…For the last time. Wall building season has begun once more, but this will hopefully be the last year that we are building walls. And by walls, I mean the rock walls where we are cementing posts, adding wire and filling with loads and loads of rocks. Don’t get me wrong, I love our walls, but I am ready to be done building them and get to the enjoying part. Spring has started to sprung…that doesn’t sound right, but you get the gist. The ground is thawing which means we are just about ready to get moving on finishing the last few rock walls.
Last weekend we were finally able to safely get to the back of the yard. During the winter months it becomes almost dangerous to walk down the path into the backyard because it becomes so slick. Eventually, when we have the path paved, we will be able to shovel it and have access to the yard all winter. For now it is the dogs winter paradise.
We spent the morning doing a few odds and ends around the back yard to get it ready for working in. Kurt worked on backfilling the newest wall that we had built in the fall. This will give us a nice, level area to stand while working on the next wall. He may need to cut the back in a little further since we have to cement the posts about a foot away from the slope so that we can get the stapler behind. In the past we have forgotten that and end up having to dig around the posts, so after 5 years we have finally learned. Once we have that next wall in, we will backfill and start on the next. You see a pattern here? While he worked on that, I cleaned the yard of the dog poop that had piled up over the winter….so looking forward to being able to do that throughout the winter…as well as pulled any plants that were remaining in the beds such as the sunflowers, corn and marigolds.
The final wall will run along the cedar trees and will provide a bit more stability for the roots and also a little more level area so that the water has time to sink in rather than running off. On the other side of the cedars is quite a slope coming down from behind the shop. The majority of the slope is backfilled to make a landing for the shop, and we don’t want that to be disturbed so we have a few plans. Already, we have created a bit of a dry-stack wall on the shop side that is helping stop some of the crushed rock from coming down when the dogs walk back there. We plan to add more to that dry-stack and also completely cover the back slope with mid-size rocks to help stabilize the slope and hopefully deter the dogs from walking on the slope. Sure, they may walk on the larger rocks, but that should be less of an issue that what they are currently doing.
The rock wall that we build along the cedars at the top of our new garden bed will actually wrap all the way around the cedars and meet up with the top part of our yard where the archway is, creating a proper division and support for those plants. It will be an interesting process since the whole thing is going to be built on a sloping, curving path, but I am sure that Kurt and I will figure it out. There was some wooden garden ties that the previous owners had used to build a small wall, but it was too small and has now just been buried. Our plan is to about double the height to offer proper retaining of the soil. That upper wall will not only be on a slope and curving, but we will be adding quite a bit of angle on it to ensure it is solid since it will be actually helping retain some soil. Overall the slope is very solid as we found out from years of growing tomatoes on that side, but the crushed gravel that was put down to stop weeds is where we are finding the issue.
We gave the yard the week to finish drying out before we start digging the post holes for the next wall, but as we moved into the weekend, the spring rain began. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to get the head start we were hoping for, but that is ok. It looks like the weather is supposed to improve toward the end of this week, getting sunny and warm. Kurt has one last week of night-shifts, so I may spend some time outside digging while he is sleeping. My uncle has continued to let us borrow his cement mixer, so we will have a much easier time getting everything cemented in.
It is going to be a bit of a push, but I would like to get these walls finished in the next month. I figured I was able to finish 3 walls by myself in a month back in 2020, so if Kurt and I work together, we should be able to get these last 3.5 walls in within the next month. I say 3.5, because there are 3 more to go on the shop side of the yard, and I want to add a small one in over on the other side of the yard to shrink down a large triangular bed above the path wall. That will give us an area for a bird bath and insect attracting flower bed, as well as another small area for herbs or other items to grow.
We always get so excited this time of year with the prospect of being able to get back into the yard and enjoy the work that it brings. The dogs also really enjoy more time spent exploring, sniffing and watching over their land. The birds are returning and Kurt has filled the feeder for them to fill our yard with the sound of chirps and squawks. He also built a stand for the bird bath this year because the dogs seemed to think it was their water dish last year. Basil loves the feeder and the bird bath, opting to sit and wait for her friends to come by. Even when the birds are enjoying their time eating or bathing, she just happily sits and watches them. Then goes and licks up all the seeds that they spill all over the ground. Such a brat, but a pretty cute one. Ellie on the other hand has found herself a nice perch on one of the larger rock walls where we left a piece of plywood. She just sits on it and overlooks the yard, keeping an eye on all the neighbours. We will be capping those walls with a wood top and expect that it will become Ellie’s place to chill.
Hopefully next weekend I will have a good update of part of the next wall going up!