Showing posts from June, 2011

After the Rain

Just when we were really getting somewhere, it rained. And rained and rained and rained. We're tough, but the last weekend kind of kicked our asses, so we weren't about to power through downpours to keep laying brick. It was also the last week of school for me and the kids during all this rain, so we sat out (or in, as it were) for several days. Which brings us, once again, to a Sunday. Sunday These are the bricks I laid on Sunday. This whole run along the house is 62 feet long and 8 feet wide. It takes 4.5 bricks to cover a square foot, so through the magic of math you can figure that I picked up and put down about 2,232 bricks that day. Not a bad day's work, right? This amount of work doesn't get done without a system, and here is ours. First,  Kirk puts down 1-inch PVC pipes, then covers them with stone dust. The PVC rails help measure the amount of stone dust and lets us keep the same amount across the entire surface. Once the dust is dumped in, K

Weekend Warriors

Saturday Lest you think that Kirk did all the work on this, allow me to share what we did with Glenn on Saturday, June 17. That shovel and rake in the foreground were in my hands a lot more than they were on the ground, and I have some nice, tough calluses to prove it. Job number one (after bringing the kids home from piano lessons) was to shovel dirt up against all the sides of the raised beds and tamp it down to hold the wooden sides in place for the stone dust. Kirk and Glenn wheelbarrowed nearly endless amounts of stone dust into the path areas, and I raked it smooth and filled in all the gaps. This happened in three of the four quadrants (the ones with the maze-y paths). For reference, these are the areas we were working on. The yellow indicates the part with the stone dust; the brown sort-of-concentric "Cs" are planting areas. The planting beds are 4 feet wide; the stone paths between are 3 feet wide, except for the larger square in the middle. After the

All in a Week's Work

June 13, 2011 One of several perks of Kirk's new position at the hospital is that he works in a smaller department, and was therefore able to get a second week of vacation during the summer (due to decreased competition for the popular dates). His second week off miraculously coincided with the week that Glenn was able to come and work on the back yard with the Bobcat and actual expertise, so the two of them worked together to get the raised beds in place. Meanwhile, I got to go to work and return home to enjoy significant, near-magical progress every day. For example, here's what I saw Monday, and I was so excited I ran in the house to grab the camera: So it took about a day to screw together the 2x12s to form the edges for the raised beds you see here. The sawing and building part was actually pretty quick, but getting the boxes into place was another issue. See Kirk digging? He had to move just about all the dirt that was roughed into place because it wasn't in q

Breaking Ground

What We've Been Up To For all of our friends who might be wondering where we went, we've been busy. Intensely, physically busy (finally!) getting our garden started. One of the major reasons we moved to Newburyport—and in particular to this house with a half acre of sunny, flat yard—was to expand our vegetable garden. Our goal is to feed ourselves throughout the whole year by growing our own produce and (eventually) raising our own eggs and maybe keeping bees for honey. Although we considered it (briefly), we don't live on a farm, so the garden design needs to be part of a suburban backyard where kids can play and we can have friends over for cookouts and birthday parties (like normal people). We were inspired by the idea of intensive gardening in French potagers (kitchen gardens) that make use of every inch of ground, and are located directly by the kitchen rather than being hidden in the "way back" of the yard. They are often decorative, and that's what