Monday, May 6, 2013

boulders and other such obstacles

So I last left you in our yard with the new tools. Yay for new tools! Little did we know, these tools would get used to their full capacity.

Our backyard isn't huge, but it has room enough for a patio of sorts. We decided when we moved in that we'd add one, and Jess had a vision all set out. (Believe me when I say, I freely turned over the yard to him. My only requirements were grass and a place for Belle to plant flowers.) He had decided on pavers, and we basically visited every home and garden store in the valley looking at our options. We found some that we both really loved, and we started the prep work.

Jess also reviewed a bunch of online tutorials to see what he was getting himself into. Now, I'm a DIY blog junky. I think I feel productive when I read other people being productive. Because heaven knows I am not a manual labor girl. So I knew somewhat what he was getting himself into. But NOT REALLY.

On Friday night, Jess started digging out the 12x9 foot square that we'd deemed our patio. He knew it needed to be 6-8 inches deep, and although we both knew it would be some work, little did we know. LITTLE DID WE KNOW. Because turns out, we don't have soil or dirt. WE HAVE A GRANITE ROCK BED. These were the first "small" ones we pulled out, about the size of a man's handspan.

Then later came the friggin boulders. About the size of BOULDERS. You can see the first rocks sitting with THE BOULDERS.

These photos illustrate about 2-3 hours of digging. 

You're welcome for that sweet architectural rendering there,
Jess' pants brought to you by 1985.
It was about the most frustrating thing in the world because you weren't digging out shovelfuls. You were digging out tablespoons of dirt. Literally, because you'd shove your shovel in, hit a giant rock, and come up with nothin'. On Saturday, I started digging too. I mentioned I'm not cut out for manual labor, but I'm not wimpy either. Granted, I'm not my mother who can dead lift a freaking refrigerator BY HERSELF. But I can hold my own, in a chick sort of way. After 5-6 hours of digging and beating the rock bed with shovels, we were maybe 1/3 done. And we were getting fairly hopeless.

At this point, despite recommendations to the contrary, Jess went and bought a pick ax. When he got home, I said, "Hand it over." And boy did I go to town. That tool became not only a life saver, but the best aggression getter outer EVER. We accomplished in two hours what we had the previous half day. Unbelievable.

Here's where she's at now. It's basically dug out. And I went and purchased a pallet of pavers on Saturday evening. So I suppose there is some progress being made. We woke up the next morning sore from our finger tips to our toes. My fingers were so swollen, I couldn't put on any jewelry. I finally just bit the dust and took ibuprofen to get my fingers back in order. 

That said, there was something insanely satisfying about this hard work. I think it was partly because it was something Jess and I could do together while the girls played on the deck (or alternatively while the Sound of Music babysat them. You know it). I think it was partly because it was a giant obstacle, but we did it. At least we got through the first part. I think it was partly because it's ours, our yard, our problem, our vision. We've got a ways to go, no doubt, but we're making it. (We also have sod and plants and a little Annabelle Garden to put in.)

One more thing, I don't think he reads this, but just in case, many thanks to Jess' youngest brother, Tanner. He showed up in the middle of the day to help. He doesn't know this, but it was at the point where physically Jess was gone. I was hanging in, but I'm a girl, and simply not as effective as an eighteen-year-old boy with energy in spades. He also showed up when the giant boulders were uncovered. That boy dead lifted them all out. In short, he was a lifesaver, the breath of fresh air we needed to keep going until evening.

Stay tuned folks. This yard has got miles to go. And how about our little helpers? They make yardwork SO CUTE. :)

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