Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Projects and Pea Gravel

It seems that I can’t seem to stop myself from blogging even when I plan on it. So, here I am…blogging again even though I had planned on reducing the frequency a little. Sometimes, it’s just nice to write. I don’t always get time for working on my novels so this is a good way for me to keep the thoughts flowing.

Lately, I’ve been busy trying to make the most of the balmy fall-ish weather and I’ve been working in the garden. I decided a few weeks ago that the very overgrown weed patch in my garden was getting on my nerves. I’ve been trying to slowly get rid of the weedy areas and plant flowers and things. However, weeds grow so fast and I don’t have time to stand out there and yank the blasted things up as soon as they appear. This results in a bit of a jungle. The dogs like the jungle effect as they like to intrepidly hunt in it for wildlife to chase. I, however, did not like the jungle.

It doesn’t help that this area is a bit prone to floods. I think we have a drainage issue in my area and when it rains a lot, I get a lot of puddles. This means that the nice things I plant there tend to die from too much water but the weeds flourish. I thought about a rain garden but we don’t always get very much rain. Here in the Midwest, we tend to have periods of intense rain followed by several weeks of drought.

Thus, my solution was to create a rustic patio in that corner of my garden. I have a firepit that I bought at the beginning of the summer that is waiting to be used. I had intended to use it on my patio after I built my trellis for privacy. Unfortunately, since I planted the clematis that I intended to grow up it too late, I didn’t get as much privacy as I wanted. It’s a little hard to relax outside with Dog Whisperer’s beasts yapping wildly even though I’m doing nothing but sitting still. Also, with the addition of the trampoline, Son of Dog Whisperer has acquired a whole new collection of neighbourhood friends. I’m actually curious to see what his parents think- the gaggle of kids who moved into the house behind them like to come over now. They look a wee bit too old to be hanging around with an 9 year old boy, honestly. One of them is a pre-teen girl and at the risk of sounding like a dowdy spinster, if she was my kid, I certainly wouldn’t let her leave the house dressed like that. Also, the boy who bounces on the trampoline looks to be going on fourteen or fifteen. It’s not my business though other than the fact that while I think a bonding tool like a trampoline is great for the kids, it’s not so good for us neighbours who want a little rest and relaxation after work.

Thus, I decided to build the rustic patio since it was on the opposite side of the yard to Dog Whisperer’s house and allows some modicum of privacy as it’s tucked away in the corner of the garden. I got most of it done in one day- pulling up the worst of the weeds and trapping the rest beneath landscaping fabric. Then I covered it with pea gravel. Lots and lots of pea gravel. Fortunately, Lowes was having a sale on the gravel and I got a great deal. I ended up using 26 bags of it. Each bag weighs 50 lbs. Who needs a gym when you own a house?

I’m proud of the result. I still haven’t finished but the former jungle is now a clean corner of my yard with a rosebush for decoration. My garden gnomes now have a home. I love gnomes although I don’t like those themed ones with college sports teams that have become popular. Give me a good old fashioned grumpy-looking gnome any day.

I want to finish the patio this weekend. I haven’t decided if I want to get more gravel and expand it or take the easy way out and use mulch instead. The result will be the same- a weed free area that won’t need much maintenance. Since it borders my vegetable patch which is already mulched, it would blend nicely. I’m leaning towards the mulch.

Aside from that, all that remains is to lay a base for the firepit and assemble a garden bench that I ordered on clearance from Home Depot. That’s tonight’s project: assembling a bench. While I’d like to think that it’ll be a piece of cake, I’m not fooling myself. I built a wheelbarrow at the beginning of the summer that was supposed to be ‘easy to assemble’. I’ve discovered that ‘easy to assemble’ for the general world means “difficult for Captain Monkeypants.” I’m a creative creature, I like to think. However, let’s just say when it came to the math and science sections of standardized tests, I didn’t do so well. I tried but, well, I’m better suited to humanities and fields that allow some form of creative license.

Still, when the bench is built, I’ll have something to sit on while I enjoy my firepit. The dogs aren’t thrilled at their diminished jungle but they’re intrigued by the gravel. I’m hoping Sookie stops being startled by the gnomes soon. The new patio is part of the track upon which the girls run when they first go outside and I’ve caught her stopping dead in her tracks to acknowledge the gnomes and sniff them warily.

I’m quite pleased with my patio. It has made me wish just a little that I had a partner, preferably a man who can lift bags of gravel easier than me, to assist me but there is definitely a feeling of accomplishment in doing something like that myself. Hopefully, when it’s done, I’ll have an additional place to sit outside, away from bouncing, screaming children and yipping dogs. I’m quite looking forward to the crisper evenings so that I can light a fire outside, have a cup of tea and enjoy the autumn evenings.

I’m just a little fed up of pea gravel.Maybe it is time to switch to mulch.

Happy Wednesday!

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