08 August 2010

Shifting Priorities

Well, we just found out we have a new addition on the way. Here's a first look at our new baby:

My sister has asked us to take in one of her dogs, Zbikowski, Zibby for short. It breaks her (and her husband's) heart(s) to have to get rid of him, but the decision has been made. We look forward to taking care of this sweet and energetic pup.

However...before we can take him, we need to get our yard fenced-in. It has long been the plan to build a low wall out of brick (about 3 bricks high) around the perimeter of the property and then top that with a picket fence. It will actually be two separate walls to form a raised planting bed on the inside of the fence. It'll provide privacy without having a huge 6' or 8' privacy fence all around, which would look too imposing on our corner lot. The good news is, we've already got most of the materials we need to lay the brick wall. The bad news is, we have to dig them out of the yard. So while it's always been on the list, it just got bumped up to first priority.

Most of our yard is made of 100-year-old brick pavers. In the spirit of frugality, authenticity, and green-building, we are going to be reusing those bricks to build our wall. A few hours of digging and lifting and hauling last weekend made us realize a few things. One, we needed another shovel and a wheelbarrow. Two, this is going to take a while. Last Sunday afternoon was spent assembling the wheelbarrow using nearly-useless instructions. (To be fair, it wouldn't have taken us quite so long if Lowe's had the right handles in stock. We had to drill holes in the handles for the bolts, and it was a process to figure out the exact spacing.)

At first we were worried that we wouldn't have enough bricks to complete the project. But after further analysis, we've got bricks here,

{Stacked as steps to the back porch. The OSB is being used as a ramp for the wheelbarrow.}

{Something went funky with the color balance on the camera. Our grass isn't really that green. And that wall is now 11 courses high.}
and everywhere.

{Damaged bricks go here.}

Plus there's a whole lot more left in the ground.

Those aren't all the ones in the ground, either. They're just all the ones that I've uncovered so far. Hopefully we'll have enough to re-lay a path from the back steps to where the back gate will be.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I guess we really didn't even go into the back yard when I was there. Are you digging up bricks from under grass? If so, are you able to salvage the grass after the bricks come up?
As far as the wheelbarrow assembly issue, I guess what Ben always says holds true: it's all about the tools!

Sarah said...

The grass is coming up pretty easily in sod-like sheets. The problem is, it's not really grass, mostly just weeds. We'll reseed once we get everything cleared out.

glenna said...

Well just how long is this project expected to take? Wish I could be there to help.......Do you have to have any sort of building permit to put that short retaining wall/planter in? Can't wait to see the results....sure hope Zibby appreciates your hard work.