In the past month, I have had the help of two sets of friends put the finishing touches on this gardening experiment gone very, very right. On September 29, five friends sacrificed their Saturday mornings to help me regrade the first level of ground past the main retaining wall.
Nine years before, the wall collapsed. It hadn't been originally built with drainage, so pressure built up, and kaboom! When the wall was rebuilt, the filler rock wasn't redistributed or graded, so it was a twisted ankle waiting to happen. It had also been host to an eye sore of renegade weeds.
My friends moved the rock around and then used a rented vibrating compactor to smooth out the surface and prepare it for weed block and mulch. They also transplanted a volunteer sycamore tree onto the grass part of the yard below.
|The rock did not make digging out this tree an easy task.|
|The laborers captured by my daughter lounging in the hammock.|
|Use of the vibrating compactor.|
I paid them in really good pizza, and as we refueled and reflected on what we'd accomplished in a few hours, they discussed what my next steps were. I needed to buy weed block, staples, and order five to six cubic yards of cedar mulch.
I swallowed the pizza and tried to digest how I was going to do that next task alone. I didn't stew long because I had a summer's worth of surprise achievements under my belt.
I also knew how to proceed: Break. It. Down.
And so I did.
|I bought my supplies and then worked on it after work for several evenings.|
|Finishing some evenings by moonlight.|
I was ready for my next set of friends who brought wheelbarrows, shovels, and a lot of pluck. We tackled the pile of mulch in my driveway. Over the three hours it took to complete the job, we tweaked and finessed our strategies and tactics and moved that mulch up and over the retaining wall.
|This is what 5 cubic yards of mulch looks like.|
|We've only just begun...|
|We've got a system down, and are making steady progress.|
|These women join me in my wild adventures, and I'm grateful. I'll redistribute the piles when I'm rested.|
It was hard work, but it was also deeply satisfying. It felt good to move my body in so many ways, and thanks to my yoga training, to do so safely. We worked smart, so we didn't have to work too hard.
We enjoyed a good meal and then went our separate ways. I went directly to soak in a tub of Epsom salts and relaxed the rest of the day. I am really mastering how to balance productivity and leisure, and both states feel great.