It was a really beautiful weekend, weather-wise, and we had a much more open schedule than usual. No math tournaments, no plays or rehearsals, no birthday parties, no pet adoptions….the only thing we had Saturday was our neighborhood’s annual barbecue, and that didn’t start until five.
So–yardwork! We would get ALL the yardwork done! We would weed and mulch and trim hedges and cover up the garden bed and be pretty much DONE until spring.
Was the plan.
Then, Friday night, Dave discovered a surprisingly and alarmingly enormous hole in our front yard.
We have approximately two trees on our half acre lot. We didn’t think this was particularly odd until after we bought the house and gradually realized that every other lot in the neighborhood is heavily wooded. Really. Every other house has tons of trees. Including the neighbors on either side of us. So it’s like trees, trees, trees, trees, our big empty lot, trees, trees, trees, trees.
Neighborhood lore, a.k.a. what the neighbors told us, is that a few years ago a tornado took out a bunch of trees in our yard and whoever owned the house back then decided on clearing out all the trees as the cheapest or easiest way to deal with the aftermath.
I love trees, I really do, but I have to say yards without them are a lot easier to deal with.
So mostly we get along just fine in our big treeless yard. Except. Whoever took out all the trees did not do a particularly thorough job of it (story of our house. Or at least any parts/projects not original to the house). What we have in our yard now in place of trees is a bunch of big, unexpected holes where there are rotting stumps that no one ever bothered to deal with. This makes our yard more….exciting than we really want it to be. It’s kind of like in Poltergeist where they built the new houses on the old cemetery and just moved the tombstones but left the actual graves….only the trees were the tombstones, and the stumps are the corpses, and the worst thing that happens is a sprained ankle, not one of the kids being sucked into the TV.
Funny story about our dangerous holes: a few weeks ago we had a fire going in the fire pit, and I was carrying Fiesta the Beagle across the yard to bring her inside. I stumbled into one of the big dangerous holes, twisted my ankle, and fell….dropping Fiesta a very small distance onto the ground as I did so. Gus came running over immediately, full of concern….ran right past me and my hurt ankle, kneeled down by The Beagle, and asked her gravely, “are you okay, Fiesta?!” She was, by the way.
Okay, so anyway. We’d known all about these holes in the backyard that we needed to deal with for a long time, but we were shocked to discover such a giant hole right in the front yard. So shocked that we spent nearly the whole day on Saturday dealing with it.
Until we could fill it in, we put this on top of it to protect people from accidents:
The kids call him Mary Shelley.
Dave had read/heard from a couple of different sources that a mix of sand and dirt was a good way to fill in our holes. So Saturday morning he headed off to Lowes and came back with 3 bags of sand and 2 of soil….for a total of about $20.
First we had to stand around and be impressed with how deep the hole was:
Almost 3 feet!
Everyone was a little obsessed with the hole. The kids decided to put a time capsule in it (I have no idea what’s in the time capsule):
I decided we should put Abe in it:
….but that didn’t last long, because Abe was immediately like, “what the hell is WRONG with you people?! You don’t put babies in holes!” So we had to take him right back out. He’s no fun.
We mixed up the dirt and sand:
…and this is probably the part where we SHOULD have started filling in the hole, but Dave got really, really invested in trying to get out the remaining hunk of rotting stump. His reasoning was that the stump was going to continue to rot and that we’d be right back where we started, with a big hole, once it decomposed some more. I pointed out that, while true, this would happen pretty slowly and we could just add more dirt as needed.
But Dave was determined. He tied this rope around the stump and pulled:
No luck. I had almost convinced him to give up when suddenly he exclaimed, “Wait! My tractor!”
“You don’t have a tractor,” I said.
It turns out he was talking about the lawnmower, which he insists is a “lawn tractor.” Okay.
Naturally, everyone was incredibly excited about this new development.
“This is perfect! This is going to work!” Dave said.
He was wrong.
I won’t say the stump wouldn’t budge, because it DID kind of budge. It just didn’t come out.
After quite a few attempts with the, err….tractor, I convinced Dave to give it up. And we finally filled in the hole:
I’ll report back on how the sand and soil combination holds up over time (and what kind of luck we have getting grass to grow in our bald spots).
Dave filled up a total of five holes (the one in front plus four in the back–the ones in back not as cavernous) with the $20 of dirt and sand. We’re thinking another $40 or so might take care of all of them.
For now, you are all welcome to come hang out in our front yard, but we’ll still have to make you sign a waiver before you venture out back.