Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sean the Builder, part 2

Once upon a time, this hill was covered in trees and shrubs and 20 years worth of decaying leaves. Somehow we missed all that when we decided to buy the house and it became our problem. After several months of ignoring it, we had a group of friends come over and we spent the day clearing the land. A year later, Nature won and the land was once again covered in small trees and greenery. 

We spent last weekend re-taming the land. Sean decided to check a few things off the ole honey-do list and this happened. My dad helped more than he should have to given that he's already rewarded his son-in-law with such a bride as myself. None the less, he was here swinging a tool that was too heavy for me to lift and putting up with a man that is not always known for playing well with others. I think he's since lost our number. :)
Not only did we(mostly the men-that's the deal...we have the babies, they swing the hammers.) have to re-clear the land, he had to dig and dig and dig some more to get a few flat surfaces. We figure if we can't beat Nature, we shall build over the top of it. Roots be damned, we are getting access to this lake.
Sean somehow calculated the slope and figured out how high and deep of a step would fit. He then turned two 2x10x16s into stringers. I don't want anyone thinking these were pre-made stringers. No sirree, that would be too easy and we do nothing the easy way. That man of mine is not just a handsome face. :)
He made this long boardwalk first. You can see how steep the hill is and how much digging had to be done to get this sucker level. It did make putting the stairs in slightly less painful, but there was still much digging and attempting to balance on a steep hill. The hill. Ermagherd, it is ridiculous.
At the end of this boardwalk, we plan to put a deck. From the deck, another set of stairs will conclude at a third landing that will give us access to the lake. We call them decks, the boys call them zipline landing points.

See all the lovely greenery? The biggest bloom of green you see was our burn pile from last year. Nature said, I'll see your burn pile and raise you a birch tree, a persimmon tree, three lovely butterfly bushes, a rhubarb plant, and several lovely weed piles that camouflage as snake dens. Thankfully, we had a very dry Spring that took the water level down several inches and revealed more trees down than we originally thought. Isn't yard work fun?
Most of the green in this picture is now gone thanks to several hours put in by Sean and myself and then another hour put in by some back-talking kids. One funny moment that deserves the spotlight...the aforementioned kids got super mouthy with me. Something to do with complaining about work they weren't even engaged in while dear old dad and mom were sweat-tink on the side of the hill. Sean introduced them both to a set of clippers and said, "Have at it, boys." As we watched them work from a shady spot on the hill, I said, "I can't believe you're letting them get away with talking to me that way. Why aren't you dealing with them?" Sean replied with a smug look, "As far as I'm concerned, I am dealing with it." Well played, Faja, well played. Let me tell you, by the time they'd cleared a small section of the hill, the attitude was gone.

Our burn pile is now bigger than ever. Given my last experience with a burn pile, I'm hesitant to light this thing. Long story short, gasoline should never be used as an accelerant and my eyebrows took several months to grow back.  Not even joking, praise the Lord, my life was spared. My eyebrows, top layer of a ponytail, and eyelashes...not so lucky.

The hump. That's what we refer to this pile of earth. I am convinced it's a gnarly network of tree roots. The little boys think it's perhaps pirate treasure. At this point, none are willing to dig to find out which part is correct. As for now, it shall be a base around which we plant another deck.
This is the path that leads from the top of the stairs back around to the house. Isn't the English ivy beautiful? No. The answer is no. It climbs trees like you wouldn't believe. The root system that sustains this amount of ivy is diabolical.
Felix and I stripped our existing deck. We're hoping we can resurface it with some Restore. It hadn't rained for weeks the day we stripped it. It hasn't stopped raining since. Our end vision is to bring another set of stairs down on this side of the deck that will lead to a brick patio. Where the double windows are, I have challenged Sean with putting in some French doors and a set of stairs leading to said brick patio.
Off the back of the deck, we will continue the Ewok village with the boys' Christmas present. Given that we can't hide such a thing, they are well aware that they are getting a pair of tree houses connected by a rope bridge. The crown in the jewel will be a system of zip lines. Helicopter parents need not visit. This place will soon require an insurance release form.

As you can see, we are making a backyard paradise. Given that our country will self implode in a matter of months, we are embracing our own little slice of happy. I sure am glad I married up. I had no idea the Man was so handy.

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