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Retaining wall in a day, Really!


When we purchased our home 11 years ago, the back yard was a barren wasteland.  There was no plant life, only a pit of red clay.  Many people have the luxury of planting their yards immediately after moving in.   The mechanic and I did not have that luxury.  We had major erosion problems.  We live in a neighborhood where each neighbor’s yard sits progressively higher than the next.  The yard to the right has rain runoff into our yard, and our yard erodes onto the property to the left of us.  You get the picture.  We kept putting topsoil dressing on our yard to only have it wash off into our “lower neighbor’s” yard.  This is the solution that I came up with, which caused much moaning and groaning from the mechanic.  I had just undergone some minor surgery and could not help lift the 50lbs bags for this project; however, I did dig the ditch.


It was a long, deep ditch too.  I needed the bottom of the ditch to be level with my neighbor’s yard. Clay-type soil is often baked into a hard crust, and is difficult to break apart with a shovel.


I was extremely nervous.  I was not positive that my “concrete retaining wall” idea would work, and the mechanic had just started putting the bags in. I did not let the anxiety show on my face.



We decided to place the first layer of concrete bags on their sides to help hold the loose soil. The mechanic loved it when I decided we needed two more rows of concrete bags placed on top of that bottom row.



Once all the bags were in place, I watered the wall daily for four days.  I could hardly wait to rip the paper off of the concrete.  I even got a bit impatient waiting on the top row to harden.  I poked a hole large enough to fit the water hose nozzle in and filled each bag with water.  Looking back, I should have been more patient.  You can see the holes that were made in the concrete.   If I do this again, I will continue to water all the bags daily, until they are all hard.  The wall didn’t need to be pretty because it does not show.  My planting beds are in front and the fence is behind it.  RESULTS?  We had torrential downpours since this wall went in, and we no longer lose topsoil in our neighbors yard.  The retaining wall works!  This makes me breathe a sigh of relief because I don’t have an issue with the mechanic.

Some “spring” in my soul

I pull my flip flops from the closet and notice a dullness of the sequins that were once sparkly.  I dust them off, scoot them on, and head out to my back yard.  The sun feels good on my toes after winter’s end.  All is well with my soul. nest in glass The birds are screeching for me to fill the feeder with more seed.  Two of them barely avoid flying into my face as they are busy fighting for their right to a mate.  I notice the birds have been stealing sphagnum moss from a hanging Staghorn plant.  They have left me a giant hole to fill.  The bird bath is full of partially eaten worms, no doubt left there accidentally while they were getting a drink.  One lone feather floats there too.  I see that the birds have left their poop all over my swing that sits under a big oak tree.  What a mess!  I fill up the bird feeder with more seed, check. I drag out the water hose to wet a bucket of sphagnum moss.  I need to replace the missing moss in my hanging planter, check.  I wash out the bird bath and put in fresh water, check.  Now my flip flop sequins are dirty again and I’ve spent too much time on these birds.  I’m frustrated and a bit angry, especially about the poop.   I think, THIS IS CRAZY! Why do I do this anyway?  Then, I spot a loan nest in my crepe myrtle tree.  It’s a tiny one left over from last year.  I pull it down from the bare branches to inspect it closer; there were not any eggs. The nest fascinates me.  I have a habit of emptying the contents of the vacuum cleaner outside and the prior owners of this nest used those contents for nesting materials.  I notice tiny strands of silver and blonde hairs woven throughout the dry, grass structure. I examine it even closer and discover a pleasant surprise.  It’s my hair!  This is exciting!  I even feel honored and privileged somehow.  My hair cradled those baby birds that were there last year.  I have a new treasure to keep.  All is well with my soul again!