Patrick flew down to spend the weekend helping us with the yards. We pay him for his manual labor in BBQ and beer. It seems to be working so far.
The yard and it’s “quirks” are becoming quite frustrating and causing more and more delays in getting anything finished. Perhaps it’s one of the hands you’re dealt with home ownership. It feels like we have more than normal. This weekend we had planned to finish filling our raised vegetable garden with dirt from the front yard. Then we planned to till the front again and dig out the existing sprinkler system. And, if time allowed, we’d begin installing a new sprinkler system. Sounded great to me. Well… we only got so far before we hit some bumps… or roots.
We got the vegateble bed filled. I purchased some organic compost from the nursery down the street and we mixed it with the existing dirt. I planted a bunch of strawberries in the lower level. Bill wanted to plant some tomatoes in the upper level, but the nursery was all out of tomato plants. It’s a little late in the season to start a new tomato plant, but our local Lowe’s had some pretty large tomato plants last week, so maybe we’ll pick up a couple. I figure towards the end of October, we’ll plant sugar snap peas or green beans in the upper level and maybe some winter squash in the bottom. I’ll do some research and see what all of my options are.
With the vegetable bed essentially finished, we went to work on the front. We still have too much dirt in the front yard, the vegetable bed didn’t use all of it. We created a pile and will put a sign on it saying “free dirt.” Maybe we’ll get lucky. In the mean time we have a place to hide, shoot, and throw grenades from incase our neighborhood comes under attack.
As we were digging, we came across countless roots from the very large tree that the city planted on the other side of our sidewalk years ago. As Bill was running the tiller, it would buck and bounce whenever it came across a large root, impeding his progress. It’s been a wonderful help being able to borrow Doug’s hefty tiller, but it’s just not muching through the soil well enough… and it’s not meant to cut through roots that are three, four, or five inches thick. We finally gave up with the tiller and tried to dig out some of the roots. There were so many, that we all had to stop and brainstorm our options… our neighbor Glen, who’s lived in his house for fifty years, had some insight for us as well.
Patrick working on one of the medium-sized roots. You can see the tree trunk of the offending tree behind him. I suppose we could ask the city to cut down the tree… but then we’d loose valuable shade on our west-facing house. And I know the city would just take the tree… they wouldn’t do anything about the roots on the other side of the sidewalk.
One of the bigger roots…
About ready to give up. We did unearth a very rusty sprinkler pipe… of course it runs underneath the concrete walkway.
It’s going to take many more weekends to get all of this ground tilled, roots removed, and dirt prepared to plant sod. Aside from it being exhausting and time-consuming, we don’t know if we are causing damage to the tree in the front. The root system has raised up the earth and made it increasingly difficult for the tree to get the amount of water it needs, when it rains, the water doesn’t really soak in, it just runs off. The trees that line our street are obviously not getting enough water, because large branches break off in high winds or during winter storms. This water issue is the reason why we are having to install a new front lawn in the first place. The old lawn died and had been planted on layer upon layer of dead lawn. The water wasn’t soaking through to the soil anymore. Yet, according to city ordinance, we have to have a front lawn or we might be fined. Oi! I just wish there was a magic machine we could rent that would munch through the rock hard soil and roots and just get it done. We talked about finding a local Boy Scout troop or Jr Varsity Football team and giving them a bunch of shovels with a promise to pay them in pizza and sodas… I wonder if that would work.
Gladly accepting suggestions and/or recommendations.