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australia, ocean

Detours off Britta Blvd

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labor is the key word! ;)
australia, ocean
brittadotcom
I hope you all had a relaxing holiday weekend...I however am still more exhausted than I've been in a long time! As my dad said "I haven't been this tired in at least 20 years!" Why you ask? Well, since there are some garden projects on my list that needed either extra hands or other expertise than just myself, I had requested awhile back if my dad could help me at some point, so we had agreed on Labor Day Project Weekend. I was already at my vacation accrual cap anyway, so I took a 5-day weekend, but then I got that darn cold, so my parents decided to give me an extra day for the germs to disperse before coming up on Thursday during the day. They brought both Labs, including cute little Elsie the puppy, so Kylie the Kitty was not pleased & hid in my bedroom closet all day long as the dogs were roaming.

Day Minus 1 - While still feeling awful & weak from my cold after a very long day at work since I'd be gone for 2 days, Wednesday night I unloaded 340 free bricks out of the truck to the back patio all by myself...took about 3 hrs since I had to keep taking rest breaks & only could take 2 bricks at a time...ugh!


Day Zero - prepping only, but it was labor too!

I was ready by 8am after getting to sleep at 3:45am, but the guys weren't actually ready until 9am, which gave me some much-needed last-minute housecleaning time. Mom & Dad arrived with the dogs about 1pm just as the Sacred Places guys & I were just finishing unloading the other 1032 bricks & cubic yard of sand. The new sprinkler plan was designed in the afternoon, staked out with leftover yarn, & Dad got some of the giant agapanthus dug out plus a trip to Home Depot to buy the sprinkler pipe & fittings. I had to take my shower, get ready, finish dessert, wrap the gift & head up to Pacifica for a co-worker's goodbye party for the evening.



Day One - the real labor begins!

Friday was a little cooler than Thursday, but I still wore my glasses only because sweat pouring into eyes with contact lenses does not equal anything pleasant or good, let alone able to see. Looking at the list below you can see we got a lot done, stopping about 8pm for a trip to Lowe's with Mom while Dad kept working, picking up pizza for dinner on the way back.

completely new plan for sprinklers to avoid being under patio for future repairs but still have proper coverage
used power edger to cut trench lines
dug out all new sprinkler trenches
dug out other half of giant agapanthus
new corner downspout drainage pipe follows new sprinkler trenches well past 10ft out from house corner
inspect other downspout drainage issues how to tackle those if necessary - thankfully those look okay
Mom weeded entire front corner bed, laid weed fabric & added bark
Mom started weeding other front beds
Dad fixed gate by garage - shaved off again
Dad fixed other side gate latch & trimmed across top to fit better under arbor
bought 12 more bags of bark for front, last couple sprinkler fittings & conduit for under patio



Day Two - the labor continues...

After a quick breakfast, we were so close to finishing the sprinkler system that we cranked that out, then continued with the rest on the list. My mom had decided her mission was the front yard, which was not originally on my list, but I'm thankful it got done too! Another day of working until dark, when my Dad & I got Armadillo Willy's BBQ which was mighty tasty & deserved after such hard work!

Dad & me - finish sprinklers & test - success! :)
Dad & me - redo little white fence & make it shorter (in line with front of shed but same vertical height)
Dad & me - started leveling out dirt for patio & walkway base - grade from concrete slab down to sod?
Dad plugged the one drip that went inside conduit
Dad installed conduit for extension cord & drip tube to protect under brick
Mom weeded most of front except bermuda grass
Mom pruned out front (juniper bushes, alyssum, lavender, daises)
Mom laid more bark in front beds
Mom cleaned up pebble walkway (more pebbles, trimmed black plastic peeking through)
took out red brick edgers in front to prep for laying weed blocker fabric & bark
edged bermuda grass & sprayed RoundUp prepping for smothering - blech!
mowed front lawn
edged front lawn
pruned ferns
transplanted all 3 ferns to front & pot
transplanted peter pan agapanthus to front



Day Three - and now the conclusion...or is it?

We finally got an earlier start after yummy sourdough pancakes, determined to get as much of the list completed as possible, working into the dark to finish the bench structure, finally with dinner around 10pm! Now realize that my list was a wish list that I did not expect to be fully completed, but as much as we could get done I'd be thankful for regardless. We didn't finish my list, and my patio is still to be finished, but we really got a LOT done!

checked roof & downspouts with stepladder - raked some seed pods off metal roof
planted the agapanthus in back corner
Dad kept leveling out dirt for patio & walkway base - grade = 1 brick down from concrete slab down to sod
Dad & me (Mom is really allergic to bermuda grass) - rip out/weed whack bermuda grass
Dad trimmed end of drip line to extend from valve down to conduit
Dad put weed blocker fabric on leveled walkway & patio
Dad (to show me the technique) started laying brick in sand over weed blocker fabric
Mom & me - cover bermuda grass with weed blocker fabric - reset red brick edgers to hold down weed fabric
Mom put more bark out front
Mom moved most of river rock out to front with bark to have a "feature" that also smothered the bermuda grass ;)
Dad & I fixed front sprinkler - was leaking
put old pipes away by back fence for now
Dad & I built my arbor bench supplementing arbor kit - top beams & center brace complete - still needed to buy wood for sides, front & back pieces



Collateral Damage - worth it for all the work we got done!

You'd think any damage inflicted on my house would have been from the puppy, right? heh...you don't know my mom...she gives "blonde" a whole new meaning! heehee... ;)

Elsie chewed up the only thoughtful gift I received from the ex of my longest-term relationship - heh
Elsie chewed one of the solid rubber braces for my coffeetable
Elsie & Tule knocked over my glass coffeetable entirely - thankfully not broken!
Elsie must like Holyrood Abbey, since she chose that snapshot from the coffeetable to drag out into the yard to show us all ;)
Elsie chewed the most expensive remote I own, of course! At least it still works, but it sure isn't pretty!
Elsie nibbled on a cordless phone, but at least only a few tooth scuffs vs. actual chewing
Mom walked into the screen door & took it ALL THE WAY OFF! sheesh! It's a bit sticky now but we got it back on...


As my parents left on Labor Day, I finally took a little rest, since I knew I had to last through rehearsal, and my congestion wasn't fully gone yet. I finished the laundry & did some bills, then went to Home Depot to get the 1x4s to finish the bench, and had them cut them there since my dad took his circular saw with him. I did haul the rest of the river rock out to the front, then I also got most of the boards onto the bench before I had to leave for rehearsal. Last night I finished the bench construction & weeded the front side yard a little more, which was the only section my mom didn't have the chance to weed for me. All in all, a very productive weekend, but boy do I still have work to do and I'm still exhausted!



Backyard after Labor Day Project Weekend




Front yard after Labor Day Project Weekend - Dad & Mom are rightfully proud! :)


If you're interested in seeing all the Labor Day Project Weekend photos, it's easier just to start here on page 7 & keep going to the end of the album:

Britta's Garden at Brittahytta

Still much too much to get done before I leave for Oktoberfest in Munich on the 26th...ACK! ...but tonight I need some sleep...haven't gone to bed this early in a long time, but I am wiped out...

update: I don't really have any good before photos, definitely not at the same angles, but here are some to compare...we jumped straight into doing work, completely forgetting to take the immediate before photos, which is why I started taking daily progress photos in the morning before we started working again...



Backyard Oct 2005 before my offer was accepted - plants had grown a LOT in the meanwhile



Front Yard June 2006 after the liquid amber tree was removed - can't see the mess that was the front beds though

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Wow... nice progress. I like the look of the front yard, and the back yard is surely close!

I have to say I laughed out loud as I read the list of casualties and came across your MOM ripping the screen off after all that stuff Elsie did. Thank you for starting off my day so jovially. Incidentally, I hope the screen came out okay. ;)

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