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Walkway, beginning

This was today’s main project. Not a big project; it was rainy and I got covered in mud from handling used concrete and 3/4-minus gravel (which has a lot of fine gritty stuff in it to encourage it to pack down). I came inside early. But I’m happy with this beginning of a front walkway.

The kid rocked the area yesterday (over black plastic, of course, sloped slightly away from the house). I came back today and added a few cartloads to smooth the gravel, level it up, and give something more to hold the stones.

I’d become a little leery of using broken pieces from the various demolitions as stepping stones. It’s what I’d planned, both to save money (no dump trip; no expedition to the garden supply for blocks) and for the artsy factor. But in the few weeks I’d had some laid out for proof of concept, two had cracked even with hardly anybody walking on them. I figure though — cross fingers — that if they’re fully supported and held around the edges by the minus-y part of the rock they might have a chance.

Here’s another angle:

Don’t I live in a pretty place? I’m so lucky.

I look in several directions and I can say to myself, “I live in one of those ‘leafy suburbs’ like they’re always writing about in New Yorker profiles and movie scripts about corrupt bankers.”

Of course, the New Yorker would take one look at my street and start writing about Deliverance or something. Because on the way to my house you pass (on a street with potholes so deep there’s been talk of seeing Chinese people), a residence that still resembles the chicken coop it once was, the home of a hoarder whose stuff has spilled out all over his yard, a cute house so ill-kempt that it’s being taken over by blackberry brambles and has small trees growing in its gutters, and free-range livestock.

But turn the corner and it’s very nearly elegant. The few houses aren’t fancy, but they’re kept up with great attention and pride. One has a whimsically landscaped yard, another an elegant colonnade of trimmed trees. And finally I’m earning my place here.

Just in case you need a reminder of how far from earning my place I’ve been, here’s a repeat photo of the front entry we’ve spent four years reforming:

Tomorrow — or probably not tomorrow, but the next day that it’s not going to rain, I believe I’ll put up the first couple of gutters. That’s something I know how to do and, once past the initial cussing (caused by attempting to follow instructions written by somebody who never installed a gutter and got a B- in high school English, though I suppose we should be grateful he did take English), I find the job enjoyable.


  1. Comrade X
    Comrade X August 25, 2018 9:53 pm

    It looks good!

  2. Pat
    Pat August 26, 2018 4:51 am

    That’s a nice-looking walkway.

    And you have some nice touches on the house. I like those short (red) frame extensions at the corners of each window; are they all around the house? It adds a uniqueness without trying to be different.

  3. Claire
    Claire August 26, 2018 5:47 am

    Pat — Those extensions on the window trim were one of the few original features of the house that I loved, kept, and duplicated on the new construction. They really are just a tiny thing — four inches of extra wood with a couple 45-degree angles chopped off the corners. But many people have commented on them and they really do give a distinctive look. Amazing how something so small can make such a difference. Thanks for noticing.

  4. Joel
    Joel August 26, 2018 9:57 am

    I’ve admired that trim as well. Should have paid more attention and done something like that around the Lair’s windows. I just did something a bit fancy with the upper pieces, but it’s not nearly as noticeably nice as yours.

  5. Claire
    Claire August 26, 2018 10:40 am

    Yeah, but you did so much cuteness on your deck railing that you more than made up for it. And your window trim looks very good.

  6. coloradohermit
    coloradohermit August 26, 2018 12:20 pm

    It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished!!

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