Feed The Birds And Garden Incorrigible
0 comment Tuesday, August 26, 2014 |
It begins, with mass ripping up of soil, trees, planting posts and preparing for mayhem.
The first issue was the realisation that the back garden is going to lose about six inches of land to one side with the fencing laid down. This was a decision I made due to wanting to put the fence in a certain way (facing outward so we can use the support beams for hanging stuff off of) and also due to the lay of the land, which slopes very sharply off from the fence; building it up so it wouldn't topple I think may have been a nightmare. However, the landlord I think may take extreme umbrance to losing that space - and here I'd make a point about how men always make six inches sound like it's much bigger than it actually is, but we'll just leave that there....in any event, I expect a bru-hah from the owner, but at that point I can point out I have levelled, reseeded, patioed and generally tidied the hell out of the garden at no cost to himself. I'm also having proper insulation installed in the attic of the house. If we total that up with the loss of a six-inch strip of land, methinks we'll be square - or he can knock some cash off the rent, fine by me.
The Zen Master who is the Mini-Digger driver managed to get the digger up the stairs in a manoeuvre I have never seen anyone do in building equipment in my life: backwards. No boards, nothing. Good grief, I bow before his reflexes and instincts, I'd have never dared that one; I doubt even Blackie, the fellow who taught me how to run equipment, could have failed to be impressed and he was a demi-god of instrumentation. Eventually, once they managed to get the door off the hinge (bless their hearts, you probably could have just talked to the door sternly and it would have fallen off, the place isn't exactly in peak condition) they set to, with sprog manning the window and explaining for the nth time that he HAD to go outside and tell them about his Bakugan toys. I will say here I managed to bravely keep my resolve not to disturb them overmuch, even though the dreadlocked guy was cute. Really cute. (yes, D I know you're reading this, stop snickering).
In any event, there was work to be done, and only two days to do it in, and so off they went, and after the first day they've managed to get a fair bit done. I've worked on construction sites for a good portion of my life, and I am familiar with many of the builder postures, so I sort of knew how the work was going without having to hear anyone talking: hands on hips, head down; "bugger if I know how we're going to do this"; vigorously attacking the ground with several different tools while other fellow watches; "are you going to help, mate, or just supervise?" "no way, that's flint, you just soldier on, aye?"; and the somewhat smirking, not-looking-at-the-window glances; "are they watching?" "Yes, so don't mess up, we've got an audience". I'm taking the piss (somewhat) but I'm still amazed at how much work two fellows with very minimal equipment were able to do. Taking a small tree down with a handsaw is something I haven't seen in a while - most landscapers will refuse to attack anything more than two inches in diameter without a chainsaw. And I know for a fact how hard that ground is to dig as four men took most the day to do the patio leveling. So, for one fellow to get all the postholes dug and posts mounted in flint/chalk soil is pretty jolly good going. But then, they're the pros!
The back garden looks an amazing mess at the moment, with trees down and piled all over, concrete stuff dug up, no grass. Actually, the "no grass" thing is a bit major. I now find myself thinking "Oh hells, the grass is gone!" Yes, duh, you'd think I might have pieced together the bit about leveling ground equals no grass at the end of it, but that sort of slipped my mind. Sprog was a bit distraught seeing the turf dug up, but I've promised him we'll grow a new lawn together - honestly, it can't be much worse than the starved, clumpy rubbish that was in before. I'd even consider chamomile if it didn't take so long to fill in, and the whole point for me of having grass is to be able to run around and roll on it as soon as possible.
So we'll start from scratch in what my grandfather used to call "feeding the birds"; laying down seed. Understand, of course, my grandfather hated mowing lawns so much he poured cement outside the front of his house and painted it green. I do envision the birds are going to have a field day happily chowing down on the grass seed I lay out, but I'm going to do my best to at least give the grass a fighting chance for the first few months. At least it's the right time of year for seed!
And therefore, this weekend when my cash comes in through tax credits, I'll have to head on over to the trusty B & Q for seed, more compost (a LOT more), some Miracle-Gro for lawns, a sturdy tined rake and a watering can which won't fall apart every time I try to water something. A further expense chipping away and other things I wanted to save up for but I admit I echo my son's sentiment about a need for grass as soon as feasible. My only issue is trying to decide whether I go for the really heavy duty, football pitch stuff; but then considering dog and sprog wore a track through the last patch of grass, I'd think that would be an affirmative.
Now, after a day inside with sprog, keeping him as occupied as possible, I'm exhausted already, and will be having a stupidly early night, well before the sun goes down. More of the same tomorrow!