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Amparo Bertram

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08:06 pm: Hard rock
Not much garden news this week. Just a few more flowers opening.

This past week at work, I had to take several days of training to qualify me to teach a certain job-related course to CBP officers. One morning, the officers in the class were trying to remember the name of the mythological Greek character who stole fire from the gods. When I provided the answer, one of the officers began to quiz me on Greek mythology. He was impressed that I got all of the answers correct. (I was just amused that the question he believed to be the hardest was one I thought was common knowledge.)

In sad news, I discovered that the Indian grocery where I shopped for all my Indian food staples has apparently gone out of business. That's a real shame. I'm glad I stocked up the last time I went.

My dandelion wine is now fizzing away in a glass fermentation jar. The recipe uses citrus juice to provide acid for flavor balance and to help the yeast work. When I got a sip of it while siphoning it into the jar, it tasted somewhat like Sprite. I'm interested in seeing how the flavor will change with time. I'm continuing to harvest and freeze dandelion blossoms, in case I want to make another batch later. I will have to wait until my current two wines are done, though, because I don't have any more jars, and I don't want to spend more money buying extra when I don't know how this experiment will turn out.

Yesterday I decided that it was about time I acquired supplies for paving the area under my pergola. For one thing, the sooner I get it paved, the less I will have to weed that spot. For another, once I get a solid surface down, I can put a bench there and have a place to sit and relax. That will be a particularly attractive idea once the wisteria start blooming.

I began by going to the nearest stoneyard, and I walked around for a while until I found a type of stone that I liked. Unfortunately, they only carried it in huge slabs, and they didn't cut or break it into smaller pieces. They suggested that I go to their showroom to see other samples, but the showroom is closed on Mondays, so I couldn't do much else that day. I returned home and spent the rest of the afternoon weeding, fertilizing, and mulching various areas of the yard.

Today, though it was rainy, I took my parents' car and went out to view the showroom. It's rather impressive, though surprisingly compact. The lady there suggested I visit a different stoneyard a few miles farther away that had a large stock of smaller sized flagstones. I made my way there and strolled through their selection, which was extensive. I managed to locate stone similar to the kind I liked from the first place but in a much more convenient size. I arranged to have it delivered, along with the gravel and sand that will form the layers beneath the flagstones.

I kind of imagined that the gravel and sand would come in bags, rather like cement from the hardware store. I didn't realize it would just be dumped in piles in my driveway. (The forklift the driver used was too large to fit through the gate to the backyard.) I was left with the task of transporting the piles to the back little by little with my shovel and wheelbarrow. The blue-gray sand in the front pile is 0.75 ton, and the gravel behind it is 1.5 tons. It took me a little over two hours to get it all moved. I haven't tried moving the flagstones yet, but at least they're not blocking the neighbor's gate.

I suspect that they sold me twice as many flagstones as I actually need, but then I don't have any experience with such things, so it's hard for me to judge just by looking at it. It's better to have too many than too few. I was hoping to have some left over anyway, to pave the spot behind the gate on the opposite side of the house, so the gate wouldn't keep dragging in the dirt every time I opened it. I'm sure I'll find ways to use up any extras.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:xparrot
Date:April 11th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
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Pity you're not close enough for me to bring you dandelions, I've spent much of the last week pulling them out of my lawn! XP

Moving over 2 tons of rock-stuff in two hours is pretty impressive! Just try not to strain anything in the moving! ^^;
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:April 11th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
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Normally when you recap your yardwork, I'm lazy-jealous-confused (a combination of "I would never do that, but I want the fresh produce, just stop eating weeds!"). This week, I'm lazy-lazy-hornswaggled. I really, really, really never want to move rock, and I am impressed you know how to lay flagstone. I would have to call a professional landscaper.

This is a good week.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:April 11th, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
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+1

(I've watched my dad lay brick for the patio and walkway in our yard. Not something I'd be interested in doing myself. But then, there's a reason I want to someday buy a condo, not a house--I have little to no interest in maintaining a yard/garden.)
[User Picture]
From:collarnojutsu
Date:April 11th, 2012 12:56 pm (UTC)
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I am impressed you know how to lay flagstone
Dig a bit, shovel in gravel and sand, drop stone. ;)

s_v: Looking forward to the pictures, I bet it will look great. What kind of stone was it? You probably won't have as much extra as you think, these projects always takes more supply than we expect. (It's good you had the stuff delivered because the professionals know!) I helped my friend lay her firepit-pizzaoven-sitting-everything patio last fall, talk about a lot of grunt work, oy. But it looks great and I'm jealous that it's in her yard and not mine! ;) It's fun(?) and gratifying to enjoy the results of your work later, so I'm sure you will spend many lovely hours under the wisteria!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 11th, 2012 01:15 pm (UTC)
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What kind of stone was it?

Arizona sandstone. (I was tempted by some pink granite, but it was a bit TOO pink.)

I'm sure it's going to be a slow project, but it will get done a little at a time...
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:April 11th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Dig a bit, shovel in gravel and sand, drop stone.

You forgot "set level on stone, pound with hammer, repeat until satisfied."

...Oh, wait, that's probably just my dad.
[User Picture]
From:collarnojutsu
Date:April 11th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
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Haha, probably not just your dad, but I imagine the "repeat until satisfied" varies with surface area and person involved. XD

Helpful tip: Aiming for an "old and weathered" aesthetic gives a little artistic license to be lazy about the lines. ;) I think that will be my excuse some day!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 11th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
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Aiming for an "old and weathered" aesthetic gives a little artistic license to be lazy about the lines.

I agree! But I'm going with the excuse that it's a Japanese garden, so any imperfections are just part of the Zen.
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From:sara_tanaquil
Date:April 11th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
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+1 (million)

I have been hemming and hawing over various maybe-landscaping projects for YEARS. I am incredibly impressed.

(On a completely different note, which was the mythological figure he thought was hardest?)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 11th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
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which was the mythological figure he thought was hardest?

Which Greek god was responsible for kidnapping Persephone?
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:April 12th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)

Who is Hades?

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Oh, well, duh! ^__^

That is funny. I can think of way harder questions than that.
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