Thursday, September 30, 2010

Firepit - Built 2nd Support Posts

2010
Thursday, September 30

I was able to construct the 2nd support for the Firepit bench tonight and set it in concrete. Tim called me a "crazy woman" for staying up so late and doing that. By the time I finished cleaning up it was after midnight...lol.

I think the most difficult thing is to make sure all these things are level and plum. The joists have to be level, the post has to be plum, and then the joists have to also be level with the joists of the neighboring joints. It had taken a bit of tossing in gravel...then taking gravel out to get it right...lol.

It's pretty cool, looking at it from a birds eye view of the garage roof, and starting to see the semi-circle start to form.




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Firepit - Built 1st Support Posts

2010
Wednesday, September 29

Tonight, I started cutting the posts and supports for the firepit bench. As I started to cut the posts and post sleeves, I decided to put one support together, just to make sure that all my measurements were working out. The next thing I knew I was sticking it in the holes, and mixing concrete...lol. I didn't really set out to do that tonight and did anyways though. So...the first support is done and in the ground.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Firepit - Dug Post Holes

2010
Saturday, September 25

At about 4:30 pm Tim and I had gone to Home Depot and rented a 2 person auger. For all those who don't know what an auger is, it's a giant drill used to dig post holes in the ground. A 2 person power auger has 4 handles, 2 for each person.



We rented it cause I figured it would be a lot faster than digging 18 holes manually. It had taken 4 adults, switching off, and an entire day and part of the next day to dig 16 holes, for the deck, with a manual antique ager. Because I just wanted to get it done, I figured a power auger was the way to go.

Well, let me tell you about our experience....lol. First off, they did not build those things for small people, such as myself. Second, one person had to pull the cord, while the other turned the throttle handle. It wouldn't start unless the handle was turned, which meant that it started drilling right away. Before Tim and I knew it, that auger bit was 2 feet in the ground and stuck in the dense clay. When it got stuck, the torc from it cause Tim to fly one way and me the other....lol. Now I can laugh about it....at the time both of us were frustrated.

To our surprise, it did not have a locking mechanism, so that you could lock the bit and spin it out of the hole. It did not have a reverse either....so that auger bit was stuck.

After admitting defeat, I called my Dad for help. He came with a pile wrench and Tim slowly turned it manually out of the ground.

From that we learned very quickly that # 1 - you have to lift the auger a bit when starting so it doesn't catch and drill right now.....# 2 - You need to put it down maybe 8-10 inches and then lift it out of the hole to unplug the drilled earth out of the way....and # 3.....it's starts to become very heavy and daunting after about 2 holes of dense clay.

After Tim and my Dad started most of the holes, my Dad called my bother and "fatherly" asked him to come help his sister....lol. Tim and my Brian then were doing it for a bit, then my Dad had a plan. He said "hey...there are 4 handles...and there are 4 of us.....everyone grab a handle". So, that's how we finished it....all 4 of us had a handle and finished the rest of the holes together.







Firepit - Project Started

2010
Saturday, September 25

Way back in January I sketched an idea of a circular bench for the firepit area. It will be constructed using the same Trex board, we used on our deck. It'll be flipped on it's side and bent into a semi-circle. I'm also going to design and make 2 stained glass windows to flank either side.

From Firepit Project



In April I started constructing the stained glass windows that will flake the sides of it. I loooove the way it's turning out so far.






Today I started on prepping the firepit area for digging holes. The lumber for the circular bench has been sitting in our driveway for the last 2 months because we've been so busy that we haven't been able to work on it.

In the early afternoon I marked off where the post holes are going to go....there are 18 of them...lol. Because the boards will be bent in a curve, I wanted to make sure I gave it a lil extra strength to hold everything in place, so that's why there are so many posts for it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Backyard - New Grass

2010
Saturday, September 18

I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window, then looked at Tim and happily said "we have grass.... we have a backyard Tim". It felt good to say that...and it felt even better to "see" it. It's been a looooong time coming :)

New Tool - Root Irrigator

2010
Saturday, September 18

After we planted all those Birch and other trees, I started researching a product I had seen on Gardening by the Yard on HGTV. It's a product made by Hound Dog Products called the "Root Irrigator". It’s basically a tube, that you can connect a hose to, and stick in the ground, so you can deliver water directly to the roots. I noticed that because we built up the soil so much around the trees, the water just runs off....and I don’t think anything even got to the roots......so I got this, from Amazon.



I love it so far. I used it right after I planted the Weeping Pine today and a few shrubs. Fyi... turn on the water before pushing it into the ground to prevent clogging, that way the water kinda of drills a hole for you. I thought it worked great, with no run off, and I knew that water was going right where it needed to, which is to the roots.

Backyard - Planted Weeping White Pine

2010
Saturday, September 18

Today I had the chance, "finally", to plant my Weeping White Pine (Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’), that I bought last yr, when I thought our backyard would get graded. I think he's a fun lil guy. People seem to be kinda if-y about him... my Dad and Tim think he looks like a creature and one of my friends said he looks lop-side. Idk, I think he's unique and fun looking.



Tim and I built up the "mound" a little more, by the Birch trees and I decided to plant him in the midst of them. I thought he looked rather cool there to give a fun element to that area.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Backyard - Planted Arborvitaes

2010
Sunday, September 12

Last year I had bought a whole bunch of Arborvitae's and they've been just waiting, in their lil pots, to get planted. Today, Tim helped me plant them.

The idea was to "not" have them in a line. I wanted them staggered and natural looking. These Emerald Green Arborvitae's will eventually get about 10 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. In the future they'll hopefully give a little privacy in a natural looking manor.



Monday, September 06, 2010

Backyard - Birch Trees (Planted)

2010
Monday, September 6

Around 9 am this morning the door bell rings and it's Russell's Tree Farm, delivering our Birch Trees. They were on a big flat bed, then he moved the trees to our backyard with a lil Toro Dingo Mini Skid Steer. It was really cool watching them being moved and placed near the holes. It was like poof...instant tree boarder.

From Backyard






Ok...well not really poof, cause then we had to plant them. Tim and I realized that the holes we had dug yesterday weren't going to be deep enough for the two 14 foot Clump Heritage River Birches, which were put in the holes. Those bulbs were a lot larger than I remembered...lol. We tried to moved it and quickly realized we needed reinforcements, so we called my parents to help moved and plant them.

Those suckers were heavy....if I had to guess 400 lbs. It had taken Tim and my Dad tilting them and me with a 2x4 leveraging it and rolling them out of the holes. We did it though. The trick was to get them back in the holes facing the way we wanted them, cause once they were going in, I don't think we could've got them out again...lol. They will eventually grow to be about 40-50 feet tall.



We planted the three Jacquemontii/White-barked Himalayan Birches next. Those were lots easier...lol. They were smaller 8-10 or so foot in pots, which will eventually get 25-50 feet tall. These Birches are more upright and slender, whereas the River Birches will have a nice spread.



I purposely wanted the Birches closer together to have more privacy and get back the forest like feel we used to have with the Ash tress. I want to be able to walk in between them later on and maybe add a lil path.