Thursday, October 8, 2009

Working It

Am I not one bad ass bitch with my sledgehammer? Look how my muscles are like... rippling and stuff. This is me making a desperate, futile attempt to finish the landscaping in the backyard before the rains come. Oops! I guess it's a little too late for that after the huge storm passed through the Bay Area this week. *sigh*

So now I'm faced with a bit of a dilemma; should I reuse all of those cinder blocks to build my last two retaining walls or should I bite the bullet and purchase those lock in place bricks? I've decided to go with the latter. I really really really wanted to recycle all of those cinder blocks from the original retaining wall that sat smack dab in the middle of the yard. That poor wall has been scrabbling to hold back half the yard on a slope that descends at least 14 feet from the back door to the base of the yard. I painstakingly took the wall down block by block with the intention of building two smaller walls. But here's the problem; to make those walls strong enough to withstand the pressure of the earth behind them, we would need to build a solid base, mortar them together, fill the holes with concrete, and maybe stick in some rebar. The walls would definitely need to be tied in to the existing side retaining walls (we've got a 20 foot one to the west of us. I know, totally crazy!). That's a lot of work and would probably take me 2 weeks or more.

Well we certainly don't have that kind of time anymore to complete the project. The rains are upon us and if we don't act soon, our entire backyard will be washed down into the used car lot that sits directly behind us. Supposedly, I can build a retaining wall with those lock in place thingy-mi-jigs in a day. Wow, that works for me and it sure beats pouring concrete. I won't be reusing, but at least I'll have the place ready for the fruit trees that will be coming in January and I'll be able to plant some fall/winter vegetables. A fabulous perk to living in this area is that things grow pretty much year round. A downside to using these bricks is that I will lose 18 inches in the length of the yard. What's the big deal you ask? That's 37.5 square feet! Do you know how many plants I could cram into an area like that? That's the size of an entire garden bed!

And I had such big dreams for those drab, prison-like concrete blocks! I was going to mosaic both walls with some ocean motifs. The farm was going to have animals, plants, trees, and art all living together in one enchanting, harmonious, utopian splendor! These grand fancies for our tiny plot of earth no bigger than a double wide trailer are now left to rot with all the other dashed dreams... like having chickens that live! *sigh*

Anyone need a bunch of cinder blocks? Well, you know where to find them.

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