Monday, April 18, 2011

That's not a weed, that's my lawn!

I have been having some trouble with the dirt washing out from behind the retaining walls. The retaining walls are not as long as I wanted them, so the dirt has to come down at a steeper slope than it should. I had talked to Adam the last time he was over, about how I might go about extending the bottoms of the retaining walls out further from the house. We discussed different options for extending them.

Last week, I still hadn't found the time to contact anyone about getting timbers, railroad ties, or rock to add to the end of the walls. All options that Adam and I discussed. Adam called me up last Wednesday, and told me he was doing some clearing work for the person who had sold me the property originally, and had some rock that I might be interested in. The old farm house on her property had burned to the ground, and she had built a new house. The old fireplaces were still standing, and she wanted to get them out of the middle of her lawn. They were made of stone, and brick. She had asked Adam to just push the rocks back into her woods. He called me up to see if I would like them for my retaining walls. I went out and took a look at them, and then Adam and I looked over my situation again. I told him I would take it all, and would find uses for the rocks and the bricks.

Last Thursday night, I had a new delivery of materials.

That is quite a pile of rock for the front walls.

A smaller pile to add to the walls on the garage side.

I haven't decided for sure how the bricks will be used.

Last weekend we only got a few hours out at the house on Sunday, but Matt was able to join us. That helped us get work done faster. We cut sheets of plywood into 3" wide strips to go at the bottom of the walls. This is an odd item. The ICF blocks won't hold nails, so if you want to put in baseboards, you either have to attach the baseboards with screws or you have to attach wood to the ICF with screws, and then nail the baseboards to the wood. We decided that adding a strip of plywood at the bottom of the walls, and then nailing into that would work best. Dad cut the sheets in half first with the circular saw, then we ran each piece through the table saw to make pieces just a little less than 3" wide. I am going to work on attaching those to the ICF walls since that is a pretty easy one man job. We also rough cut more 2x6 for the center wall draft blocks. Dad and Matt worked on cutting them, and I placed them next to the wall, so they are handy when we get to work on putting them in.

With a cloud of dust, another piece of lumber is reduced to wooden blocks.

We were going to work on finishing the garage opening, but after we started looking at it, we realized there were still some things to think about before we start attaching materials. The top of the garage door is down below the top of the opening, when it is closed. So we need to put in some material to lower the top gasket so it meets the door at the correct place. We got an idea of the situation so we can think about the options, and then we switched to another task.

With three of us there and nice weather, I decided to do some work on the trim boards. A number of the boards are too cumbersome for one or two people to install very effectively. So while we still had light, we cut the longer base pieces for the front, and got them installed.

The pieces running between the bedroom windows, and the front door are now on.

Tonight the weather was still holding, so I went out and touched up the caulk on the top trim board on the garage side and added a piece of Trex to cover some plastic that was showing at the top were I didn't want it to. Then I worked on adding some trim pieces on the front. On the front I am going to have gardens and the bottom trim board will be covered, along with the portion that has just plastic sheeting. However, over by the door, I needed to take the Trex down further, as that will be exposed between the door, and the walls for the garden.

That block is not what I will use for the garden walls, but it gives an idea of where they will be.

Those pieces required some trimming to fit around where the board under the threshold was not equal on both sides. Took a little while to get a good fit. Then I worked on the board that goes between the west retaining wall, and the master bedroom window.

Now things have been popping around the house with spring actually arriving. I have a variety of green things sprouting. Some would be regarded as weeds on most property. Right now, I can't plant what I want to have, since Adam still has dirt to move around, but the plants help reduce the amount of dirt that runs downhill with each storm, so if it will grow, I'll let it live (at least for now).

 Front "lawn"

Good to have some things starting to grow on those hills.

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