Supershred Weekend

Yesterday we rented a Bearcat chipper/shredder and worked our way through what looked like epic piles of brush. We started out front, making our way through the enormous piles of rose prunings and Bermuda grass in a few hours. (Incidentally, if I ever start a company to make chipper/shredders, I will call them the Bored Siamese, and everybody who has ever owned a Siamese will know what I'm talking about.)

There was a brief pause to go have lunch and some wine tasting with friends, and then we were back on the job, but moved to the back.

Brush pile by the water tank

This is the pile of branches from the Cecile Brunner rose, plus about half the wisteria from next door, awaiting shredding. (It's about three feet tall, and took up most of the space between the planting bed and the tank and shed.)

Water tank pile, after

And after shredding, substantially reduced in size.

Orchard pile, before

We also had this pile from the buddleias and the side of the orchard.

Old brush pile, before

Plus the old brush pile at the back of the yard.

Noel shredding

Noel made short work of them, noting that the old brush pile shredded really nicely because the wood was dry and broke up easily.

Old brush pile, after

Now it's nice and cleared out back there. We do have some very long grass, because the sprinklers are running all the time so it's too wet to mow. This weekend has been our now-normal mid-winter hot period, with temperatures in the high 70's, so it would have been the ideal time to turn the sprinklers off, dump water to the street for a while, and get the lawn mowed, if only we didn't have to try to fit being social butterflies into our busy schedule. (Seriously: we met friends for lunch yesterday, then went to a dinner party, then today Noel was off to Sebastopol for a music thing all afternoon and I have an evening social event. February just gets more and more busy from here on in, too.)

Front garden, before

Now that the roses are pruned and the prunings shredded, it's time to get to work on the new retaining wall out front. This is a short wall, so it doesn't need engineering or even a permit. We'll be making it out of reinforced concrete.

Retaining wall design

This design is a blatant ripoff of another retaining wall elsewhere on the island that I totally love. The segments are 4 feet on center, and the whole thing will probably, based on the measurements I did today, be about 18" tall. Eventually we will have ironwork fence made for the top. I'm thinking of tinting the concrete black or at least dark gray so the wall is less obvious; the other option is to stain it, which might be more consistent. Or both, I guess.

Today I went out and dug around to find our water main, which runs alongside the front path out to the curb. It's deep enough that we don't have to worry about it too much during excavation and construction. Tomorrow I will call to have PG&E come out and mark the location of the gas line, which is in a really weird location along the side -- I definitely do not want to hit that because it is ancient and probably really delicate. Then it's lots and lots and lots of digging. Good times.

posted by ayse on 02/06/11