Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mint Juleps on the Patio...any minute now.

Building the forms for cement to connect the sidewalk to  the patio
Progress!  The patio pavers are all in, and Preston decided to pour a border of cement around the edge to keep them from shifting, instead of the usual plastic edging which you don't see anyway, and which gets to be very expensive by the time you go all the way around the patio.  So now all that's left is to sweep the sand into the cracks, spread the dirt back into the yard and plant some grass seed.  NEXT project: getting all the firewood out of the garden so we can plant!

Well done, mother nature!!
I don't think I posted this pic before, but here's why we have firewood in the garden.  When Sandy hit, a tree that was in our neighbor's cow pasture fell on my Little Shop of Chaos and our neighbors generously cut it up and let us keep it, since they don't use a wood stove and it was in our yard anyway. Minimal damage to the Shop, all that had to be repaired was the electrical wire going in.  The garden is to the right of the shed.
 I have been in touch with Tom the rototiller guy, and so all that's left is to clear out the wood.  I am excited to try the potato-and-tire trick, since we have an unknown number of old tires hanging around.  I've always wanted to try this, because we don't have a whole lot of garden space and a lot of that is taken up with beans, tomatoes and squash, but in years past my springs have been taken up with...other obligations...and I never seemed to have enough time to play in the dirt.  Last year was the first time in years that we had a garden at all, and it was just more wonderful than I can tell you to be able to do that.
 We are having an actual spring for the first time in...well, I can't remember the last time.  Usually we go right from freezing to sweltering but it's been just beautiful here for several weeks and a lot of people I know have already planted their gardens. All the birds and frogs and various critters are out and about.  I've lived here all my life and never knew we had dung beetles..also never knew how beautiful they are!!  I wish the colors showed up better, he (it's a he) is the most striking metallic green and copper I've ever seen. Preston found him floundering in Myah's water dish.  His feet are built for digging, not for swimming, so we rescued him.

On the sewing front, we are smack dab in the middle of prom season.  Thankfully, I was able to buckle down and work my behind off and get all the Junior prom gowns done and picked up by Wednesday night, so I took Friday off to spend with The Boy, who came home for the weekend to attend the wedding of an old friend.  I've got to stop calling him that, the old fart is going to be 30 at the end of this year.  But he'll always be The Boy to me.  Anyway, senior prom is this week and I'm always so glad when proms are over for the year.  I did finish the funky turquoise-and-mustard dress set, for better or for worse!  I think it's cool and really different.  Because I no longer have any sense of what colors go or don't go together.  It's complete anarchy in my brain. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Yard Crashers

Prep work:  turns out the yard is not level. Who'd'a thought.
Great progress is being made in the front yard!  All the research Preston did stated that even if you do this the RIGHT way, there are only 5 steps:  Dig the hole, lay the gravel, top it with a layer of sand, lay the pavers, sweep sand into the cracks.  Done. But it's kind of like when you use the Chilton's manual to fix the car;  remove the old part, replace it with the new part.  Done.  Except they don't explain that you have to remove three other parts to GET to the old part, and there's always a bolt that will break off, and you need a special tool to get the part out, which your local auto parts store will have to special order, etc. etc....when installing the patio, there are drainage issues to consider, and leveling challenges, and whether or not to square the patio with the house or the sidewalk or the driveway (none of which are square with each other), and what kind of gravel to use, and whether or not Home Depot has enough of the pavers you picked out, always something.  But so far, and we are coming down the home stretch, it's been fun and I think it's going to look fabulous.

Preston taking a turn with the tamper-downer. 

After you get the thing all planned out and put the gravel in, you have to tamp it down.  There's a machine people can rent to do this:  these people do not have Frank.  Frank had WAY too much fun with the manual tamper-downer-thingy.  Also he has a big truck, so that made transporting the sand and gravel way cheaper.  I too have a truck, but I doubt its ability to carry 2 tons of sand without getting a hernia.

Screeding the sand

 Anyway, the weather has been stunning-right up until yesterday when it rained, but not for too long-so even though we have to do the patio in between working, we've been able to make great progress.

This part goes pretty quickly, but we ran out of daylight!

 Preston started laying the pavers last night, a back-breaking job if there ever was one.  More back-breaking, for sure, than having to carry them from over from the pallet.
Those suckers weigh 33 pounds apiece.
So I guess it's almost time to repaint the ugly green patio table!