After nearly killing ourselves last week getting the weeds out of the pond, I sort of let the next phase of the job stay on hold for a while. Let me refresh your memory:
As you can see, I have the pavement area partially clear of grass and weeds. When I originally laid it, all I did was put in a bed of sand. Needless to say, this was an open invitation to the ants, bermuda grass, dock, clover, etc. etc. etc. to move in and take over, which they did most thoroughly.
It was a slow process scraping the vegetative cover off of the pavers. This was not made any easier by the fact that that the ants living there did their little earthmoving activities undisturbed for 17 years, which led to the paving blocks heaving and shifting in a most amazing manner. I decided that filling the wheelbarrow with grass mats once a day was plenty of work of that sort. There were plenty of other things to occupy me too, like pruning the espalier, the rugosa rose in front of the barn and I don’t know what all. Needless to say, I also had to walk Ruby.
Anyway, when the grass was finally cleaned away, a job I finished yesterday morning, the paving looked like this:
There were plenty of grass roots left sticking up, and after a few seconds I decided I really needed to move the paving and do some restoration to the pad. So I did.
I was so careful when I moved the blocks, having the insane idea that I would be able to replace them the same way they came out. What I neglected to take into consideration was the fact that the far edge had had some blocks break, and so the tiles were not fitted together properly over there. Also, some of my tiles had broken while the shifting sands were under them.
While I was working, the first house wren returned, flying in from the south in a flurry of announcements. “This is my house.” “This is my garden.” “This area is mine, mine, mine, what are you doing here?” “Where are the girls anyway, slowpokes, don’t they know there are plenty of bugs to eat we need to get busy and start a family post haste.” I was glad to see him back, nosy bossy busybody that he is.
After I had the pavers moved, I grubbed out the grass roots and rhizomes that had invaded. Then I “leveled” the mud and spread sand over it to make a nice base for the pavers. No one can say that I do not learn from my mistakes, so it was off to the Big Box store to purchase a pond liner to go under the tiles. That item was not cheap, but I was armored with Jim’s statement “It is a one time expense” so I plopped down several twenty dollar bills, managed to avoid the temptation of half price perennial plants, and came on home.
There I spread the new liner, tucking it neatly under the pond’s pond liner at the edge, and trimming it to fit my tile area. Then it was jig saw puzzle time as I fit the tile blocks back into their space. This required a lot of running back and forth to the pile of tile behind the barn in the search for blocks that were “just right” for holes that needed filling. By the end I was reduced to taking a piece of rock and smacking it with my hammer in the hopes that one of the resulting pieces would be right for the hole that needed filling. This actually worked quite well several times, much to my amazement.
Jim mixed me up a small batch of mortar, and I got into the waterfall area and mended the cracks so that when we finally get the new pond pump the water will fall rather than dribble. That was just a short little episode in the long slog of work I was involved in.
Finally, I hauled a couple of three gallon buckets of sand over to fill in the cracks, and swept it clear. I was finishing that up when I was called to dinner. I left the area changed:
After dinner, I took Ruby for her walk, and for some reason it was a very slow pace around the mile and half path I generally take her on. Frequently I make it 3.5 miles, but it simply wasn’t in the cards last night. I came home and took a nice long, badly needed epsom salt soak.
Elsewhere in the yard, spring is progressing nicely. Here are a couple of images of the species tulips and one of my very fancy daffodils as they bloomed beautifully and largely un-noticed on the other side of the yard from where my attention was focused.
In front, I did manage a clean up during the week, which revealed the peony sprouting very optimistically. There are plenty of daffodils and tulips keeping it company. One of the irises already has a flower stalk coming up.
Now that the pond is finished, I can rest easy in the knowledge that it will never be that hard to maintain again. Hopefully, anyway. And that is a good thing, as I am not getting any younger. In another ten years I’m not sure I would have been able to do the herculean job that I accomplished this past week and a half. And I do not wish to minimize Jim’s help during it, although most of the work was done by me while he was busy mowing and mowing and cooking and working at the Commissary.
Now all I have to do is help Jim replace all the carpet in the house with flooring, paint all the walls that have cracks from the beam replacement job, remove the cannas from the areas that I don’t want them, get the henbit out of the day lilies, finish planting the vegetable garden, and …..
Did I mention I am going on a cruise vacation to Alaska in about a month?
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