Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Man in the Yellow Shirt - The Great Wall

My husband often wears a yellow t-shirt.  Maybe it's because he has 16 of them. 
This is the story of a backyard, a patio wall, and the man in the yellow shirt.  A story of danger, intrigue, mystery, suspense, courage, shovels, swearing, dirt, the wheel-barrow, the level.  Man vs. the elements.
The taming of one small corner of the planet, a triumph of the human spirit.....a wall going boldly where no wall has gone before...........and the man in the yellow shirt who tamed the dirt, tamed the yard, and ultimately tamed me (well, no, not quite).

First, he dug.  And dug, and dug.  And dug some more.
Over 70 wheel-barrow loads of dirt were removed from this small area.
I don't have a "before" picture, but it was all weeds.  Weeds, I tell you, weeds!

Then he put over 35 loads of stones in, as part of the patio foundation.

Then, he bought and carried all of these Allan blocks to the back yard.  They weigh approx 75 lbs each, and he used about 45 of them. This was the dangerous part.  Danger of dropping block on foot.  The courageous part was me watching him almost drop block on foot.  Repeatedly.
Did I mention swearing?

He carefully places each stone, mindful of my screeching reminding him to use the level.

A purposeful stride to the next block. Thinking "Whose idea was this wall, and when am I going to have some beer?"

These are the caps - about 60 of them were used, at about 30 lbs each.  He had to rent a special saw to cut them for the curved area and other tight spots.

Now some of the previously-removed dirt comes back to fill in the planter areas. this is the intriguing part.  Dirt go away - dirt come back.

He goes to get more dirt.  Things are shaping up.
The photographer is relentless!

Artful stepped planter area: to be filled with stunning greenery.
Bedraggled old greenery to be rearranged/removed.
Money to be spent at nursery; credit card to be further melted.

This is still the old greenery. Not enough form, shape, colour!
It's mostly shady back here, so a few hostas and other shade-lovers are in order, I think.

Another angle.  I love this wall, and plan to praise the man in the yellow shirt daily for the rest of our lives.
Or, until I get distracted.

I think my deck pots need scrubbing.
Oh man in the yellow shirt....another chore for you....
(Just kidding, I'll do it myself)

A final shot of his holy walliness.
We're off to the store to buy some plants.
We'll tackle what to put down as an actual patio some other day.  Now he's talking about putting in a Japanese garden instead of a patio.  We'll see. This is the mysterious part of the story...and the suspense.
Stay tuned for plantings, patio or garden construction, and more stunning images of the man in the yellow shirt!


DJan said...

Wow! That is a beautiful patio, now, complete with Man in Yellow Shirt. I look forward to seeing it with the plants in place, but it's quite amazing right now.

Anonymous said...

May I please borrow the man in the yellow shirt? He hasn't really lived until he's created a beautiful space like that in 100+ temps with 95% humidity. I might even go to the next county and buy refreshments. It is already so gorgeous. Wow, you'll never want to go inside. viv

Christine said...

Well done to the man in the yellow shirt, that is a seriously impressive patio.
I am now going to show your pictures to my "man who doesn't have a yellow shirt", and see if he takes the hint...

Kathryn said...

Thanks for looking! YOUR photos are breathtaking - love all those hikes way up high. I'll have to get over to your blog again and actually comment instead of just gasping.

We have truly never experienced that combination of heat and humidity. I know I'd wilt, and I can't imagine how you work in the garden all that you do.

Would you like a yellow shirt? We have at least 16 of them here. There's no guarantee what your David will do once he puts it on. He might go dirt-biking!

Deborah said...

I only wish that the work ethic of Yellow Shirt Man had been equally distributed through the rest of the family. Unfortunately - and unfairly- he got most of it. Well, I guess it's fortunate for him, and by extension, for you and maybe even for those of us who will someday experience the Japanese Mystery Garden for ourselves.

Please give YSM a medal, a hug and a beer.

Kathryn said...

He sure does like to keep busy, and in a mostly productive way!
He will accept the hug and beer, but not the medal...something about it getting caught in some machinery....

Von said...

Get that man a keg - he deserves that and more! :D

Our back patio is a mix of two kinds of rock/stone/gravel - whatever you want to call it. It's not a common finish here, but was economical, much more than the flagstone I was drawn to.

My husband has been getting the last section of our back fence in - after four years, lol! I left off the nagging until I had worked my way around the border, getting the plants in, and now the corner is all that's left - nagging ensued with a good result (to my surprise)!

Kathryn said...

Hi Von,
Yes, he does deserve a keg. Believe me - he makes sure his labours are rewarded with beer, wine or a nice G and T....heh heh.
I always love it when I see pics of your back yard and the roses! I am drawn to flagstones too, but may end up with bricks or gravel and plants. Way to go on getting your latest honey-do list item done! Nagging? You? Never!

Jacqueline Korteland Boller said...

Beautiful, Kathryn! Send your husband down my way!! I still have a long way to go in my back yard!

Susan said...

Hi Kathryn! Awesome block laying resulting in awesome wall! I have a couple of spots at my house where that would go down very well. ;-)

Wow, wouldn't flagstones look nice on top of those loose stones? Oh, Yellow Shirt Man!

Friko said...

How very hard you worked at this photography thing!
I admire you tremendously.

The man in the yellow shirt's not bad either, but then chaps are for digging and carting and lugging and building. What else would we have them for.

Kathryn said...

I'll send him down as soon as I've finished with him....which will be never! mwoo, ha ha ha!

Yes, Flagstones would be lovely, but I fear they're beyond the budget...sigh...

He cooks, he cleans, he fixes everything. What else are they good for? I often wonder what I am good for. He works, I take pictures. he cooks, I eat. He cleans, I make messes. I guess we complete each other, heh heh.

Annie said...

Wow, he did a fantastic job! I love the way it looks!!!

And for a giggle...the word verification that I have to type in in order to leave this commment is....


How ironic is that!

Kathryn said...

Hi Annie,
I swear, the word verification thingy is psychic!