Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Piles of stuff, one hour at a time

Five yards of 3/4 minus gravel and 4 yards of hemlock mulch look a lot like this:
To put the size of the piles in perspective, that's the Biggest Girl there and she's just over three feet tall now. Furthermore, that driveway normally holds two cars, rather than two piles. When the dump truck pulled away after dumping the gravel, she looked up at me, shook her head, and said, "TOO much!"
She's a wise kid.

I have a plan for every last bit of both of those giant mounds, though. See, Mr. Mallard has a break between terms and, with no homework to fret about, he has very graciously stepped up to help me realize a few of my lofty lawn dreams. The Biggest Girl and I do what we can during the day--you'd be surprised how engrossing yard care is for a toddler--and, after a light dinner, Mr. Mallard joins the landscaping party. Woohoo!

A lot can be accomplished in the hour between dinner and bath time.

For example, this is before...


...and after.
Pretty awesome, eh?
It gets better!

Once again, here's before...

...with a slight complication during--the drain pipe that leads from the gutters to the tiny little creek behind the house just happens to be right in my way. It's that white thing in between the two bricks and it nearly derailed my motivation. After a quick phone call to my dad to run through all the possible ways to resolve this roadblock, the oh-so-simple solution became very obvious. Since I was stacking the bricks, I simply staggered the base level on either side of the pipe and filled the gap with gravel. Since the base level is submerged halfway, the gap becomes completely obscured once the mulch and dirt are in place. This also keeps any weight off the pipe, thereby saving us from a broken drain pipe episode down the road.

See--you can't even tell there's a gap, can you?
I know it's a tiny little wall, but I'm so proud. I built it in less an hour while the Biggest Girl was napping. By myself. Go, me! It might not look like much now, but it's got a place in a much bigger plan...

So, the plants are feeling the love and the the land/hardscaping is coming along nicely. As I stood back to admire my accomplishments, I heard a little whimper.

It was the lawn.
At first glance, it doesn't look too bad.

A closer look, though...

...reveals a sad, unhealthy plot of grass that wants so badly to be lush and healthy for the Biggest Girl's summertime frolicking. Once again, it took less than an hour to give the grass some much needed attention. A morning field trip yielded a 25-pound bag of Down to Earth Bio-Turf fertilizer and five pounds of grass seed, along with a 16-ounce Coconut Mocha (vital to the success of this mission). During a random sunny break in the unseasonably cold and rainy day, I dashed out and used a hand spreader to coat the lawn with the earthy-smelling all-natural fertilizer, followed by a blanket of seed.

...and I finished just in the nick of time.

Now, we'll stay off the part of the lawn I reseeded for the next two weeks and, in theory, great things will happen. In the meantime, we'll work on eliminating those piles in the driveway, play on the small part of the lawn that didn't need to be seeded, and get to work (finally) on the much delayed raised beds. We've got eleven more days until classes start again. That's plenty of time to set a world record in yard tackling.

Tonight, though, we'll just eat some Clam Chowder and enjoy this last little blast of rain. And rest. It's going to be a long eleven days...

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