High temperatures in the 50s and 60s over the past weekend plus a sale on river rock at Menards put me in the mood to get the outdoor project I started last summer finished. The space on the other side of the basement doors was nothing but mud, especially since the gutter downspout and sump pump drain line run through this area, sometimes dripping into the dirt below. Once the mud pile has formed, Leo likes to walk in this dirty area obsessively, because every time the sump pump kicks in and shakes the drain hose, he thinks there is an animal running around in there.
Leo, there is not an animal in there, it is the sump pump kicking water out!
Leo has this ongoing feud with a chipmunk that sometimes likes to take siestas in our wood pile. Don’t ask.
Anyway, before I could put down the rocks to cover up this mud pit, I had to remove several wheelbarrows full of dirt. The last owners of the house had put so much extra dirt in this garden bed, that it was piling up against the metal basement door, causing it to rust. Not good. When you do that much digging, you never know what you might find. Suddenly, I shrieked. Is that a dead fish?
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a dead fish, it just looked like one. The fish was actually a plastic toy, but it sure scared the heck out of me when I hit it with the shovel. Once the fish was removed and the dirt leveled out, I put down some landscape fabric to keep the weeds at bay and then laid down the rock.
Luckily the ten bags I picked up were just enough to cover the area. I also busted out the rain barrel I bought two summers ago that I hadn’t yet used. The year I purchased the rain barrel, it never rained, so I didn’t hook it up. Last year I was too into the bathroom project to even think about rain barrels, so I forgot about it. I made myself a promise that I would use it this year. Now I just need to modify the gutter so it diverts rain into the barrel. Let’s see how many years that takes me…
I think the finished area looks great, but I’m most excited about there not being a huge mud pit for the dog to walk into and then subsequently track into the house.
While I was admiring my work, the sump pump kicked on and Leo jumped into action, trying to “chase” the chipmunk — but — no muddy paws this time. Yay!
That’s one scary looking fish toy, don’t you think? Definitely not a chipmunk.
The day was still young and I decided to tackle another eyesore in the back yard, this mass of buckthorn:
It doesn’t look like much now, because the buckthorn have no leaves, but trust me, this clump of invasive shrubs becomes a real mess once things start to grow. This area has also been known to harbor a few rabbit nests, which Leo ultimately discovers and destroys. Let’s just say I’m removing their temptation and saving myself some serious bunny body clean up work in the future.
After another hour or so of work, the area was free of buckthorn. Unfortunately, I had also created another mud hole for Leo to run through. Le sigh.