Saturday, July 13, 2013


Well, I'm a slacker about posting anyway.  I have been doing things, just been very bad about recording them.  But after a long day of working on the yard, I am going to update my project status first.

First, the labyrinth.  It's mostly done, although after getting the path laid and the plants in, I have decided it would look awesome to have a nice hedge around it, so I'll be looking for a deal on some boxwoods in the near future.  But for now, this one can be considered 90% complete.

 So, the last time I posted about this, I'd just started by marking out the path.  Then I went through and tamped down the walk path.  Above you can see how the compacted dirt path looks with the soft, turned soil for the borders all fluffy and nice.
 Then we got a load of decomposed granite.  I wanted the path to stay unpaved, but it'll get weeds and it'll get muddy, so a load of DG as everyone out here calls it, was just what we needed.  I spread that out, then compacted that, too.  Unfortunately, now I can't walk on it barefoot, because the DG isn't soft.  Boo.  I might have to put some sand on top of that.  Anyway, we also planted and then mulched the plants, and then put some starter food on it.  This picture about was from about 3 weeks ago, by the end of summer, I think most of the plants will have grown and merged together to create a living border.  At least that's the plan.  And again, I think a nice little hedge around it would look really cool.  I was hoping to find a cool fountain for the middle, but I'm trying to do this really super cheap, so I am just lurking around craigslist free hoping to snap one up.  Missed one the other day, but I'm persistent!

Another thing Dale and I are doing this summer is trying to fit in some little mini-trips to places we've not yet visited.  So we took a spur of the moment trip to Las Vegas and Hoover Dam, because I had one free night from my acct.  We upgraded, and stayed at the Bellagio.   And we ended up going on the HOTTEST week of the year!

Whew! and that wasn't even the hottest temperature we experienced, it got up another degree, but my picture of that is blurry.

First, we went to Hoover Dam, and went on the tour.  We wanted to go on the deluxe longer tour, but it was booked and we would have had to have waited another 3 hours, so we just went on the shorter one through the power plant.  It was really interesting, and nice and cool inside.

I won't put all the pictures on here, but here's a cool shot:

A panorama of the Lake Mead side of the dam.  The water is down about 50 feet, which is really apparent when you visit, but not sure if you can tell in this picture.  Oh, and it was HOT!  We walked part way across the dam, but decided to drive across in our nice, air conditioned car.  We looked at all the outdoor exhibits briefly, then scurried back to the cool car. 

One of the things that I really liked was the terrazzo floor inside the power plant - they had inlaid designs that paid homage to the Native American history of the place.  This is a picture of a turbine, with a Native American influence:

 and an electrical outlet design , that looks somewhat like a rug:

We also got out and walked across the bypass bridge (the Mike O'Callahan-Pat Tillman bridge), which was crazy because we had to climb up eleventy billion stairs in the hot sun and then walk out across the burning hot sidewalk, but we did get this cool shot:

So that was worth it. 

We also saw this cool sculpture that pays homage to all the workers who completed this dam in only 5 years, 2 years ahead of schedule.  They worked 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and only got two days off a year.  But it was the Depression and they were glad to have a job.  And you know it had to be ridiculously hot like it was while we were out there, except they had no air conditioning to escape to!

This sculpture is huge, BTW, I don't have anything in it for scale, but it's really giant. 

We originally thought we'd also go to the Grand Canyon, but after realizing we were going during the biggest heat wave of the year, and there's really nothing at the Grand Canyon other than hiking, which would be completely idiotic in this heat, we decided we'd do that another time.  It's about 9 hours away. (Las Vegas is 3.5 hours from our house, and the Hoover Dam is 30 minutes from Las Vegas).  So that makes it a pretty easy trip.

Another big project we wanted to do this summer was sell (*sob*) my Karmann Ghia and buy a truck.  We've rented trucks so many times from Home Depot to do all kinds of things, and really, as cute as the Karmann Ghia was  (see! Look how cute:)
but it is not a very practical car for us right now.  And I've been taking the bus to work quite a bit, and driving it very minimally.  So it's been a bit of a luxury item, when what we could really use is a truck.  I listed it, had a bunch of people come and look at it, some really annoying people who want to low-ball bid, but finally sold it to a guy who was very happy to have a cute little car.  I think he's going to fix it up to make it more of a hot rod, but whatever! 

Then we had to go find a truck.  We looked at a bunch of really crappy ones, but got a really great deal on this 2002 Tundra.  It is in pristine condition, the guy we got it from really maintained it well, so hopefully it'll be a good deal.   And the best part is that we got the truck for $1200 less than we got for the Ghia, so we can buy a few extra things for it, and also pay for some of the yard projects.

We've already picked up a bunch of heavy stuff in it, so it's been earning its keep already.  And, like the Ghia, I will probably drive this only once or twice a week when school starts up again, as I plan on taking the bus often.  A full sized truck like this doesn't get great mileage, so it will be the vehicle we use the least.

OK, finally, what we got done today on our front yard.  In the past month, I've gotten the new walk path dug out, which was back breaking work but I've been doing it a bit at a time.  I somehow managed not to get any pictures of the dug out part, but a couple of days ago we got a free load of DG for the compacted sub-base, and this is what that looks like:
 This is during our process of spreading and compacting the decomposed granite.  EXHAUSTING, backbreaking work!  And after we got the DG compacted, we had our concrete pavers delivered.  We used 18 x 36s and 12 x 12s.  We alternated them so we had an irregular pattern.  There's a space in this first picture below, we have to re-route a sprinkler head tomorrow, and two of the large pavers arrived broken, so we have to return those and get a new one for this spot on Monday.  Tomorrow, we'll pick up another load of gravel (in our handy truck!) and fill the rest of the spaces between the pavers.  We originally thought we'd put groundcover here, but we really like the look of the little gravel, so we'll fill with gravel, and then gradually introduce the ground cover in between.

You can see the two cracked pavers above. 

We are pretty much exhausted, but we want to get this part done, it'll be a big boost for us to have part of this going!  We also can start planting the section between the path and the driveway, we have tons of plants ready to go!  We also have the drip system for that section, so that'll be the next part of our project.  And I'll try to get more pictures and posts on a regular basis!

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