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The lawn

Ah yes, the lawn.  This is turning out to be a bigger project than we’d anticipated.

As you no doubt recall, gentle readers, the plan originally called for the replacement of a piece of pipe that lay buried directly in front of our front door.  But when the burly plumber folk left our premises, the entire pipe had been replaced extending all the way out to the road.  We weren’t upset about this – a wee bit surprised, perhaps – but it seemed well worth the additional expense knowing this pipe ain’t gonna have to get dug up again for a millenium.

How-some-ever, it is a basic law of physics that the earth one tries to replace from an excavation such as ours is always well in excess of the amount dug up in the first place.  Meaning?

Meaning the eight-foot deep trench across our lawn ended up being about three feet high.

“No problemo!” the chief plumber said to The Mister.  “What you do is get yourself a length of copper pipe.”

“Copper pipe.  Check!” says The Mister.

“Then attach it to the end of the hose.”


“Then stick it into this impressive pile of dirt and turn on the water.”


“After a half hour or so, move it to another place and repeat.”


“And that way the pile will reduce from the bottom up and,” the chief plumber continued with a twinkle, “you won’t have to write me another…”

“Cheque!” The Mister replied triumphantly.

Male humour.

Nobody thought it would work.  Not The Mister.  Not our neighbours.  Just me.  After all, plumbers are good people.  Why would they lie about something like that, knowing the stink we would likely raise if it didn’t work.

But work it did.  The Mister would ‘water the trench’ and after it started to collapse, I would rake in the sides.  Within about two weeks, we had reduced the height by about two-thirds.

But then things got a little more difficult.

The ground in Essex County is clay, and when clay gets wet and dries out, it turns hard…very, very hard.  About all that was left to rake at this point was large clumps of rock hard clay, and no tool in our lawn care arsenal could touch them.

“Pa,” I said, after futiley hacking away at one of these beasts, “try spraying ’em and see if that softens ’em up any.”  It did, but only temporarily.  The next day, they had hardened back up and lay there laughing at us.

“What we need here, Missus, is a darn good rain.”

From his lips to God’s ear.

The next day it rained.  It poured!  It came down in buckets, bathtubs even!  Our eavestroughs overflowed it came down so hard and so fast.  And it kept raining (though not at that force) for a day and a half.  By the time it was over, the trench was decimated.  Even better, the clay clumps were smashed.  It looked for all the world as if God looked down on us and said, “Aw, you guys have been working so hard on this.  I’ll take it from here.”  And whoosh!  It was so.

Mind you, the yard still looks pretty awful.  And there is an ongoing discussion between The Mister and I about what to do next.  The Mister is leaning toward calling in professionals to restore the yard.  I think we can do it ourselves.  I told him to take some time to think it over and in the meantime I’ll continue working on it in the hopes that I can show him we don’t need no pros.

Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how it goes.



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One Comment

  1. Chris
    Posted August 30, 2013 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    Penny just so you know, if you want to put sod or grass seed down, you will need a ton of top soil as your base because nothing grows well with a clay base. Our backyard sits on top of clay and we have had to put down a great deal of topsoil each spring and then grass seed just to keep the lawn going. It is a never ending job!

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