Saturday, November 7, 2009

Construction of all sorts

It was a gorgeous day here. Sunny and 70 degrees. A nearly perfect day for November. Perfect enough for getting jobs done outside.
V tackled replacing a basement window. This is the window that had been boarded up and the deck had been built mostly covering it (who knows what they were thinking!). We also needed to make repairs to the block in the wall as several had been broken out to put in an exhaust fan in the downstairs bathroom. We removed the fan ages ago since it was installed badly and was a mousey highway into the basement. While the blocks were out, we decided to install a new window in the opening- one that we can actually open!!!
V works on the blocks where the new window will go.
While V worked on the window, I began robbing out concrete blocks that had been used for the deck foundation. We're not going to keep the same structure for the deck so all of these blocks are for my use.
One course down, two to go....
What am I using blocks for, you may ask???
Why my raised beds for the garden, of course.
Raised beds, roughly laid out.
I still need to dig out the bottom course of blocks and there are some that are being used to support the deck frame after we pulled it off the house. But I should have enough to make two 4x12 foot beds. I'd like to eventually have a few more but we'll have to acquire more blocks from somewhere first.
Blocks out of the way, stakes in the corners for the first bed.
Now I just need to dig out the trench to set the blocks. I've got a string line to use as a level. Since the beds are set into a hill, the Southwest corner is about 14 inches lower than the Northeast corner. That's one of the reasons for using raised beds on this slope, to help control erosion while making it a useable space. That, and the previous owners dumped lots of gravel all over this area- most likely because it got too muddy for their horses- and it's really hard to work. By having raised beds, I can avoid having too much gravel in the soil.
I'm hoping to have these finished before it gets too cold to work so I can have them ready to use in the spring. We left a huge pile of compost at the old house that I'm thinking about moving out here to fill the beds. It will be messy but well worth it, especially since the house hasn't sold yet and we don't have any compost here that's ready yet.
All in all, a good day's work. Tomorrow is supposed to be another beautiful day. It makes me a bit irritated that I have a baby shower for a co-worker to go to tomorrow afternoon. I'd blow it off but I'm one of the hostesses- so I'd better be there- even though I'd much rather be out working on my dream.


  1. A great day to work, I agree! Winter stocking caps last week, shorts today-strange, but I'll take it! judy -are you going to put anything on top of blocks to soften the edges (my knees hurt just looking at them!) or just use a little gardeners kneeling pad if needed? I'm gathering all the ideas I can right now!

  2. You guys never ceases to amaze me. New windows, raised gardens, transferring dirt...phew! It will be nice having a window for downstairs. Those will be a nice size bed. What are you going to plant? guess you've got time to think and get it all planned out...debbie

  3. That's a terrific idea using the blocks for a raised bed!
    Don's been busy making more raised beds(wood) for me-I'm up to TWENTY now. Yikes. But it makes it a lot easier to keep up with the weeds--much easier to face small beds!
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Great idea for the blocks! You will love those raised beds since they are soooo easy to weed!

  5. I also see you have the hollow bricks... you could plant annual flowers in all those holes around the block walls and your beds would look gorgeous!

  6. Kris- honestly, I haven't given it much thought. These blocks are pretty rough, they still have chunks of mortar hanging off them in places. I'll probably fill in the holes and maybe plant something in them. I'm thinking maybe marigolds to keep out the bunnies!!
    Debbie- I'm going to use one for strawberries. I planted some last spring but they were outside the protected fence of the barnyard/garden area and were totally demolished by the deer. The other one- I'm not sure I'd like to be able to rig up a tunnel over it to do some early/late season planting. But we'll see how far I get. Oh, and it is SO nice to have a window in that downstairs bathroom. Now we don't have to turn on the light every time we want to use the facilities- so we're saving energy in the long run- especially since the kids aren't always great at remembering to turn the lights OFF.
    Sue- I'd love to have wooden beds (we have two small ones at the old house that are staying there) but I don't want to use treated lumber and cedar would cost us an arm and a leg. I'm just using what I've got on hand- and they'll definitely be durable!
    Erin- I'm thinking about what to plant in the holes.
    These blocks are perfect for using for the beds since they're not standard blocks. They are narrower than standard 2-hole blocks so V doesn't want to use them for any of his construction projects. They do have paint on one side of them but I'm planning to place them all so that the paint side is out and away from my plants.

  7. we made our raised beds this year , we did great you will love them

  8. what a great idea! I claimed all of Todd's railroad ties that he brought home "in case he should ever need them to build something" for my raised garden beds for next year - I say after they've been sitting there for 5 years, he's not using them:)


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