Monday, August 29, 2011

In the Trenches: Progress

In the beginning, this was the side of the house.  The sidewalk had heaved upward, creating a stupid, funhouse-style tilt. 

After D smashed all the concrete
Drainage trench dug, dirt added, gravel on top of drainage pipe, fence missing

So we bought two red brick paving squares, wanting to see how we would like the look of a series of stepping stones as a concrete replacement.  I like them well enough.  We could just run to Lowe's and round out the space with five red brick pavers.  But we have already have all of these stones and bricks and rocks in the yard, courtesy of all of the owners before us who just piled them up and left them and/or buried them for us to find like treasure.  Yes, I am cheap, but also I can't abide the idea that they might end up going to waste, unable to fulfill their stony destiny. 

I'm also cheap.

Paver template
So I started to heft some of the pre-existing stone finds and mix and mess them up with the red brick pavers.  This is the pattern I thought wouldn't be bad.  I wanted to dig the dirt up and see what they would look like with just a half inch or so protruding from the ground (IE not enough sticking out to trip over, but enough so that the dirt won't continually overtake them).  But we haven't leveled it yet, so I'll have to be patient.  I think I'll end up with 2-1-3-1-2, rather than the 2-1-2-1-2 you see in the photo above.  The spacing's just not right.  Of course the surface isn't leveled yet.  I have just enough white sandstone bricks to do that.  Hopefully I don't drop one.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, the rest of the trench is getting dug and leveled.  This is not fun work.  This is what it looked like before.  With stumps. 

D ripped the stumps out with his spite and sheer manliness, or so he told me
This is what the space looks like now, with the drainage pipe half in and half out of the whole.  It's connected in a tunnel we made underneath the sidewalk in front of the side door.  We leveled this part of the trench, but....

This was the easy part

The trench curves underneath the sidewalk.  This is the second under-sidewalk-drain-tunnel that has been dug on the side of the house.   The earth is packed clay and roots, and its been terrible.  We began with the shovel, and then progressed with maddening slowness by twirling a trowel in the hole, but progress has become so abysmal that D ended up using the prybar to desperately try to scrape deeper and deeper under the sidewalk. I myself tried sinking the trowel into the clay and tapping it with the sledgehammer to get some penetration.  It's been slow going, and knuckle-scraping.


It seems that we've been stymied by this ridiculously huge root.  Which is two car lengths away from the nearest tree, and yet very shallow.  What is it doing here?!  We've yet to connect the two sides of the tunnel because we think the root curves around and is blocking any progress forward with the trowel.  D attacked it with a number of approaches and tools, even bent his hardened steel breaker bar, to no avail.  We gave up Sunday evening when the bugs chased us indoors. 

Enter your favorite wurty-durd here

 While we worked, one of the neighbors popped over to let us know that she was living underneath our porch.  Which is fine.  Ideal, really.
Startled the crap out of me, For a moment I thought she was Yuuki

I take this to mean no vermin under the deck.  She's totally tame, I clucked my tongue at her and she popped up like a daisy and rubber her face into my hand.  And the food I set there?  No real interest. 

Between the cat under the porch and the lazarus lizards in the front, I think we're all set!

Right in front of the solar light.  See him?  They're tough to photograph!

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