Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Found objects

While digging out the base for our new patio, we dug up quite a lot of rocks along with the clay. Some of these just got tossed onto the pile with all the concrete chunks, but I made a point of saving all the smooth, roundish ones that were at least a few inches long. I'd found these useful in the past for landscaping projects; the bed where our raspberries are now, which we originally dug out as a rhubarb patch several years ago, yielded a large collection of stones that I eventually turned into a border for our day lilies in the front yard. So I was pretty sure I could come up with a good use for these round rocks, even if I didn't have a specific one in mind.

Within a week, a suitable use suggested itself. Our cherry bushes, neglected during the week we spent working on the patio, had begun to become overgrown with weeds, some of which were nearly as tall as the bushes themselves. Moreover, the boundary between the "lawn" (if you can call it that when it's more weeds than grass) and the mulched area surrounding the bushes had become fuzzy as the weeds gradually impinged more and more on the mulch. So I thought it would be a good idea to add a border that would create a clear line of demarcation between the area belonging to the cherries, which should be kept as free of weeds as possible, and the lawn, in which the weeds could be allowed to roam free. An added advantage of this plan was that it meant the rocks, some of which were quite large, only needed to be moved a few yards across the yard, rather than hauled all the way out to the front or side yard.

To do this, though, I had to get the mulched area cleared of weeds first, or it wouldn't be clear where the weeds were meant to leave off and the mulch to begin. So I devoted a rather sweaty hour last weekend to yanking up as many weeds as I could manage to root out from under the mulch. Then I grabbed one of our big cocoa butter buckets and started filling it up with the rocks we'd mined from the patio area, making a couple of trips to transport them all to the other side of the yard and pile them up beside the cherry patch.

Monday marked the beginning of the big East Coast heat wave, so I spread the work on the new border out over a couple of days, working only for half an hour at a time in the cooler morning hours. The biggest rocks were the hardest to move, so I left them near the middle and spread the rest out in no particular order along the lawn/mulch boundary. The final result isn't perfectly straight or perfectly even, but it looks much tidier than it did, and we still have some rocks left over in case we need to expand it at any point.

By the way, those two big rocks in the middle actually aren't the largest we pulled out of the patio area. The very biggest one was literally larger than my head—far too large to be incorporated into the border, and really too large for me even to move over to the other side of the yard. So I ended up just rolling it a little way and leaving it propped up against the pole that supports the clothesline. It shouldn't be too much in the way there, and maybe it can come in handy as a sort of a little table to rest the laundry basket on, or even a place to sit.

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