The Romans really had it figured out – hot and cold baths in which to soothe their conquest-induced aches and pains. I guess having an army of slaves to boil water and make steam helped as well. At our previous house, we had a hot-tub installed, mostly to help Josée with her many soccer related injuries. I must admit that I actually used it a lot more than I figured I would. Well, after many months of delay, we decided to get another one. We’ll use it now and then if/when we turn this house into a vacation rental, the tub will be an added attraction. Stop by sometime for a soak!
A post with no theme, organization or message – let’s call it miscellaneous ramblings. Hmm…well, it was an interesting week. Early in the week, I was in Gold River for a couple of reasons. I stopped to take a photo of the magnificent view over the spine of the Island and was caught in a snowstorm for about five kilometres! I spent some time helping neighbour G with his driveway, taking out the organic ready for gravel to be added and grading the area. We moved a huge pile of detritus out the back of his place. The next day his gravel arrived so Bob and I went over and graded it all out flat and level plus re-worked his existing driveway, filling in holes and smoothing the whole area. It turned out nicely. It was my birthday this week and I got a great treat in the form of a Lucky cake. One of Dad’s students from years ago is a talented cake maker and she crafted the masterpiece. Thursday night we had a big burn, torching an absolutely massive pile of debris, an old doghouse, rotten boards and branches. Bob helped accelerate the process as we piled up the material into a towering inferno of flame reaching at least ten feet into the night sky! The fire was so hot that when I cleaned up the pile on Saturday morning, the bricks in the firepit were still too hot to grab without gloves. Bob helped me clean up the burn pile area and I’ll seed this to grass in a couple weeks. Oh, I started the other section of retaining wall as well – got to get that ready for planting in a short while.
If you want to cause yourself some frustration, angst and general “I’ve had it with this !&#(%@ project” feelings, just build a wall and try to get it level in three dimensions. A project I’ve tried to get underway for the last two months finally came to fruition yesterday. I’m wrapping the front and side of our house with a small retaining wall, behind which I will plant various flowers, shrubs and even banana trees! I did a bit of reading about retaining walls and the most consistently repeated advice was “make sure the first course is level”. What I did not know (until I spent several fruitless hours on my knees, cursing like a trooper) is that in order to have a level first course, one assumes that the bricks/blocks being used are of a consistent, exact shape. This really helps. Anyway, I set and re-set multiple bricks only to find that they were level horizontally but not front to back; or level front to back but not against the lie of the land ~ very frustrating!
Eventually I came to the realization that I was not going to be able to make a perfect wall and that once it was set, planted and settled with some rain, it would look just fine. So I began digging a trench lined with gravel, setting the bricks of the first and second courses, filling them with gravel, re-grading the driveway and filling the bed with dirt, ready for planting. It took quite awhile but after fifteen or twenty bricks, I started to get into the swing of it. The wall still has a little tilt but overall it is not bad. Bob and I moved a bunch of gravel to make the driveway look better plus we filled the space behind the retaining wall with dirt, ready for planting.
Now I just have to start the other side of the house!
I re-worked the driveway in August, adding a new parking space out the front of the house, top dressing the existing driveway and adding road crush to the back section as it was mostly made of dirt and weeds! Over the last few months, the gravel has packed nicely, compacted by vehicles and rain. Some bare patches were starting to show through as the gravel settled so it was time to re-dress the existing driveway.
My tractor proved to be a huge asset with this type of project. I had another dump truck and pup full of driveway chips which equated to hundreds of wheel-barrow loads. Bob and I moved the gravel, graded and packed it all within a few short hours; he’s certainly earning his keep. I was able to add gravel around our front stairs as well so the first step is now short one, rather than a great effort. I now just have to edge the driveway and compact the gravel a bit more. A few more rains to clear the fines and it should like great!
PS…the recent drainage projects worked like a hot damn in these recent monsoon rains!