Thursday, May 28, 2015


I took the day off work so that I could continue on the Backyard Project.  
I took most of the top layer off, which was mostly round rocks and the red cinders underneath.  I've nowhere to put all this material anymore.  So, I'm making a pile.  We'll deal with it all later.

Here's what it looks like afterwards.  The new pond will be where all those round rocks still are.

You can see the empty old pond, which still needs to be dug out.

Here's the pile of 15 wheelbarrow loads.
I quit after 15 wheelbarrow loads.  I was getting tired and it was getting very hot out.

Ended up being around 80 degrees today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Seen at the Cedar Hills Landfill, where I work.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Spent a few hours this afternoon shoveling the rocks out of the old plastic pool.  It confuses me as to why whoever put this pond in put in a three foot deep pool, then filled it with rocks.
I also struggled trying to get that fern out of there.  I started out trying to be gentle and save as much roots as possible.  But after fighting with it for a while, I gave up and started hacking at it until it was out and I was bruised and battered.  There was still a substantial amount of root mat.  I took it out to the front yard and planted it in it's new home and wished it luck.  It is a very nice fern.  Live long and prosper.

Lots of mud and rocks.

Darrell came and helped, too.

Here's what it looked like after - fern gone.

Pond empty, now I need to get it out of the ground.

There are still a lot of rocks to move, including the very large one above.  I'm worried it's going to fall into that pond hole - and we'd never get it out!
Once I get the rocks moved, I can start digging the old pond out of there.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Shovel, sort, dump.  Shovel, sort, dump.

There appears to be no end in sight.

Sifting the dirt out of the rocks.


Another wheelbarrow load emptied.

Starting down the other side.

I guess I made a little progress.
That's enough for one day.

I think I moved eleven wheelbarrow loads of dirt and about that of rocks today.
I'm tired.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Next I've got to level and prep the area behind the house for the new patio area and walkway.  That entails removing a lot of material, separating the rocks from the dirt and moving it all somewhere else.

I'm removing and saving the red bricks to be used as a border.

Removing dirt and rocks and preparing the site.

Lots of rocks need to find another home.

I put everything through a wire mesh to separate the rocks from the dirt.

There will be lots and lots of wheelbarrows full to move.

My back is getting sore.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Part of big Backyard Project requires removing the stepping stones that are there.  I call them Flowers because they look like flowers.  They were poured-in-place stepping stones that have probably been there for 50 years.  We were conflicted about getting rid of them.  They have character and add some interest.  There are more in the front yard, too.  But the area surrounding them really looked bad.  
My bright idea was to move them to the front yard and place them next to the exisiting sidewalk.  All of the walkways here are extremely narrow and almost useless.  The one in the front yard especially because the foliage hangs over it and forces you off.  In the winter you're walking in the moist lawn (mud sometimes).
So the next big question was should I just move them out of the way for now and tackle the front yard project at a later date, or place them as I moved them?
I opted for placing them in their new home as I moved them.  I'm glad I did.

I forgot to to take a before picture,
here is after I've place several of the flowers.

I used a dolly to move them.
I dug the dirt away, leveled the area and then placed the flower.
Then put the dirt back around them.

I used a big pry bar to lift them out of the ground.
Here's where they used to be.

Right near the end, in the shallowest part I discoverd some large roots.
They were from a tree on the other side of the sidewalk that we removed last year.
I had to get the axe out and hack them out of there.  No fun.

Of course they didn't come out spaced evenly,
so I added some broken pieces to fill in.

The red brick outline really makes it nice.
I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


I took the day off work so I could finish up the walkway.  I hated thinking of it being half done.  I finished off one pallet of pavers exactly.  (Two more to go).

Pavers all down

Mixing concrete to fill in the gap

I added rocks to the concrete in the gaps

All done.

Add the border of red bricks, need to cut the rest to fit.

Added some rocks here and there for fun.

After several hours, I went back and sprayed it with water and broom it to expose some of the rocks in the concrete

Exposing the aggregate in the concrete

Done for the day.

Friday, May 08, 2015


This morning I went down to my favorite rental center, White Center Rentals (love this place), and picked up a Plate Compactor.  Heavy bastard.  Darrell helped me unload it and get it running, but I ran it up and back on my walkway quite a few times.  It kicked my butt.  It almost got away from me a few times.  And when all was said and done, I don't think I really needed it.  Live and learn.  What a chore getting it back into the pickup.  Thankfully, Darrell has a forklift of sorts (Big Joe) that we used.

Then the fun began.  Darrell made some new jigs for me so I could skreed the sand to the proper level.  After that it was just a matter of laying the pavers down, one by one.

There was a lot of wheelbarrowing of sand and pavers, but it went pretty fast.

The first pavers laid.

and a few more...

Starting into the slanted area...

This is where I stopped for the day.

This is what I have left to do of the walkway.
Everytime I went out to the driveway to get more sand or pavers, I walked by our big Rhododendren that is blooming the most fragrant white flowers.  It was intoxicating.  It made the day most pleasant.

I'm sore and bruised and battered, and somehow I managed to get one little blister on my hand.  But, this is greatly satisfying work.

Thursday, May 07, 2015


Had to hang around the house today waiting for the delivery truck from Mutual Materials.  They wouldn't even give us a time frame or a phone call.

I spent the morning putting some of the rocks back!

I wanted to make the edge where the pavers will be next to the sidewalk.  It was hard work.  Darrell helped me place a very big one at the end for a corner piece.  [Later I decided it was in the wrong spot, and now we need to move it so we will have more room to walk.]

Mom stopped by.  We were planning on going out to lunch, but since I wanted to be there when the pavers came, we went and got some take-out sandwiches from Eats Market Cafe.  Rueben sandwiches for everyone.  They were great.  Mom really like the coleslaw.

The truck showed up a little after lunch.  Now I have to start getting them out of the driveway!

Bentley lays claim to the pavers.

After Mom left I went back to work and got this end leveled and almost ready to go.

Here's the new row of rocks.

Here's the other end, by the garden shed.

Hopefully, tomorrow I can start laying some pavers down!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


There's a Camillia bush stump in the way.  Darrell and I made an attempt at digging it out, but it was too much for us.

I decided to go hire some day-help from the guys that hang out in front of Home Depot.

While there I purchased some red bricks to solve a problem up by the garden shed.

Jose was a very hard worker.  He had that stump out in about an hour.

I then put him to work digging out the two fir tree stumps flanking our front porch.  We've been hoping they would rot and go away, but of course they haven't.

Jose spent several more hours on that and got them out, too.  He saved us so much work and pain.

It's out!

It is looking so good.  That is the jig Darrell made for me.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


I started in on the back part by the garden shed.  There was alot of raking and shoveling of those horrible 1-1/2" washed rocks.  I've been screening them and separating the dirt from the rocks.

The rocks then go up by where we park our trailer and the dirt goes into the garden.

Monday, May 04, 2015


I've had a head cold since last week, but I'm feeling a little better.  Definitely don't feel like sitting around doing nothing anymore.  So, I'm back at it.

Started working on the rear part back by the garden shed.

Went to Home Depot and ordered the pavers.  There will be three pallets delivered on Thursday.  I better get to working.