I picked up 4 new plants this weekend, adding to my small but growing collection. Thought I'd share photos.
Cedrus deodara ‘Glauca Pendula’
I noticed this cedrus has some yellowing needles on it already, even though I just brought it home yesterday. Root stress, perhaps. There's a lot of new growth on the plant, too, so I will hope for the best.
Conifers are all new to me, but some people go nuts for them. I suppose, in that case, I may be going nuts.Matt
I've completed a number of solo hikes of 8-12 miles over the past couple of years, but I've been itching to do something longer for quite a while. Last year, I plotted a course from one longtime favorite place to another - a trip that was approximately 35 miles by car, but estimated at 22 or so via a section of the Appalachian trail. I didn't want to make a trip that long alone, so I recruited some friends from work and after a false start last year, completed the hike in March, 2013. Here are some photos from the trip (which turned out to be closer to 18 miles after hitching a ride from the trail terminus down to a car we'd left nearby).
These are the maps I used to plot our course and estimate our distance. I had hiked the first half of our course several times and I'd visited the termination point many times by car, but this was my first time hiking all the way through.
I've continued to work on the fire pit here and there over the past several weekends and I think I'm happy to call it complete. Well, "Phase I" is complete. More on that later.
After digging out enough earth to get the depth I needed, I removed the old fire ring, smoothed everything out, and with my wife Maureen's help, laid some heavy-duty landscape fabric over the whole area. (By the way, I bought the landscape fabric from one of my favorite stone yards - it is twice as thick and much higher quality than the stuff they sell at the box stores.) We were careful to set each piece of fabric so that it overlapped the piece next to it by 8 inches or so - I don't want any weeds to find their way through. Then we used scissors to trim the fabric around the edges and to cut a hole for the new fire ring. Finally, crusher run and sand was added on top of the fabric to level up a base for the new fire ring bolders and a cobblestone border.
Setting the cobblestone border was fairly easy, despite the fact that my cobblestones were purchased second-hand and weren't all the same size. I just took my time, adding only enough crusher run and sand to place a few cobbles at a time.
Some odd-shaped pieces of granite were found among the cobble stones I bought. I used one of them to create a marker that points North, just for fun. Well, North-ish. I stood out there for 15 minutes trying to find true North with my iPhone, but it seems to be a moving target. So, I settled for North-ish. I figure I can easily move it if I ever bother to check it with a real compass.
I agonized a bit about the type and color of gravel to use for the seating area. A friend with an eye for design suggested brown river pebbles, but I wasn't initially convinced. Eventually, though, I decided to follow her suggestion and ordered three tons of #57 river pebbles. After having the gravel delivered to a nearby driveway, Maureen, ever the trooper, helped me load the wheelbarrow about a dozen times to move it all to the fire pit. It was a good workout for both of us, and I am pleased with the result.
Later, I plan to add a garden around the outside edges of the fire pit. I'm not sure what I'll put there, yet, but I'd like to have a few plants that can serve as a wind and visual screen. Maybe some conifers. We'll see. I'd also like to add some stepping stones leading up to the fire pit, and maybe even a boulder or two for a place to sit.
I got a deal on a bunch of granite cobblestones recently, but it turns out there aren't nearly enough for the project I had in mind when I got them. So, I'm going to use them to upgrade our backyard fire pit instead.
I started by unpacking the stones and arranging them - roughly - by size and shape.
My idea is to put a cobblestone border around a simple fire pit that I built in an hour or so in the fall. I'll also increase the size of the fire pit, slightly, and will "upgrade" to larger stones on the fire ring. I'll fill in the area around the fire ring with gravel for a stable, fireproof seating area.
I pounded a short length of rebar into the center of the fire pit to serve as a center point for the new cobblestone border. Next, I tied a length of string from the center point to a second piece of rebar. Holding the string taut, I used the second piece of rebar to scratch a circular line in the ground around the fire pit. This will be outer edge of the seating area.
Next I dug. And dug and dug and dug.
All. Day. Long.
Even with a few hours' help from my wife, it took an entire Sunday to dig an area about 5 inches deep at the sides. Unfortunately, 5 inches deep is not deep enough. I'll need to dig it out some more to make room for a "crusher run" and sand base for the cobbles.
Oh well. Something to look forward to next weekend.