Pergola in the worksYesterday I began phase one of the next big project in our back yard. The patio area is rather confined, so we decided to expand.

Liz and I rented a two-man auger from Home Depot, and Mike and I sunk six holes.The job took an hour – we spent more time picking up the equipment than actually digging the holes.

We sunk six 4×4 posts, and secured them each with a 60-pound sack of Quikcrete.  Next weekend, weather permitting I will add the cross-beams. This space will add quite a bit of usable living space for 10 months of the year.

Landscaping the Studio

Landscaping the studioWhen Apache Stone unloaded five tons of stone in our driveway last week, the pile looked small. I was concerned there would not be enough to cover the front yard with the requisite two inches.

Not only did I get two inches over the yard – three inches in a few areas – I had enough surplus to apply stone under the herb container-garden, and enough to put a layer across the front of the studio.

Landscaping the studioBefore laying down the gravel some weeding had to be done. Weeding in the desert is hazardous duty. In the desert, even the plant life fights back!

For a protective ground cover to prevent new weeds from poking through, in lieu of the expensive ground tarps I used dog food bags – they are free!  Weeding around the Prickly Pear cacti was tedious, and I did get my share of pricklies… the stone will now inhibit the worst of the weeds.

The exterior of the studio is now presentable when we bring guests in – now I have to tackle the inside.  It is a disaster! it doesn’t help that both Liz and I are pack-rats.


new stone 2Five tons of stone. Five hours of manual labor. But it is almost done, at least this phase.

The truck came at 9AM this morning, just as I was falling asleep after working the night shift. Well, I couldn’t leave five tons of gravel in the driveway, so I began shoveling into the wheelbarrow and covering the yard.

I had planned on working on it for a few hours today, then catching some sleep before work tonight. As I was about to call it a day, Bob, my neighbor from across the street ambles over with a shovel and begins to lend a hand. Well, then we had a mission, complete the yard.

All is for the better, as tomorrow I need to put a finish coat of white paint on the abstract pieces for the mural project, and also work on displays for the exhibition at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. I need a sturdy but lightweight wall to hang my wall clocks and paintings.

Hopefully next week I will have some free time to just relax…


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