Thursday, February 25, 2010


Finally got the first layer of concrete bags laid down for my front flower bed. I’ve had twenty-eight bags of concrete sitting in my garage for weeks now, waiting for 1) me to have time to get out in the yard and work, 2) me to have energy to get out in the yard and work and 3) the weather to cooperate long enough for me to get out in the yard and work.

Once I saw that it was going to be passably warm(ish) this afternoon, Harrison and I hotfooted it out of school and headed home. After he played with the hoe a little bit—I was leveling the big, ugly holes that were left from the removal of the boxwoods back in December and the buried bricks last week—he headed across the street to play with his friend.

Hunkering down for a good digging and toting session, I looked up from my work to see one of our neighbors pulling up along-side my yard to talk to me for a few minutes. She had made a bow for Laura’s birthday outfit and wanted to chat for a minute. Cool. I love to chat. Got the bow. She left for her daughter’s clogging lessons.

Got ready to work again when Robert called to talk. Finally got off the phone—do you know how hard it is to try to hoe while holding a cell phone to your ear? Couldn’t find my hands free earplug thingy. Sigh. I’ve got five minutes at this point before Harrison is supposed to be home from across the street.

Started working again. Another neighbor from down the street stopped to chat and give us a toy for Laura that her daughter had outgrown. Awesome! I love new toys for the baby! Her son’s the one who pulled out the bricks last week. Good folks.

Losing daylight, though.

By this time, Harrison has returned. Wants to show his computer to the son.

I finally get back to work and Robert and the baby drive up. He offers to watch the baby so Harrison and I can keep laying concrete bags. Cool.

I’m spreading newspaper under where the bags are going to be to kill the weeds. I hear a crash and Harrison screaming. He’s dumped the wheelbarrow with 120 pounds of concrete bags in it over, busting  his top lip in the process.


Calm the kid down. Husband calms me down. I’m not so much freaked out about the lip—he’s had worse cuts—but more that I can’t get these damned concrete bags laid. I’m not digging into the soil here, people—the hoeing was merely for evening out areas. Pretty much all I’m doing is laying bags of concrete in a perimeter around the space I want my flower bed to be. I was putting newspaper under them, which is what was taking the most time until Robert reminded me I have an end roll from the local paper that would be perfect for putting under the bags. Der. When it rains, the concrete will harden and I will eventually remove the bag part and, ta-da!, I’ll have an awesome raised flower bed. Yay!

Robert offers to watch both kids so I can get this thing finished. It’s now dark, but I’m determined.

I get to spreading the roll and laying bags.

Dad from across the street brings Harrison’s jacket that was forgotten over there. And talks.


I finally got all twenty-eight bags laid in exactly the configuration I had planned. Looking at it, I’m thinking I’m going to want to add at least one more layer of bags, off-setting them, much like bricks. Down the road, I might even want to put a third layer—it depends on how tall the two layers are.

I like this wall for several reasons. First of all, I’m pretty much doing it all myself, which is pretty empowering. I’m the one offloading the 40-lb bags of concrete from the van to the garage. (I’ll be honest, though—I had the Lowe’s guys load it into the van. I’m not going to not use available labor if it’s handy. :) ) I figured the math on it. I’m building it. Harrison helped by holding the newspaper in place a bit, but he wasn’t happy about it, so I consider that a win. I also like that it’s going to be sturdy. I think that once it hardens up, it’s going to be pretty danged strong, compared to wooden sided raised beds that have to be rebuilt every few years because of warpage and rot. Finally, I like that I’m not using the same blocks that everyone else on the planet is using for their flower beds. They’re nice, but it’s boring seeing yard after yard after yard of them. After the paper comes off, these will look like regular blocks, so that’s going to be cool.

So I’m tired, I’m sore and achy, but I’m happy in the grand scheme of things. My bed is finally started. My plants are doing well in the garage and I’m looking forward to getting them planted when it finally warms up.

I do understand, though, why I’m such an inside girl. For someone who shies away from human contact—I am as misanthropic a gal as I know—getting out in the front yard and doing work seems to make everyone and their dog stop for a chat.

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