Brie: It's What's For Breakfast

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See-Mint Ponds

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I have a little landscaping project that is intended to make my cliff of a back yard seem less cliff-like, and less dominated by azaleas. The first thing I had to do was make more sunshine. As much as I hated doing it, this meant I needed to remove two of three really huge oaks that were in the back yard.


My neighborhood is over 100 years old,and those trees weren’t young when the neighborhood was created. Although I love the shade of the trees in the summer, there was way too much shade. I have one patch of ground about 10×15 feet in which grass will grow. So, I took a deep breath and stocked up on firewood. It’s piled under the deck stairs now.

To give you some idea of how steep the yard is,I took this picture. The deck stairs, under which the two ex-trees are stacked, are just barely visible in the far right of the photo. The fence, which is 8′ high, follows the contour of the yard, about to where the yard took a sudden 5′ dropoff. The main portion of the swimming pool is in that area below the 5′ dropoff. It meant, theoretically, that not much excavation needed to be done.


Theoretically.Of course, that was before we discovered that the reason the drop off wasn’t more than five feet was because there had been some fill added to the lot. Prior to the fill, the electrical lines for the house had been laid in that area. So we wouldn’t have to flip which end was deep and which was shallow, I called the electric company to see what it would cost to move the lines. I nearly choked when they told me that the price would start at about $17,000.00. Suddenly, the shallow end of the pool became the deep end. Now the pool is being built almost entirely above ground, even though it really doesn’t appear to be that way. However, the deep end needed to be made deeper.

Naturally, that meant that the excavation needed to be done through pretty much solid rock. With a jackhammer on the excavator, the pool crew began
digging again. I’m getting lots of really nifty rocks that I hope can somehow be used in the stonework I’m going to be doing.

After the excavation was complete the day after Thanksgiving, it rained. I am so pleased to report that it appears that my new swimming pool will have no problem holding water successfully. This is what the newly excavated deep end looked like a week and a half ago.



My contractor, aware that I wanted to save money wherever possible, suggested stocking it with catfish and foregoing a concrete lining. Mmmmm. Them’s good eatin’.Not wanting to disappoint my beloved son, who has his precious little heart set on clear water (yes, it’s all about Jack), I declined the contractor’s suggestion, despite the possibility of a business investment in the catfish business and possible tax deduction for business use of the property. Sadly, a zoning variance would probably be required and that’s just more trouble than I want to go to.
After making a basic form of the pool’s walls and lining it with rebar, the contractor started spraying cement through about 6 miles of hose that came from my front driveway, snaked along the side of the house, and finally made it to the back yard.
Let me tell you the crew had a fabulous time blowing the last of the drying concrete out of those hoses at the end of the day, too. They really looked like they were having fun. I have never seen so many grown men playing with rubbery tubes like that. It was inspiring. Here are three of them enjoying a hose orgy in my back yard. Their little party gave new meaning to the term “tube snake boogie.”

After a second day of fun with concrete hoses, the pool pretty much looked like a pool. The excavator was still back there, though, because there is a mound of mud and rock about 10 feet tall, and a Japanese Maple needed to be moved. The contractor wanted to wait as long as possible to move the maple so it would be dormant and hopefully not die. Finally, though, it just had to be moved.

With the Japanese maple gone, it’s much easier to see the shape of the pool. All of these pictures have been taken from the third story deck. Isn’t my yard looking lovely?


Here’s the Japanese Maple in its new home on the other side of the yard, near the only spot where grass grows.

My neighbors’ beagles are delighted with all the activity in my yard. They are very busy doing their allotted doggie-duties, and miss my dogs very much. If Frog-Dog and Missy Mia were home and not at their Dad’s for the duration of the construction, they, along with the beagles, would be loudly and frequently discussing the contractor’s shortcomings and directing the laborers from South of the Border as only truly great canine foremen can do.

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December 7, 2007 - Posted by | Arkansas | , , , , ,

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