Monday, April 12, 2010

The Yard

Next month marks eight years in our little "starter" house which will most likely also be our "finishing" house. We really have done quite a lot to improve it through the years, when little chunks of money have come in. We've done major repairs, such as new roof, new furnace...adding central air, and a new water heater. We've made structural changes such as ripping out a "fake" bathroom in our bedroom, pulling down a wall in the basement, pulling down the paneling upstairs and redoing it with drywall. And we've one minor repairs such as putting in carpeting, re-painting almost every wall (some of them several times), and many other repairs that I am forgetting.

Our bathroom is a huge necessary project that will take thousands of dollars, so that will just have to wait.

But every spring, I get motivated to make changes outside. Our house had NO landscaping when we moved in, and I have striven hard to improve it each year.

This year, my plan is to get my lawn back healthy again after a few years of neglecting to fertilize it so I went to Menard's to get some supplies. While I was there, I noticed mailboxes on sale. That is one things that has ALWAYS bothered me about our house. We had a hanging mailbox on the siding with no overhang and for eight years, we have had sopping wet mail every time it rained or snowed. So, at a severely discounted price, knowing I had an accompanying job this week, I texted (yup, texted) a picture home to Steve to see if he thought we should do it.

An hour later, I was happily home with a six foot pole and a mailbox. Steve was NOT happy.

Even though the box and the employee told me I didn't need cement, he was furious that I hadn't bought any and insisted that he couldn't put the post in anyway without a hole digger. So after I went about my own business and let him stew for awhile, I noticed him finally coming out with the shovel and starting to dig.

And dig and dig and dig.

It had to go three feet into the ground. After quite awhile of digging and measuring, the hole was finally ready to place the pole and start refilling it with the dirt. Another battle ensued when I told the boys that it would be a cute picture if they got in the hole and Daddy got mad at both me for suggesting it and the boys for wanting to do it. We compromised after awhile though...using the boys to pack the dirt down after we had filled about two of the three feet back up.

As the hole was almost filled, it was REALLY wobbly in the dirt, and after a little bit more scolding from my hubby about not getting cement, I had an idea. I had removed an entire row of bricks from the front landscaping a couple of weeks ago to allow more sun to get to my crocus that were coming up. I thought maybe we could use four of those down around the post to secure it better. After some finagling to make them fit, since it was so close to the cement steps, it worked and we were able to resume filling in the dirt.

After a little more hemming and hawing, hubby was finally willing to take down the old mailbox for me so we could have the complete look.

Although the story COULD end here, it really doesn't. I was motivated yet again because the mailbox seemed to be sticking out into the middle of the yard, which made me wonder if I should re-do the bricks in our front. I had actually been wanting to re-do them for a number of years, but I wanted to do it right this time

Sunday after church, hubby was nicer about helping me and we set to work. I placed the bricks where I wanted them to go and he dug the trench for me. I spent a couple of hours placing each brick evenly in the ground, instead of just laying them down haphazardly, like before.

We still have work to do. We need to dig the rest of the grass out from the bricked in area and plant some new flora in there, but I really am shocked at how much better it looks.

The boys kept busy in their own ways. I had Noah use the wheel barrow to get yet another scouting elective accomplished, and then they kept busy with the neighbors collecting all the bugs that we dug up while we were placing the bricks. It was all good until Noah brought the bugs in the house overnight and proceeded to spill them all over his carpet before school Monday morning. I was glad that he had already been taught to use the vacuum and after quite the event, the message that "bugs stay outside" was driven home quite well.

I LOVE yard work. I love that I can get dirty, sweaty and stinky for a couple of hours and then walk away with a vastly improved area.

So there's my tackle for the week. There will definitely be more to come as I continue to work at the area, but right now I'm going to head out to look at it again.


Stacey,momof 2 said...

LOVE It... my Dad retired from the post office-- and I do believe he would be very pleased to hear about how much time and energy you put into installing your new mailbox! I like how you described Steve-- in a very nice postive light I would say!

The Bumbles said...

I see that Steve, like most hubbies, fulfills the role of the digger. If he is anything like my dad, he probably hates it, but does it anyway because he has to admit, your vision is a good one. The redesigned bed looks terrific!