Gettin' Ready For Spring
I haven't done much rehab work lately. The weather has been cold and generally yucky, I've had to travel a bit for the new job, I've been sick a couple times - and I never get sick - and taking care of Roscoe as best I can is still a fairly time-consuming endeavor.
And if I'm gonna mention Roscoe I gotta mention Freckles; she's become quite fond of Tower Grove Park (I think this will be "her" park, the same way Lafayette Park was always "Roscoe's"), and I spend quite a few hours taking her there every week, playing fetch when the crowds and park ranger aren't around, and doing my best to teach her to leave the squirrels alone, a battle I'm not sure I'll ever win.
All that said, I've gotten a few things done lately and I'm gearin' up for a whole lot more.
A couple weeks back I got some vegetable seeds started inside. I'm gonna take a crack at a small container garden this year, despite the yard and it's immense amount of full shade presenting some challenges. Also, I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to this gardening nonsense.
I still have a few more seeds to plant: broccoli, carrots, and cantaloupe. Before long, they'll all get moved outside, and I'll have to figure out how to keep the squirrels from devouring all of it.
I got bored a couple weekends ago and decided to resume repointing basement limestone. When I first moved in I was pretty good about tackling it a little here, a little there, and then I moved on to other things and never came back to it. The mortar removal is zero fun, especially the spots where it's still fairly solid, but getting new mortar back in the wall is oddly satisfying.
And a couple weekends before that, I got out the big ladder, climbed up the side of the house, and investigated what was hiding behind the sheet metal attic vents (not original). I had a suspicion that the original cast iron grilles were back there and sure enough, they are.
They're not real practical in terms of allowing all manner of critters and rain into the house, but I'm thinking I can come up with a way to leave the cast iron grilles exposed AND prevent the infiltration of rodents and water...I just haven't come up with anything real great just yet.
And then there's the big job, or massive collection of small jobs really, I'm hoping to start this weekend.
Behind the house, between the house and the garage, is no-man's-land. It's been a dumping ground for stuff I don't have any other place for because it can't be seen by any of the neighbors and between the full shade and number of obstacles over there - downspout, a/c condenser, cistern, oak tree, etc. - it's not a real useful part of the yard.
But it looks like hell and the wood fence is a stiff breeze away from falling into my neighbor's yard.
Over the next handful of weekends, I want to redo the whole space, starting with removing all the bricks that pave the entire area.
The challenge here is not having a good place to put all the bricks; I already have several large piles of brick and limestone chillin' in the yard.
With the bricks gone, the next step is to excavate the cistern - which means more bricks - and ultimately filling in the hole where the cistern will get removed from. There is a 100% chance some of the oddball and broken bricks will get buried in the hole (the cistern is 8' in diameter and at least 2.5' deep -- it'll be a sizable hole).
Somewhere along the way I want to repoint the limestone foundation wall back there, but only the spots that need it...and there are plenty of 'em. I also want to rework the downspout a bit and get 'er snugged up to the house. It's the only downspout for the entire roof, so it carries a LOT of water at times and it's critical that it works the way it's supposed to.
Once that's complete, I need to figure out a good way to get rainwater from the downspout over to the main part of the yard, which will be a giant challenge due to the silver maple that kinda blocks the path I'd like to take with some underground piping. Right now, the downspout more or less empties into a clean out for the sanitary sewer - a setup done by the previous owner - which you're not supposed to do.
When I'm finally done making a mess back there, I'll put up a new fence, get the area graded the way it needs to be, and then figure out some sorta ground cover. I need that area to absorb some water so I don't want to paver the whole thing, but the shade back there means not much will ever grow real well so I can't plant much of anything either. And then there's the oak tree leaves and acorns to contend with; whatever I do to cover the ground, it's gonna be something that will allow for halfway easy cleanup.
I've got 6 weekends set aside for all the work. I think I can pull it off, but between weather and dogs and work...ya never know.