Monday, February 25, 2008

Do Something Everyday.....

"Do something everyday; no matter how small, just DO something."

I read these words yesterday on a house restoration forum. I tried to find it again so I could give credit, but I can't seem to. The topic dealt with trying to stay motivated in regard to working on your house. The discussion talked about depression, frustration, lack of funds, and just about everything else that could keep one from working on the house.

Then some one gave the advice I started this post with. Last night I decided that this will be mantra for working on the house. Believe it or not, I woke up this morning thinking about this and felt motivated.

The problem, if you want to call it that, was the weather. The kitchen woodwork was going to be today’s "something", but the weather was way too nice to be inside. Considering that we had ice, sleet, and snow all weekend the spring like weather demanded that I be outside. So, I changed the goal for today from the kitchen to the yard. I figure that was okay because there is just so much to do on the yard also.

So I spent a few hours cleaning up the limbs that have fallen due to wind, ice, and snow as well as the assorted trash that blows onto the property. Sometimes it's a real pain in the butt to live next to the high school. You would not believe the type of trash we get because of the kids!!

After this (by now I was down to shorts and a t-shirt it was so nice) I decided to some work on the front walk.

The front walk was one of the first projects we did. The walk led to the street, but then stopped. At the end was about a 3' drop.

Since we like Halloween, and it was quickly approaching, we thought this drop needed attention. All those little kiddies needed some way to get to the front porch!

Basically, we cut steps into the dirt, lowered one of the sidewalk slabs and poured the last two steps.

We knew there had to be steps leading down to the street at some time, but there was no evidence. This soon changed. We ended up finding bits of bricks and stone right in the spot we were working. We figured these were the remains of the original steps. If only we could find a photo of what they looked like.

When the house was built the street was a dirt road. It didn't get paved until the 60s. In fact, I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but our driveway is that last remnant of the old wagon road that led from Wellington to Wichita.

As part of the initial yard clean up I had to cut out all the roses that were along the fence line on either side of the front gate. We soon learned that removing these led to the erosion of the yard from the right side (looking towards the street) of the gate. About the only thing we could come up with to remedy this was to use the pile of stone and build a retaining wall.

This helped to solve the problem for a while, then last year the erosion started up again right above the spot where the stone stopped. So, at some point this spring we will need to expand the stone wall about another 15'.

I had been dreading working on the east side of the steps due to the dirt. I'm not sure what it's called else where, but around here we call it 'sugar sand'. It is dirt with a sandy consistency. What's so bad about it is that when it's dry it can be as hard as cement. When we first started work on the front steps we actually had to use a pickaxe to break it up.

Well, while picking up limbs and litter I noticed how moist the dirt was. So it hit me "work on the front steps"! So here you can see the new stones I added. The part of the dirt wall you can still see will be cut back at a later date and terraced like the retaining wall is.

Do you see the brown shading on the cement? That’s where a lot of dirt had eroded to and had crabgrass growing in it.

I was taken aback when I was cleaning the dirt and crabgrass away. I had just about forgotten that SWMBO and I put our initials in the wet cement when we built the steps back in '99.

I'll have to show it to her when she gets home.

Larry ~


Jennifer said...

WHat a lovely find! Memories.

I need to keep that mantra in mind... do something EVERY day. SOmetimes I think "oh, I have to leave in 15 minutes", so I just checkk my email or read the paper instead of working!

Larry said...

Hi Jennifer!

Thanks. believe me, it has been hard to keep that mantra today! I am so sore from yesterday, but I have been taking it easy by doing some detail sanding.

Maybe we can keep each other motivated. I'm going to take some time and look through your blog.