Monday, August 23, 2010
The final PUSH to finish my never-ending landscape renovation didn't produce much result. Since my spouse left, we had three big storms, so half the week it was just too muddy to make a lot of progress.
Recent rains have saved me plenty on my water bill, but they also caused an enormous growth spurt in grass, weeds, and the front hedges, so Sunday I was forced to deal with all that instead of my backyard project.
I worked from 7am until almost 4, when I came in the house to tend to a couple loads of laundry and take a shower. I had just enough time to make it to the airport to pick him up.
After a quick dinner (who can resist Mexican food?) we came home to relax. We both welcomed an evening in bed staring at the television.
I'm all registered for school, and carrying 13 credits this semester. I was actually leaning toward less school and more travel, but school won. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel: after this semester, there won't be many classes left for me to take, and I can travel again if I want to.
My neighbors and I have been seeing a lot of eachother, since I am always outside. I've gotten closer to the folks across the back alley, and our dogs are buddies. We let our pets have impromtu play dates while I show them the landscape progress. Yesterday, my next door neighbor to the east said "I don't know what kind of magic energy potion you're on, but I want some of it. You're just a nonstop miracle worker! What you're doing back there is amazing." This morning, I joined my back-fence neighbor for some dog walking, and she complimented my work as well, saying "When you're done back here, you'll have the nicest house on the block." It sure felt good.
Since I've been working outside so much, I've heard more and more compliments from neighbors... people I never met before. Meeting new friends, and hearing such kind words has been truly wonderful. It keeps my spirits up when my body is aching. The front porch wine parties I'm getting invited to aren't bad either.
Well, my haircolor should be just about finished processing now, so I'm off to get ready for class.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I have literally been working all day. I started laundry, sweeping, and mopping before 7am, sawed some dead limbs from 20' up in my neighbors tree, and began digging the foundation for wall #2 in my own back yard.
It is just after 7pm, and I just got out of the shower and logged on. I'm too exhausted to cook. I suggested to my spouse to rustle us up some grub, but I even feel too exhausted to eat. And frankly, I doubt we have anything other than frozen pizza.
The best thing was accomplished today- the back gate is finished. My spouse mounted it to the fence and installed the beautiful iron hardware. Now I have a gate that actually has a latch and handles, instead of a hook and eye.
We will salvage some of the old fence to patch the gap where the elm used to be, because I'm not ready to re-fence the ENTIRE back yard.
So much work was done today. Thank God for cooler weather! As I impressed upon my spouse, I want to complete the entire project by the 21st, which leaves us only one week in which to do it.
Here's one more look at my Elephant Ears:
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The landscape project grinds on. I'm tired of working on it so long, but I'm motivated to finish as quickly as possible, because I've got a lot more to worry about than the landscape in my backyard.
Here we can see wall #1 laid down, and the curve in place.
Although every stone has already been dug in, leveled, and set, I'm just not SATISFIED with how I dug, leveled, and set them, so I'm redoing all of it.
So much time on such a tiny space! Almost inconceivable.
I know I'll be finished ONE DAY.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
During these dog-days of sweltering 100+ degree weather, I haven't missed a single day of outside work. It's been slower and sweatier, but the digging, sawing and painting continue unabated.
My backyard renovation is coming along, but the operative word is 'slower'. I have virtually no help. My spouse's contribution has been limited to operating two small power tools... which is done pretty much while standing motionless, and amounts to less than an hour thus far, so it hardly counts.
The easiest task has been painting. I have restained the deck in dark brown. It is a lovely, rich, opaque color, and has a matte finish. The new fence is the same color, and almost disappears behind the wall of plant material that is being installed (by me), making the colors of the foliage and flowers really pop. It's looking great.
The most gruelling and frustrating task has been the stone retaining walls.
Dismantling the walls (that I built over ten years ago) was difficult enough, what with the weight of the stones. But building the new walls has defeated me. I am still at square one, and I can only do so much planting before the walls are constructed.
I had NO trouble whatsoever ten years ago. Sure, the stones were just as heavy then, and setting each one precisely level was quite a chore, but NOW, I have a plan to follow. I must lay them in a straight line for 14 feet, then curve them to meet another wall. I have laid the same 5-foot section FIVE TIMES. I just can't seem to lay a straight line. I even went to the trouble to run a marking line, but for the life of me, I can't follow it. I finally bought a 16 foot long plank, put it down, secured it with rebar, and dug a trench beside it. I hope to hell it works this time.
Off to the store for more paint and hardware.
Monday, July 05, 2010
While gardening might count as cardio for Sparkpoints, my waistline tells me it doesn't count for much else. I'm making some changes.
Every month, I tell myself I'm gonna do better. I'm gonna eat like I used to, I'm gonna jog like I used to, and I'm track everything like I used to.
I'd read the article about the need for us over-40s to work out at least an hour a day if we are trying to drop weight, and I told myself that I would do just that.
Well, when yesterday rolled around, I realized I was letting yet another month get the best of me. It was four days in and once again, I was slacking off on my "commitment". I decided to correct the situation immediately... and proceeded to go for a four hour walk.
It wasn't a bad way to start the day, if you have the time (I knew I had the time). I left just before 6am, and straggled home just before the temperature soared into triple digits.
Admittedly, my pace slowed to a crawl after the third hour, but I'm vindicated. I'm totally caught up on my exercise.
Now comes the part where I have to make good on my eating....
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