Sunday, August 31, 2008

It Has Begun

We're off!

The Great Wall Rebuild has started. We have a goal to reclaim our backyard and make it into livable space.
It is a multi-phase, multi-year process, mainly because we just don't have the resources or the desire to pay the ridiculously high prices in our area for someone else to do the work.

First Phase is relatively simple. Clear the area of all bio-matter. As the wall has spent most of the summer overgrown with all sorts of weeds, including wild grapes, which I'm considering harvesting, the task of clearing it all is a multi-day process. Today I got this far...

Phase Two consists of rebuilding the wall in three sections... right (2Bravo), center(2Alpha), and left(2Charlie). This is the center section(Alpha Section). It's first up on the list. Here's a close-up, which clearly shows why it needs rebuilding.

The hill is steeper than it looks, and so modern mechanical equipment can't be used. I cleared most of it with a hand held mini scythe, then got the chainsaw into the action for some of the bigger sumac and other trees starting to grow.

When it's clear, we're going to rent a backhoe, dig it out, and rebuild it. But there will be a stairway area in the center. (We are going to have some local concrete guys come do those). Alpha Section is scheduled to be done by the end of September, at the latest.

If there is time before the snow flies I'll try to get to Bravo or Charlie. Otherwise they are scheduled for next spring. The plan is to put a stairway to the North 40 in the center of the wall, and in the Bravo and Charlie sections there will be firewood storage cubbies. The stones that are left over after the rebuilding will be used to raise the height of the wall. Then we'll back fill it so it won't be quite so steep. I don't know if this picture shows it too well, but up in the North 40, the hill is a gentle slope. Then just before it reaches the wall, it cuts sharply down. We want to eliminate that!

So, once the wall is rebuilt, Phase Three is having almost the entire back area poured over in concrete to make a SuperPatio! Now, to those of you thinking 'Oh my gosh! Granola Girl and Tree Hugger Guy are PAVING their backyard??? What gives???' Let me finish telling you the plan.

We want to expand our living space. The patio is going to become our "Summer Quarters". Phase Four is putting in the final touches... There will be a summer kitchen out there, complete with BBQ, prep tables, maybe a woodburning oven and even a sink area on one end, and a living room on the other. This will have a canvas gazebo thingy over it, a play area for the kiddos and fresh air living for all. We had considered building an addition, but decided that we'd like to be closer to the planet. What better way than to make our addition an outdoor living space. In MY dreams, we're even going to have an outdoor movie theater set up. I'll be posting pictures of the whole project all along, as well as before and afters at the end.

It is a daunting project to tackle, and if we had the money, we'd just have it done by someone else. But the cost of that is prohibitive, and we are still young and strong. Besides, the rental fees for the tools and equipment are cheap compared to hiring help, and I am sort of handy around the house. And we were going to start new exercise programs anyway. Might as well get something for all of that sweat equity!

More Later

1 comment:

Sharon said...

WOW! What a project(s)!! I have absolute faith in your ability to "get 'er done" and am eager to see the finished project... and enjoy it when finished! That will be a great place to enjoy the out of doors with your little family. Good luck... have fun... and... be careful!
(sorry... it's a mom thing)