I did a significant project in the yard over the last weekend. It all started, looking for a solution to unwanted guests on the premises. Some creature or other had burrowed under the steps at the front of the house. The eventuality was that we ended up with mice in the basement. The exterminator was called, but I still had a hole in the garden bed to the right of the stairs. It was recommended that I not only fill the hole, but top the area with a couple or three inches of gravel, and if I were so inclined, patio stones to ensure no further nesting.
On hearing the news, my BIL called to say they had a significant amount of clay just sitting - from digging in their basement for a sump pump installation. Turned out to be a win-win, although I didn't take all the clay off their hands.
The project went something like this:
I went to my favourite mason supply yard and grabbed a half-yard of 3/4"-crush gravel.
As I was shovelling a layer in between the step and the highly over-grown Mock Orange bush, my neighbour Jim came over to offer up a few neighbourly suggestions. The first of which was to use his gas-powered hedge trimmer to cut back the overgrowth. As he trimmed, we discussed strategy and decided it was so overgrown that a haircut close to the ground would be best. We'd done this a few years ago and, as with a hedge, it allows for new growth. I won't see any blooms this year, but will be able to keep tabs on its size and shape as it grows.
This is the result, a short, stubby root ball. It doesn't look like much now, but come Spring, it will yield a great little green starter-shrub. I also didn't take any intermediate pics, so you get to see the completed patio stone project.
It not only makes a great little platform for showcasing potted plants (or for now, potted last-year-leftovers), it also provides a triple-layer protection against unwanted residents!
I had two projects in mind when I grabbed the clay from my sister's place. A few years back, ATCO, our local supplier of natural gas, did a city-wide project aimed at relocating gas meters at residences where the meters were located inside the house. I'll have to check, can't remember if I blogged about it when it happened, but when they horizontally drilled to insert the sleeve into which the gas line would run, I'd noticed they chalk-lined right over top the covers for the fire pit. I brought it to the attention of the site foreman, and he stood over my fire pit with his jaw on the ground. they rerouted the line, but over time, the soil at the meter location has sunk. I used the clay to fill in the hole. It worked like a charm, and I'd actually estimated the amount of clay for both projects quite well...
...the gravel, on the other hand, was available only by the half-cube. I have a significant amount left over, and offering to trade up at my sister's was met with, "...there's still snow in the yard - not til the the snow's gone..." So, the gravel will find a temporary home to the left of the driveway so as not to encourage rotting of the trailer floor.
All in all, a sweet weekend's work, meeting with the desired results.
On another note, last week I decided to take in the film they show in one of the Science Theatres at the University. If you hold a U of C ID card, they're free, with all-you-can-eat popcorn for $2. For non-card-holders, it's $2/show. They call it Cinemania, and have two showings on Monday nights, 6:30 and 9:00. Last week it was Fantastic Mr. Fox, this week it was 2012 at 6:30 and The Day After Tomorrow at 9:00. I was contemplating taking in both, but felt sleep was more important.
Tonight, I'm catching up on blogging and spending some quality time in Chateau Tortue.