Monday, June 9, 2008

Three guarantees

There's the saying that there are two guarantees in life: death and taxes. But I'm quite sure I've heard another New England version with three guarantees: death, taxes, and rocky soil.

So we had a strange, embarrassed feeling when we realized that we needed to buy some rocks for the stepping stone path that's a big piece of the landscaping plan. Especially since we have a little slice of property that's chock-full of boulders. After reading up on paths, asking for some advice, and realizing how many rocks we need (that is, how many $4/gallon trips in the Subaru to get enough rocks and not ruin the suspension), we broke down and took the easy, expensive route. Not too expensive, however, once we found out that a pallet of granite stepping stones was over $1000! Who woulda thunk it!

Our stepping stones are the waaay more wallet-friendly gray 'Garden Path' fieldstones. Still expensive, compared to our more typical free or dirt cheap finds.
*Get ready for a huge tangent...skip this if you want to continue with the main storyline.
(Note: dirt's not cheap. Where did this idiom come from? And if you didn't bother to read that link, you'll be interested to know it replaced 'dog cheap'. I don't like that one, nor does Eddy. None of the dog idioms make sense. Like 'sick as a dog' - my dog is never sick, so it is wholly inappropriate. For a fascinating discussion about the cost of dirt including the exclamation "Canada ROCKS, man!!" see this site. We agree with the comments there - dirt is now expensive (and Canada does, indeed, ROCK). Dirt + rocks: most expensive landscaping stuff we've had to buy yet. Stay tuned for decking, though, which will blow those out of the water.)

Embarrassment aside, we picked out the best damn pallet of stepping stones, and they were delivered to our driveway for a very reasonable fee, no toll on the Suby and certainly less than gas.

In the beginning, there was the wheelbarrow... (note, it now has a 'Dog is my co-pilot' bumper sticker.)

OK, now the gushing. We love these rocks! Ken picked out a pallet that had several huge ones, so we could make a little landing in the clothesyard and a big step for the future garden shed. The rest of the pretty darn thick (3-4", mostly) stones made up a series of paths based on the existing paths plus a few more we've realized were necessary after a couple of years of trampling plants or cutting across soil.

So Saturday was rocks & more dirt hauling day. The dirt hauling is seemingly endless. It was a long day, but we got the whole pallet down, leveled, and set. We were missing a few spots, so we decided by late Saturday night that we'd buy a few more stones to complete it, because it looked so good. So, so good. Better than we anticipated, after having seen some less-than-splendid stepping stone paths in our research/life experience.

Sunday: day of rest. Well, not quite. We de-sodded the whole side yard, hauled all the sod away, and completed the 3 year rejuvenation pruning of the lilacs. I usually suck at plant maintenance, but lilacs are worth learning how to prune properly, and ours were in poor shape when we got here. They are now textbook, with loads of little suckers at the base and they are a proper height for a lilac.

Monday: Store was open, went down and got 25 more rocks, and put them in. Then we - ahem, Ken - dug a bunch of holes and we planted the rest of our shrubs. Wait till one of the next posts for a diatribe about mail order plant companies.

Yes, it was getting dark by the time we tore ourselves away to take pictures. Better pictures later, in the daytime.

So, back to work tomorrow, with a new labyrinth of paths, very sore fingers, forearms that are unable to lift a shovel, ground-in dirt & bugbites everywhere, and a sunburn. Yay, SUMMER!


Susie said...

Wow! These are beautiful stones! I can't wait to see all of it when it's "done." Wowee!

Unknown said...

I've always found dirt and gravel to be fairly cheap, it's the delivery that's expensive. Unless you buy it in bags, then it's ridiculously expensive.

Sandy said...

Everything looks so nice. A whole lot of hard work, but very worth the results!

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