Monday, April 23, 2007


If you come across any of it, let me know.

I've been a bit off my blogging game of late. You see, spring has sprung, and everybody thinks that's a good excuse for either yard work or a barbecue or both. Last weekend, we started with dirt and mulch in the planting beds, and the default plan was to continue with that. Excepting, The Mrs. had been complaining vociferously about her "allergies". So, out of the grand goodness of my heart, I decided to give The Mrs. a break from working in planting beds and to instead deal with rock and water - two substances most people find relatively hypoallergenic - and get the big pond running.

The big pond had big depths - perhaps four feet at its deepest. Well, The Mrs. had declared this a drowning hazard and insisted we fill it in. So, I spent quite some time in the morning moving rocks from our decommissioned pond into the murky depths (well, not so murky given there was no water in the pond) of the other pond. The pond we have decommissioned in order to make room for the hot tub is a strange beast compared to the remaining ponds. It seems to have been an exercise in mortar. Everything is mortared together in that pond. All the rocks on the walls, the rocks on the bottom, even the liner itself is covered with about 1/4" of thinset.

So this "moving" of rocks actually entailed getting out the 14 lbs. digging bar and chiseling out rocks, big and small. The Childrens even got into the act, with me piling little tumbled river rocks at the top of the flagstone staircase that leads from one pond to the next, and them trucking them down, using their shirts as baskets, to dump into the murky depths. It was great fun.

Once we got the depths mostly filled, I began to add water. It takes about 4 hours to fill the pond with a garden hose, so I started filling before we were completely done. This irked The Mrs. to no end, but I was unfazed. I then pulled out the pumps and filters for a good spring cleaning. The Mrs. could take it no longer, and she grabbed the digging bar and liberated more rocks so as to overfill the depths.

Now, as I noted before, the decommissioned pond was an exercise in mortar. The working pond was an exercise in dry-stacking. Nothing at all is mortared together. It depends upon gravity for all the walls, etc. And gravity is about as friendly to this pond as it is to a woman who went through her early years never having lost her "cute baby fat" and has suddenly come crashing upon 40.

One of the great design features of this pond is that it is ringed with Arizona flagstone that slightly overhangs the rim. The rim is produced by stacking 2 foot long, 4 inch wide strips of flagstone around the edge of the pool. Dry stacking, in the masonry sense which means no mortar, as the rim is actually mostly underwater when the pond is full, and thus "dry" isn't the first word that springs to mind.

So, anyways, The Mrs. comes stomping along and notes that two of the flagstones tip up and try to dump you into the pond if you step on the overhangs. These are right in front of one of the benches that flank one of the waterfalls on which she likes to sit guzzling fruit-flavored "martinis" with the neighbor lady. And The Mrs. prefers that she and possibly the neighbor lady are the only things tipsy in that general vicinity. Thus, a tipsy flagstone walkway is right out of the question.

Now, here is what I love about woman-logic. The Mrs. declared that we needed to find some rocks to pile on the end of the flagstone away from the pond rim to counterbalance the weight of a full-grown adult stepping on the overhang. Rocks. Piled in the middle of the walkway. And somehow this is an improvement.

Being a man, I coolly assessed the situation. The flagstone itself is just sitting on mud, which has been eroded a bit by the rain. And the rim on which is balances is also a bit tipsy. I try to replace the mud with pea gravel, but it is only a minor improvement. Yup. What's called for here is a nice concrete base and some mortar. A quick trip (as if there's such a thing...) to Lowe's for supplies and a million other things that we're just going to pick up since we're there anyways, and I'm excavating for a 4" deep, 100 lbs. concrete slab. The thing I love about Quikcrete is how you can mix it right in the ground. Sunday morning, I mortared the flagstone to the slab, and now it is rock solid. Literally.

Saturday night was a bit of an event. It was Cavitation's going-away barbecue, and somehow I had scored an invite late Thursday. I figure it was cuz MoustachioP was out of town. So, for the first and last time, our famblies got to meet. Unless, of course, the rumors of the Cavitations returning to Fort TomCollins after the ex-pat rotation in Costa Rica are true. There's even odds that they're true given it is Mrs. Cavitation who is spreading them.

HannahC just loved playing with Bozzetto's kid RyanC. I think she thought of him as the little brother she never had. Small, complacent, and loves to fetch.

That is all.


ellie said...

do you mean the pond in the back or the front. what about the fish?

wife said...

I suggested we try to shim it up from underneath. You must think I'm a real moron. Your interpretation of what I said is frightening.

But, thanks for fixing it.

CherkyB said...

Of the three ponds that were working when we moved in, I am talking about the two in the back. The one right next to the deck has be decommissioned, and the one just behind that is the one we were working on.

The one in the front has been going fine, except something (most likely a heron) ate two of the four koi. So I'll be heading to the koi store to get a decoy bird before the other two get 'et. Then, pending results of the decoy, we'll get some more fish for the back pond.

Rhonda said...

I've always like the idea of a pond but it sounds like a lot of work...which you've just clarified.
You two did that in a weekend?!
Most people wouldn't get it done in a summer!

wife said...

You said inches instead of feet. Not the first time you've misrepresented units of length...

CherkyB said...

Try as I might, I cannot find anywhere that I said inches instead of feet.

You really are a moron.