rather have too large a rain garden than overflowing water heading toward my house.

So I removed all the sod from the area.

And then I started digging.

And then I got tired and the ground was sort of hard so I decided to leave it for a week so the rain could percolate down.

This didn't help. The ground didn't really soften all that much and yet my yard was now extraordinarily muddy. Then I discovered that the hose that is supposed to drain my rain barrel during the winter wasn't doing that, so instead my rain barrel was dripping water out of the overflow in the side, which meant water was dumping next to the house. I honestly wish I had never put in this stupid rain barrel. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I can't get enough water pressure out of it to actually water anything (I think it needs to be elevated) and I didn't have an overflow system in place, so it's a worthless hunk of wood that dumps water next to my house. Me and rain barrel are totally in a fight.

So I took it out. We will figure out a way to use it somewhere else but we're going to figure out a way to make the overflow work to our advantage. And it's going to be elevated, damn it. But first I had to drain it, so I let it drain into the hole I had going so far. That softened everything up really nicely but I have NEVER been so muddy before.

Once I got the rain barrel moved out from behind the garage I had to hook up this stupid looking contraption because it was raining and the gutter was now hooked up to nothing. No time like the present to test the rain garden.

Then I had to rush and get prettified to go to a work party so I had to finish up the next day. Luckily the rain had stopped and it was freaking beautiful out. More of that, Portland! PLEASE. Greg installed a proper gutter and I rolled the rain barrel off to a corner so it could think about what it did.

We pick up the plants from the Audubon Society next Sunday. I ordered way too many plants or not nearly enough, I can't decide which. It really feels like this rain garden is going to be way too big. If that's the case we're going to re-route some other gutters to here, so they aren't dumping in stupid places (like the walkway next to trashcans WHY, GUTTER INSTALLERS?).

I have to tip my hat to those guys who bury bodies in the woods in the movies, using a solitary shovel by the headlights of an Edsel. That's hard work. I'm super pooped and sore everywhere.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm fixing a hole

There was a big hole in the backyard that was covered with some cement slabs.  I decided to excavate the hole in preparation for plants.

So I started digging and pulling out chunks of concrete. And more chunks. And then I started thinking about a conversation I had with friends this weekend about wheelbarrows and how they sometimes called them wheelbarrels even though wheelburrow might make more sense (except that it doesn't, BILL) and somehow burial cairns came up.  You know, shallow graves covered in stones so animals wouldn't dig up the body. 

The whole point of this rambling side story is that I started to worry that I was dissembling a cairn. Did I mention that I had just returned from talking to the neighbor about the fence and he told me they found a HEADSTONE in their backyard? The previous owner had lost her husband and they had to bring out someone to make sure she hadn't buried him back there (she hadn't). 

He calmly told me, "That might have been a dealbreaker." MIGHT have been?

So yeah, nerve-wracking.  And the hole kept getting bigger.

But there was no body that I could see. Thank you, backyard gods.

Now I just have to fill this humongous hole somehow. Anybody have a body they need to dispose of?