Thursday, October 30, 2014

That time I bit off more than I can chew

Brick work done, now just need to fill with topsoil and build the Cottage/Shed

A few months ago I made mention of a project I was getting ready to tackle. My ever patient husband had agreed to let me purchase 1000 reclaimed antique bricks for the purpose of building some new garden boxes. I promised an update on that project upon completion and - sigh, gasp, fist-pump! - it's finally done... Well, at least the brick part of it.

The truth of the matter is, this was a big project and I knew it. What I didn't know, however, was just how big it was.

It started early this spring... in a corner of our yard formerly know as the "Playground."

As tends to happen, our kids had outgrown their playset. The day we decided to let the it go, was a sad day. It'd already sat virtually untouched for a couple of years and the idea of holding on to it for the enjoyment of our (distant) future grandchildren didn't appeal to me or my husband. It was time to let someone else love and care for our awesome swingset. 

And so, we sold it.
Which left us with a big, bare spot... And even bigger ideas and plans! 

I decided to build a garden "cottage" (aka shed) where the trampoline was and move my garden boxes to the newly vacated playground area. This, of course, meant we needed to pipe water to the area.

That was one of those moments (days really) where having a large lot was NOT exciting. To get water to the new garden box area we had to trench 97 feet across our yard through sod, rocks, and the most ridiculously hard clay you can imagine. (At least we didn't have to go the whole 150ish feet across the yard. That might have been a deal breaker!)

Once the water line was run, I moved our peach tree and our apple tree to their new homes. The peach tree managed the move gloriously... the apple tree not so much.

Then, Prince Charming authorized the purchase of my BEAUTIFUL bricks. 

With the help of our children, moving roughly 5000 lbs of bricks wasn't too daunting. We stacked them along the parameter of the garden area so they'd be out of the way when I began construction.

Now, I've done a lot of handy-manish projects, but brick laying has never been one of them. I had a pretty good idea how things should go, but to solidify my ideas I attended several sessions at the University of YouTube. The masonry pros made it look easy and before long I was confident that I understood the technique.

So I got down and dirty. Literally. As it turns out, masonry isn't as easy or as clean as I thought it should be. 

I can't tell you how many hours it took to lay those darn bricks, but each and every one of them was grueling. It did't take me long to realize that trying to make PERFECT BOXES out of IMPERFECT BRICKS was a PERFECT TEST of my IMPERFECT PATIENCE. 

And, oh how I celebrated the moment I placed that last little brick! I tucked my tools in my garage with a vow that I will NEVER do masonry work again. 

We will fill these beauties up with topsoil (and a new apple tree) early next spring! Then, I get to build my cottage. And, no, it will not have bricks on it.... a covered porch, stone work, and shutters, but not a single little brick! 

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