Sunday, October 5, 2008

finally back to work

Now that we can stop digging up the dirt in front of the house, I can finally put in a proper walkway so it's not a muddy mess every time it rains. So bright and early yesterday morning I set out to prepare the ground for some bricks.

You can't see all the nails and wire and other crap so well as the giant slab of concrete extending out from the bottom stair.. Let's just say yesterday turned into a long day with the digging stick, a chisel and, ultimately, the angle grinder with a masonry cutoff bit on it that turned the shelf of concrete into a fine powder.



Finally, around 4 in the afternoon I finally was able to lay out the border of the walkway. I know the curve will make it a little harder (and more time consuming), but that's how I've pictured it all along and I really can't imagine it any other way.

I tried to lay out the curve with a hose, like all the books say.. but we don't seem to have any hoses without tons of kinks and it was more trouble than it was worth. The rope worked better, but there was no way I was going to be able to match the curve on the 2nd side. I finally dug some armored wire out of a trash bag of construction debris (I can only fit one in the trash can every week, so we have a little bit of a backlog of trash) and it was just flexible enough for me to shape, and just rigid enough to hold that shape when I moved it to the other side.

Next, I dug a narrow trench along the inside of the curve for the edging bricks. These bricks are laid on end so they're embedded deeper into the ground and hold everything in.

I needed to get the bricks at the edge of the stairs at exactly the right height because that permit hasn't been closed yet and the inspectors are really tough on the allowable variance in rise. Of course the sidewalk is about 3/8" higher than that point, so the walkway can't be sloped away from the house, or even level. But I got a nice gradual slope from between the sidewalk and the stair, and I'll crown the bricks in the center of the pathway so water doesn't pool up.

Here's where I was hoping to be at the end of the Saturday, but this picture was taken late afternoon on Sunday.

I think the curves are pretty even..

I needed the height of the edges to know how much more I had to level the dirt in between. It wasn't much more, but there were some high spots.


And this is as far as I got with the actual brick. By next weekend those 2 rows will be so messed up I'll have to reset them anyway.. oh well..

And what's Dan been up to while I was laboring over the bricks? In the garage taking his turn at stapling up the thin fins. It's pretty slow going.. no wonder everyone wanted so much money to install this sort of system.

You can see we took some time and marked out all the rooms to make it really obvious where everything should be - here Dan's putting up the heat in the front room. He covered a lot of ground (or.. floor) but there's still more to go.

Of course, it was all we could do to wait until Sunday afternoon for what we wanted to get started on days ago.. look at the calendar folks, it's October! That's right, it's time for Halloween! I can't believe another year has gone by and we still don't have our stuff back from storage, but somehow we've collected a bit more spooky stuff with which to decorate.

Here's Henrietta helping me hang up some decorations,

And here's how it looks after an hour or so of work (and also illustrates why we had to stop after an hour or so.. it's getting dark much earlier these days). Lots more to do, but it's already satisfyingly spooky.

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