Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Stump Death March

I feel like I have a hangover today. Why? Because I've been working too hard on removing the stumps. It was sunny yesterday and quite hot which took a toll on me. I worked in the yard from 8:30 AM until 10:00 PM trying to handle all the necessary tasks. That was pushing it a bit hard. But two of the stumps are ready to cut up and remove at this point. That leaves one difficult stump and three smaller stumps before the job is done.

It will be another hard day of work today again. If I want to plant a banana tree in the yard, I'll need to do it very soon so it has a chance to root in during the summer. I need to dig out the tropical garden bed and fill it with soil in order to have a place to plant the banana tree. That will take most of the day. My muscles are aching already!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Warrior

The yard is really torn up at this point and is quite the mess. Around mid week, I started digging out one of the seven stumps in the yard. After a lot of digging, we were able to take a hand hoist and break the first stump free from the ground. Unfortunately, the stump is large enough that we can't pull it out of the pit I had to dig to sever all it's roots. It will require taking a chainsaw to cut it into smaller sections. That will be a big task though as the stump is moderately big and the chainsaw is fairly small. Just one of the many challenges!

Early in the morning, I headed over to Wights garden center in Lynnwood. I picked up an Easter Lily cactus and a stone bench. The stone bench was marked down to half price because it had a few chips. It looked really nice even with the chips so I went ahead and bought it. I'll set it up tomorrow if I get a chance. I'll probably take a few pictures too.

Around noon time, I started digging on the second stump. Digging took most of the day before I moved on to another project in the yard. Towards the end of the afternoon, we started pouring concrete for the pathway. My brother and I made excellent progress and only have about three more bags of concrete to pour before this section of the path is complete. If my lower back is not giving me any problems tomorrow, I'll take the truck down to Sky Nursery and pick up a load of Cedar Grove Compost. The compost, if screened carefully, will fill in the space between the paver stones in the pathway. I'll plant something like Chamomile Treneague in between the stones. From what I've been told, when you step on Chamomile Treneague, it gives off a scent similar to apples. That would be quite nice for a garden pathway!

The other thing I have to do tomorrow is to haul away the dirt that I dug out from the around the stumps. I've got about 3 tarps complete covered with dirt and it looks very messy at this point. I'm also running out of space so hauling dirt will help out a bit.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The weekend at last!

I haven't had any free time this week as the new contract work has kept me busy. Mostly, my days consist of getting up, eating breakfast, and heading in to work. After the work day is over, it's late enough that by the time I make something to eat that I have to crash. Just a typical day in the life of an engineer!

Now that it's Saturday, I can get a few tasks down around the house. I'll tackle working on removing another small tree today. This time it's an evergreen that was planted too close to the house. It's a narrow tree, about 20 feet tall that is rubbing up against the rain gutter and causing a small amount of damage. I'll take the chainsaw and knock down the tree later in the afternoon.

The tree cutters came on Thursday as scheduled. They worked fast from what I've been told. Apparently at one point, they had three guys up in the trees working away. They had the job finished in about 3 hours and did a really good job overall. Nothing was damaged in my yard or the neighbors yard so all is good. The yard certainly feels a lot bigger now that the trees are out.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rain delays

It's raining today so working outdoors is a bit of a problem. That's okay as I've used up all my energy after so many days of non-stop yard work. A day of rest is necessary at times. Tomorrow, I'll try to protect the areas of the garden path that don't have concrete poured yet. Hopefully, that will minimize any damage to the path foundation when the trees are cut down on Thursday.

I did manage to do a bit more planning for the layout of the yard. I've expanded a bit on the idea of where to place the cactus garden and the desert garden. The cactus garden will occupy a small strip next to the of the house. It's on the South side of the house and is under the roof overhang so it's extremely dry. Nothing else will grow in there so a true cactus garden is an ideal choice for the area. The desert garden will go where the trees are at currently. It's also located on the south side of the lot and has a slight sloping angle to the south which is excellent for drainage. The soil is fairly dry in that area and would be very hospitable to desert like plants such as yuccas or agave. Once the trees are cut down, I can take a look at replacing a large section of the soil along with the stumps. A bed of crushed rock rubble topped with a mixture of sand, gravel, and soil should provide the necessary drainage for desert plants.

The other change intended for the yard is to expand the bog garden by a few square feet. Currently, the bog garden is a very small section next to the garden pond. The intent is to expand it by a few more feet towards the sidewalk. Pitcher plants, cat tails, and similar bog plants can handle the weather here in the winter so it should work nicely. I believe the bog can also be used to help filter the pond water if a weir is built between the pond and bog.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Business as usual today.

I'm too tired to write much tonight so I'll keep it short. The tree cutters are scheduled to be here on Thursday to take down 5 trees. I need to get everything cleared away from the trees, including any plants I want to keep alive. The biggest problem to handle is the unfinished garden path that passes by the trees. I need to see if I can pour concrete for that section at least 3 days before the tree cutters show up. I spent about 13 hours working in the yard today prepping things for Thursday. Talk about work! My muscles and bones ache so I'm going to bed. I'll write more another time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Row number two, where are you?

As for today, I managed to finish the brick mosaic stepping pad. To the left is a picture of the brick pad. It may not be on par with a masterpiece like The Last Supper, but I think it's pretty damn good coming from a sixpack joe like myself. Most people passing by on the street probably won't notice the pattern unless they are observant. There are also several other separate pieces that line up with the brick pad which include the player's ship, a base, and even a missile. If I recall, the invader is from row number two of the attack wave of aliens from the classic game Space Invaders. Here's an overhead view of the complete piece. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good viewpoint using my step ladder but the picture gives basic perspective of the mosaic.

My brother and I mixed and poured another two bags of concrete for the garden path. We ran out of concrete and had to drive over to Lowes and pick up another 12 bags for tomorrow. The path is probably about a third of the way complete at this point. It's a big task but steady progress is being made.

The best news for today is that I received positive confirmation I will be starting a contract job on Monday. That's excellent news for me and for my bank account. I'll have to kick start my brain to think about programming techniques again as it's been a while. It won't take long to get back in the groove again though so everything should work out well.

I don't have much time remaining before I return to work so I'll need to keep the fast pace going with work on the garden. My back is stiff and sore from all the work so I'll need to be very careful that I don't injure myself.