Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mulch Extravaganza

When we left the front flower bed in June it looked something like this...

It was a pain to mow the lawn around all of the partial bed areas so Andy and I decided that we were going to order the rest of the mulch we needed to finish the bed.  We've had some extremely hot weather so we figured it was a good time to get the mulch in place now and then come back and plant some more in the late summer and fall.  We went to Home Depot and placed an order for 250 BAGS of mulch to be delivered to the house.  No more 20 bags at a time in the back of the car!

The mulch was delivered on a flatbed tractor trailer and the the delivery man brought all 4 pallets into the yard and placed them in areas where we needed to mulch.

THAT'S A TON OF MULCH! It sat in our yard overnight and I'm sure that our neighbors just drove by and laughed at us.

SD came down the next morning and we got to work. 
Step 1: A layer of old newspapers.

Step 2: Wet the papers to weight them down.

Step 3: A layer of leaf mulch from the compost pile.  (NOTE TO ANDY: avoid bees' nests!  He managed to disturb one and got stung 4 times! In some less than desirable locations)

Step 4: MULCH!

And we had a few obstacles to work around like another bees' nest in the yard that the wasp and hornet spray failed to kill the night before.

A dog that "helped" for about an hour.

And an interesting moth.

But we continued on after lunch.  More newspaper, bags, or even cardboard, leaves, and mulch.

It was hot and sweaty.

But we finally got it done and we only had about 15 extra bags leftover. Now it's easier to mow around and ready for more plants when the weather cools down.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Epic Success

WARNING! This one is long.

We spent much of the winter and spring working at the shore to repair all of the damage from Hurricane Super Storm Sandy.  The house had at least 18" of water on the first floor and there was a lot of damage to the deck and dock caused by several large boats that floated in at the peak of the storm.  The house is getting back to normal but the dock suffered significant damage and we weren't sure how it was going to get fixed and really didn't think it would happen this summer with all of the other pressing projects.  I've been keeping track of the work in the shore in separate photo books so I haven't shared too much on the blog but this one is worth sharing!

Here is the dock before the storm.

And here it is after.

The pieces of the dock are designed to float in high water but they should generally stay between the pilings.  When we saw that all but one was missing we figured that they had been swept away in the storm.  As we started to investigate the yards and areas around the neighborhood we found every single missing piece (minus one bench)!

At the house next door two of the pieces were trapped under some debris and a boat.

The first full weekend we were allowed back to the property after the storm we cleared as much of the debris as we could and with the help of a neighbor carried the pieces to the side of the house and tied them up for the winter.  

This picture doesn't even show the full scale of all of the boats but the white boat with the blue cover is a 40' yacht that was stuck between the two houses.  We couldn't even walk between them.

Here is the same boat from a different angle.  That's Andy in front and a 2-story house in the back.

We found the last piece of the dock (and the largest) later that that month as were winterizing the house.  It was trapped under another large boat and a shed.  

Andy  marked it with our contact info and address and when the marina moved the boat they lifted the piece of dock back into the water.

While it was nice of the marina owner to crane the dock back in the water it was only tied to one piling and wasn't going to survive the winter in the water.  When we went down to check on the house in December Andy put on his wetsuit and tried to pull the dock out with the kayak.

When the kayak idea failed because the dock was just too heavy Andy decided to get in the bay.

It took Andy in the water and 4 people on land to pull the dock out of the water and get it propped on the bulkhead for the winter.  We had no idea how we were going to get the dock back in the water but knew that there was no chance of salvaging it if it spent the entire winter floating in the bay.

BS and JS came to help in April and Andy and BS were able to get the two pieces of dock that we found early on in the cleanup back in place. It wasn't perfect and a few boards were still missing but it was just nice to be able to walk back on the dock, even if only part way.

Later in the spring Andy bolted the floating sections of dock to the pilings.

He also managed to replace some missing boards and get the lower dock installed.  Complete with a ramp for Kodak.

Kodak could hardly contain his excitement.

We thought the dock repair ended there for the summer but as we talked through different ideas and options the neighbor convinced Andy that he could probably cut the large section in half and move it out in two pieces.  This may seem like the logical answer and it is possible that we were over-engineering a solution since we were convinced we needed ramps and winches to get the dock in place.

On Father's Day weekend Andy decided to make the cut.

I don't have any good photos because I got put to work, but Andy, my dad, and I were able to carry the pieces out to the end and get them almost in place.  Some of the pilings shifted during the storm and everything didn't line up the way it was supposed to.  

With some additional shimming and cutting Andy was able to get it back in the correct position.

He also managed to find some great chowder clams too.  We didn't keep these but they may not be so lucky next time!

The dock isn't perfect and it still needs some work to replace boards that were cut to help offset the seam and realign some areas that were temporarily patched but it looks wonderful considering that we weren't even sure we would have a dock this year.  Epic Success!

And a bench too!