Sunday, August 28, 2011

We've been meaning to take that down...

Last week there was quite a storm over night. Lots of rain, not much lightning, and lots of wind. I remember the wind waking me up, and praying our roof wouldn't fly away!

In the morning, I looked out the back door to this view:

A large branch from one of the junk trees had come down!

Right into the rain garden.

Given that the branch had been growing over our roof, I was pretty happy that it blew down sideways instead of right down onto the roof.

Jeremy says it wasn't that big of a branch and our roof could have handled it, but I'm sure it would have at least mangled the gutters and maybe some of the standing seam of the metal roof.

Instead, it just smashed and ruined my whole Turtle Head Flower. Oh well, it will come back next year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Progress, finally

It has been four months since I posted my wish list / to-do list for the summer. With such a late start to good weather, and then such miserable, hot, humid weather for so many weeks, it kind of cuts into what you feel like doing. Plus, I find my plans change on a daily basis if I don't just do what I plan to do. Of course, sometimes this is a good thing!

So, what has happend since that post four months ago? Not a whole lot until recently. I did 2/3 of the retaining wall out front and haven't continued with that. There are raspberry stalks growing right in the way and moving them would mean no raspberries on that stalk. So I'm going to finish that up in the fall.
I gave up on digging up the boulevard, but plan to continue that in September or October. I did some more work on the terrace (more on that later), but it's not done yet. We still haven't moved the back fence back, but that's because there were three other projects that had to be done before that!

One of them was moving that laundry line pole.

Can't see the bottom of that concrete footing? That's because it goes down really deep! I dug most of that out three months ago and that post has been sitting just so since then. That is a heavy duty, thick metal pipe and the concrete footing is maybe one and a half feet across and about 3 feet deep. (I never really got to the bottom, so don't know!) That much concrete and the pipe is very heavy. I was imagining a large group of people trying to move it...or trying to leverage it out with ropes attached to the tree above it...or swinging a mallet at it until some of the concrete came off...or explosives! just kidding.

Jeremy had to rent a mini jack-hammer for another project (more on that later!) so he was able to get off the lower couple feet of concrete.

You might think the thing would be easier to move after this, but no! This is when we discover there are these metal pieces sticking out perpendicular to the pipe, going off into the concrete still down below (which also has thick metal wire running through it!) which keeps the pipe from moving much at all now.

I'm afraid I don't have pictures between that one and this one, where the pole is safely in it's new home:

What happened!? Well, I dug out as much loose dirt and chunks of concrete as possible so we could move the pipe a little. Jeremy came out with a Sawsall and cut through the pipe. Wish I had a picture of him lying on the ground on the edge of the hole reaching down to the bottom to cut through the pipe. But I was holding onto the pipe with both hands to make sure it didn't fall in on Jeremy!

When it was cut through I was able to pull the pipe down to the ground so that huge chunk of concrete rose up out of the hole! Or close anyway. We grabbed some 2x4s to span the hole and hold up the pipe. Then, while Jeremy dug the new hole on the other side of the yard (which took about 5 minutes!) I raked and shoveled dirt into the enormous pit under the pipe - so if it decided to fall it wouldn't fall that far.

Thank goodness for leverage and fulcrums and hand trolleys for the rest of this. It was easy enough to pull the pipe upright but it was still quite heavy and not possible to carry. So we pulled it upright and laid it back down so the concrete base was facing the way we wanted it to go. Jeremy wheeled the hand trolley up to it and I just tilted the pipe up till it was on the trolley. Jeremy rolled it to the edge of the retaining wall and then he had to pick it up and rest it on a board (to protect the rocks from getting scratched. =)

Then we laid the pipe down and rolled it down that red piece of plywood; Jeremy picked up the pipe and we slid the hand trolley under it, then it was a piece of cake to roll it over to the other side of the yard.

I'm sure that all would have made much more sense with pictures, or a video! We'll have to remember that the next time we're moving some huge, heavy, awkward thing through our yard.

So I know you're asking why we did this in the first place. Why didn't we just buy a new laundry line pole from Home Depot! Well...we like to do things the hard way, that's why!
Actually, the old pipe/laundry line didn't work in its location and it was in the way of yet another project (more on that later!) so it had to go. We could have cut it off at the base and called it done, but then we would have had to buy a cheaper pipe from some store and set it in concrete and all that - when we had a perfectly good pipe already set in concrete! If we could only move it! And you all know how determined we are (er, I am!), so that's what we did.

Now for the hardest part: putting up the ropes so we can hang laundry. Maybe we'll get that done next year?