Things I learned while working on my backyard

This summer was supposed to be all about Project Reclaim The Backyard. Unfortunately the scheduling of this project conflicted with Jersey’s monsoon season (yes, I already used this joke on Twitter/Facebook). It started strongly enough, as I cut down hundreds of feet of vines in a couple weekends, but their actual disposal has dragged on for a couple months. Still, we got a patio installed so that The Woman and Kayleigh can hang out and watch me drop rocks on my foot and branches on my head for the rest of the summer/fall. It’s a family thing.

For the past week the crux of the work has been removing the remainder of the shoddy walkway that used to lead to the basement door. There is still no definite plan for replacement, but walking on dirt is a better alternative to navigating the concrete minefield that was left behind by an unnamed backhoe operator. And at the very least, I finally got to use the sledgehammer that was left behind in our basement. That’s a lot of fun – at least when the concrete is less than 2 inches thick. My next lesson will hopefully involve how to dispose of broken slabs of concrete.

After wiping out the walkway, I learned just how heavy Belgian Block is – VERY. I also learned that wheel barrows are not very good at transporting 6 or more blocks o’ Belgian at a time – especially when rolling them over the muddy holes they were dug out of. So the migration of blocks to another corner of the yard became a week long process because carrying one at a time significantly reduces the chance of breaking a foot but has the unfortunate side effect of taking way too long and tiring me out way too quickly. Maybe that stone fort I had planned is not such a good idea…

But by next spring, gosh darn it, we will have a usable backyard. Either that, or I’m going to start subletting it to a small farmer.

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