Sunday, March 14, 2021

Why We Call It The Island...

 One of the first landscaping projects we took on when we moved to our house in Natalia back in 2010 was to build a fire pit back away from the back of the house.  We set up some lawn-chairs and found ourselves enjoying the evenings around the fire, listening to deer try to sneak through the trees behind us unnoticed.  

Our good dog, Gracie would find a cool spot and lay there napping as we enjoyed a few beers and appreciate the lack of the sirens, traffic, and just the noise you hear in a neighborhood in the city.  It was as if you had found yourself on an island without going on vacation, and the fact that we had used landscaping materials to create a separated feature from the rest of the yard, the name, Stoney Island, just took.

When we moved to Helotes and traded our beautiful space for a much smaller yard for the convenience of being closer to grandkids, we tried to recreate that same feel, and it was nice, but frankly, as much as we liked our neighbors, you have that sense of people being on top of you all the time.  It just isn't the same. 

So now, back out here, over the last few weekends, ten bags of quickcrete, three full yards of decayed crushed granite,  and lots of sore muscles, we have finally gotten this version of the island up and running.

I started out by measuring out where I wanted to outer ring to be.  I had to take into account where my sprinkler system was because, let's be honest, covering a sprinkler head would be bad.  What I don't have pictures of is all the prep work prior to the next step of taking down the grass that was inside the area and then applying a really heavy coat of grass and weed killer.  

During this part, I was by myself and it was pretty windy, so I had to put down the weed barrier a few rows at a time, then put rock on it to keep it from flying up.  I looked like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.  No offense to any one-legged readers.  

My little trailer is good for hauling about a yard of material at a time, but the place I buy from closes at 2PM on Saturdays, so I needed to get the first yard unloaded and back over there before they closed.  This process of putting down weed barrier and unloading, then more weed barrier was a pain.  By late afternoon, I had both yards of material down but had concluded that doing the concrete curbs around the edges was going to have to wait for Eva.  

 Thursday and Friday evening, we did all the cement work (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the progress) and Saturday morning, I went to get one more yard of decayed crushed granite to really fill out the area.  

These are some of the original Adirondack chairs I built back in 2011 or 2012 for the original island.  What I have learned is, when you purchase wood from a good supplier, you get really good wood.  When you purchase lumber from the big box stores, you get what you pay for.  Two of these chairs will go on the fire pit tonight.  he other two (the very first two I built) will continue to provide safe seating for another several years.  
I have found that in spite of two new knees, I am just too old and fat to really get out of the Adirondack chairs easily these days, so on Saturday, we went and purchased some new chairs that are easier on my knees.  

When I look back at the original, I feel like we have a lot of landscaping to do, but then again, this property is not that property, this house is not that house, this island is not that island.  We'll get there, or we'll get somewhere and it will be someplace that works for us. 

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