Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Big Dig

We have a big hole in our backyard. It started as a "sinkhole" which we believe was caused by a builder's intentional blunder years ago. During construction of our house back in the '80's the builder apparently piled logs and brush that were cut down in clearing the lot, bulldozed dirt over the pile, planted juniper on top of it, and left it to rot. When we moved in 5 years ago, the hill was just beginning to sink. Since we've lived here, the hill has completely collapsed in one area, taking a crape myrtle tree with it. It's been an eyesore and a conundrum for the last couple of years. What to do with a big hole??

Fortunately, we have a helpful friend who knows about things like soils and engineering retaining walls. Gary has spent lots of time spearheading the efforts to turn our sinkhole into something wonderful. With the help of the boys and their friends, we now have an even bigger hole in the yard. One day last week, they excavated the sinkhole to determine what the soil was like underneath. They've now dug a trench for the footer for a retaining wall and augured holes to make underground pilings to support the wall. The next step is to gather supplies for building the wall. Scavenger that I am, I am scouring new neighborhoods for broken concrete, rocks, rebar, and other needed items. If you know of any broken up patios or sidewalks anywhere, let me know!

I am picturing a low stone wall with a raised garden bed along the curve of the wall. The retaining wall will extend above it. Stones and gravel or pavers will floor a seating area in the middle with a small firepit for these evenings when we'd like to extend "porch time" to the outdoors and include some marshmellow roasting. Several folks who have seen our big dig have asked if we're putting in a hot tub. Nice idea, but no.

This sunken firepit/garden is a dream at the moment, but one which my precious friend and sons are turning into reality much faster than I could have imagined. I'm a fortunate mom to have guys who are so willing to spend their hours off from other "paying" jobs, digging, sweating, and getting blisters for wages which include all the ice water they want, occasional root beer floats, camaraderie, and the deep gratitude of this thankful mom.

Gary overseeing Joel's digging



Thomas and Shawn digging away at the hillside



One of the ominous holes that riddle the hillside and cause sinking



The day's work...



and the day's workers minus Gary



(P.S. No, they didn't dig in their natty polos. They were mostly shirtless while digging but dressed for the photo!)

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