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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What to put on all that dirt?

You may be wondering what we did with that six yards of dirt from last Thursday.  Well, it got distributed along the north side of the house, around the new patio, and all over the shelter cart load at a time!
Starting sod in a dry Texas can be a challenge.  We are permitted to water it by hand, daily, for a total of 30 days.  After that, once per week on trash day.  Same for the seed we had to put on the mound.
The white-looking fluffy stuff, is a shredded wood product turf mat.  It's job is to protect the seeded area from runoff (and the fresh dirt there too!), and to help keep it from drying out.  The seed should sprout and grow up through the matting, and it should slowly decay into the soil.  The challenge will come the first time or two we try to mow the grass and matting.

Everything else got sod.  A whole pallet of TIFF 419 Bermuda, according to our turf supplier.  Oh and there are 11 pieces of some other Bermuda variety (the really green stuff) I snagged at Home Depot, when we didn't think we would be able to get the sod on a pallet from the other supplier.

Sod went all around the patio, and on the east face of the mound.  We put up a series of walls with T-posts and orange construction fencing, in an attempt to keep children and dogs OUT of the area.  We were kind enough to leave them an exit off the patio, out into the rest of the back yard, for play, and other 'business'.

This part of the back yard renovation was the easiest in my mind, since I got to go pick up the sod, and return the rental truck, whereas DH had to finish prepping the soil, and tamp it down with the 10" stamping plate.  He and the Monkeys set most of the sod too.  Our hope is that the sod and seed will all take, and we will be able later this year to enjoy a green and somewhat shaded, cool back yard, perhaps with some as yet unacquired patio furniture.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For Brigid...

John 3:16
King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

By the time you read this, it will be Easter Sunday.  I had planned a post on the conclusion of the yard project this week.  That post's been put on hold, as I sadly learned my friend Brigid's brother has passed away on Good Friday evening, about the time our Tenebrae service was held.

For Brigid, her father, and all her family, you have my heartfelt sympathy for your loss.  May these far more eloquent words of others bring you some small comfort in this time of grief.

Psalm 107:23-30
King James Version (KJV)

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This week's hard work project...

Though I have been fairly quiet on the blog this week, I have been working.  We decided that there was a need to redo the retaining edge strips for the paver patio, and to redo the dirt both around the patio, and the north side of the foundation.  Oh, and don't forget the storm shelter!  That always needs more dirt around it, especially after certain Monkeys decided to fight WWI again on the west side, complete with GI Joe scale trenches for proper trench warfare.

Wednesday I spent a couple hours digging out the edge of the patio.  With a Sharpshooter shovel it wasn't hard, but I had to make sure not to disturb the paver base material lest the stones shift.

The retaining strips were then set at the bottom of the trench and nailed down with the supplied plastic nails.  The old dirt was then filled back in, resulting in a much nicer looking edge with no visible plastic.

Part two of the project arrived at 09:20 Thursday morning.  Six cubic yards of slightly damp Texas topsoil.

With DH back at work this week, that left myself and 3 Monkeys to shift all that dirt into the back yard before it rained!  Fortunately, the kids can manage a full load in the Gorilla Cart, so two of us shoveled, and two did the dump 'n run trick....until...

Yes, a large construction ring-nail was found imbedded in one of the cart tires.  Oops!  Hard to haul dirt with a flat tire.  After managing to get one side of the tire off the rim, and extracting the offending nail, and the damaged tube, I was able to patch the hole with the old style vulcanizing bike tire patch kit.   (rubber cement and the patch.)  The tire went back on without tools--YAY!  And the patch held air.

Not long after this, our neighbor Frank stopped by, and volunteered to help.  What a true lifesaver he was!  He came with a shovel and a two-wheel wheelbarrow, and worked with us for some 4 hours, shoveling and hauling, raking and leveling dirt. 
See?  It's shrinking!
They say, "How does one eat an elephant?"  Well, one bite at a time, or in this case, one shovelful at a time!  We didn't quite manage to shift all six yards of dirt before DH got home from work, but we came close. 
Almost done!
We finished up before 18:00, and while I went out to get some dinner and seed matting for grass, DH and the kids cleaned up the driveway mess.  After dinner, we worked more on raking out the dirt where we wanted it, and got the matting down to keep the dogs off of the fresh damp dirt.  Hopefully, the matting will not only protect the seed we will be spreading, but also keep the expected rains from relocating all our dirt through erosion!

Tomorrow's project?  Laying down SOD!