May 5, 2013

And It Begins...

There is no turning back on the yard now.  We started cleaning out the sunroom (and I use that term lightly, it is hardly a sunroom) by pulling out the junk stuff and filling a nine cubic foot dumpster with it. Then we hauled out the so-so stuff and put it on the old deck. Stuff we don't want to throw out but I don't want to keep because we just do not use it anymore. Tomorrow pics of that stuff will go up on the intranet at work and we'll see if anybody is interested in a few freebies. In the meantime, here is the outside of the sunroom.

Bear in mind that this is AFTER stuff went into the dumpster. And here is what the inside of the sunroom looks like now, minus the kiddie pool.

This is why we need to build another garage. The sunroom has become the dumping ground for camping gear, bikes, ladders, unused skylights, golf gear... and we can't put them in the existing single garage because that is Norm's woodshop. No woodshop = no finishing work in the house. The alternative is to put things in the crawl space behind the boiler room in the basement, but the thought of having to hunch over and dig through this stuff anytime I want to go golfing? Not even remotely appealing.

The other thing that helped fill the dumpster within a day was the stockpile of wood in the dog run. Here's a bit of advice - if you aren't going to use it, don't haul it across the city when you buy a new house, and then cover it with a tarp for almost four years, and THEN throw it out. Norm will hate me saying that because I know there are plenty of times he has been able to fix something because he has had just the right piece or bit of something handy. Limit your bits, that's all I'm saying.

Once the wood was taken out of the dog run, we were left with this. PS: I should mention that Norm did 99% of that work.

The stump was here when we moved in. When the arborist comes to take down some trees for us next week, he'll grind this up. Which means we had to pry up the cement blocks around it. This is on the west side of the house, with lots of southern exposure. Don't put your dog run there. It will stink. See the things you can learn here? We will move the dog run to the east side of the house, so the dogs can get to it from the 'new' deck (see previous post by Rory). They'll be able to sunbathe on the deck facing south and west, and then go down some stairs to the east-facing dog run. Fresh poured concrete pad, 6 foot fence...

Oh, but first: have to tear out the old fence. And two maple trees. If you know anything about me you'll know that this is sacrilegious. Not much to be done about it though. I console myself with the knowledge that they aren't sugar maples so I we won't be interfering with the world supply of maple syrup. One tree interferes with the fence (as is and to be) and was poorly maintained as you can see:

The other has been hacked at over the years because it interferes with the chimney. Both have to go. On the plus side, we'll have maple wood for the fire pit and the smoker!

Yes folks, somehow THIS is going to be a dog run.

The other tree that needs to be taken out is one of the birches in the front yard, the one you can't see in the photo below. Okay, you can sort of see it, seriously cropped on the left. It has been dying for years, again poor maintenance. Birches have shallow roots and need to be watered, especially in a dry climate like Calgary. If they aren't then they are susceptible to birch borer beetles which is what happened to this poor tree. If I can, I'll salvage some of the long straight white branches and use them in the planters on either side of the garage door. I think in the fall, covered in little lights it will be a nice chance from the grass and flowers we put in there for the summer.

We'll replace this one, because it will leave a gap in the foliage when we look out the living room window. Don't know just yet what to replace it with. Decisions for another day.