Well, I was going to wait until everything was completely finished to post pictures of our new patio, but the weather decided to stop cooperating. Thunderstorms, dropping temperatures, rain all day, extreme wind, more dropping temperatures, more rain, more wind…stop already! I guess we really can’t complain, because we have had some exceptionally beautiful days lately. Beautiful enough that we were able to get most of the work finished on our patio, gazebo and the walk and retaining wall I did (all by myself I might add). I’ll post pictures of what we have done so far, and after this weekend, which is supposed to be in the low 60’s, I will post the final project.
First though, I need to thank my sister Barb for getting us to finish it in the first place. The second week in September, David and I went “up north” and stayed with Barb at her cabin. I was complaining about all of the projects we have started and never seem to get finished. We had been wanting to lay the flagstones we bought last year, or was it the year before, and we knew what kind of design we wanted for the patio, but it was such a big job that we kept putting it off, and time was running out (weather wise). She said, “Why don’t the two of you pick one project and both work on it until it is done?” Well, geez, that sounded like a great idea, a No Brainer, a Why didn’t I think of that? idea. Sometimes I just fail to think of the most obvious solution to a problem, and it is getting worse the older I get. I think I’m a little frightened! Anyway, we decided we could work on the basement when it was cold out and we were already pressing our luck with the weather, but we forged ahead and got things moving. I have to admit that I have been kind of a slave driver, making David get out there and work when he’d rather be taking a Sunday afternoon nap. Tough! We’ve been working on this project every free moment we’ve had. I’d go to work, come home and change into my grubbies and get out there and work. Digging up grass, leveling dirt, adding sand, leveling sand, laying granite blocks. I laid almost all the blocks, got them all level by adding sand, scraping away sand, pounding with the rubber mallet, measuring, eyeing, very tiring. We then realized that instead of adding sand to make the patio higher, we should have left it the way it was, because now we needed to raise all of the flagstones that were already under the gazebo. So we looked at each other, looked at the granite, looked at the flagstone and decided that we needed to lower all of them or we would just run into problems later. So……I re-laid all of those darn granite blocks again, and I had to hurry, because the cement was being delivered the next day, Friday, and we were pouring the concrete on Saturday. Yikes!!!! Thanks to our wonderful neighbor Ed, we were able to get everything in place and ready to go for Saturday morning.
Come Saturday morning, I asked what I was going to be doing…David said I was in charge of food, water, and snacks. Right! I didn’t like that very much, and it turned out that I got to do a lot! We had some good helpers, Steveo, Ethan, Robert, Doug, Ed, and of course, David and I. We ended up using 120 80lb bags of cement which, when added with water, ended up being 9600 lbs of concrete. Wow!
I used leaves and branches as fossils, and some of them turned out really nice, and others were a bit of a flop. I knew we wouldn’t be able to get a really smooth finish, which if fine because I didn’t want smooth. I wanted something that could be used and not ruined, so I took a whisk broom and made sweeping designs. I think it looks pretty cool. We still have to fill the cracks between the granite blocks with locking sand and put pea gravel in the spaces between the flagstones. The walkway that I started because of all the leftover flagstones we had is nearly done too. I have a few pieces to level out, then fill the spaces with pea gravel, put the tops on the retaining wall and level the dirt back down. If the weather will cooperate a little longer, I want to get a load of woodchips to put down where Annie runs so when springs comes, she won’t look like a mud wrestler.