Things at ModFruGal Prison came to a standstill for 10 days…but we are back on track and moving forward with a reformed crew.  (Long story…I won’t bore you with the details.)  We’ve been calling it the prison since those cinder block walls are so cold and unwelcoming at the moment…seemed to fit.

down to driveway

at garage wall


former front entry

At the side

Ugly….but I remain committed to the vision.  The block will be capped and rendered with a dark brown mortar/stucco so that hopefully it will blend in with the soil. In the spring, I hope to soften the edges with modern plantings like Equisetum Hyemale or Field Horsetail.

Equisetum hyemale grow where you're planted

photo from Grow Where You’re Planted

(Not) Shi**ng my Pants

big wall

more big wall

So…the wall/s….were looking WAY bigger than the Plan dictated.  I was a bit scared and freaked out, but I’ve been hangin’ with these guys for awhile now and I watch how they work..they seem to get it, know their stuff and best yet..are good communicators.  Inspection time for sourced out jobs is most revealing when the crew have knocked off for the day and there’s still good daylight to see what the day has brought.

The day this wall was built had me a little unnerved, but I knew Rodger was with me…I watched as they shot the laser levels to make sure the grade was within centimeters of the plan…but it just looks SO BIG.  It measured out accurately, but I envisioned the bottom step area more open, more welcoming,  than the previous “rotten wall of go away” Just as I began to worry…I am reassured the following morning…..”all these tall blocks…they’ll be cut down at a sloping angle to act as a handrail to follow code”…and to be less visually intrusive. “Phew..I was a wee bit concerned.” Heh.  Nah..I didn’t need an extra glass of wine last night..I was cool.  Rock on Rodger.

See, I knew these boys were on my team.  It may look bizarre and scary now, but I’m keeping the faith with my dudes.  I’m imagining the final, SMALLER product… rendered in tinted concrete and filled with zen modern plantings…..and in the end…I just want to finally sit under my Sugar Maple without being smack dab in the middle of a termite eaten snake pit.  It’s all good.

eyes on the prize - sugar maple

Mud Rivers and Wet Feet

The rain is just relentless.  Moving all that dirt in combination with all that rain….yeah…my driveway is a muddy river.  Yesterday, the gang managed to get the concrete footers poured right as the next wave of the Nashville monsoon moved in…so we have some wet, muddy concrete footers right now.  If it ever stops raining, maybe we’ll get some walls built, but I’m not optimistic it will be this week.  On the bright side…my Dogwood is handling the transplant pretty well with all that water to drink.

Dogwood transplanted

the big dig continuesmore big digfooter molds being builtFooters first pourpoured and wet feetmore wet feet

And So It Begins….

Buh Bye rotten entry.  You will not be missed.

Monday…rained out.  Tuesday, rained out after 2 hours.  Wednesday….hooray it’s dry!  Rotten wood was removed with the discovery of a corn snake and the biggest yellow jacket ground hive any of us have EVER seen.  As bad as that hive was….I was expecting some more heinous discoveries in the snake category.

My precious Dogwood is supposed to be transplanted today..I really hope it survives.

Buh-Bye Rotten Stairs

breaking up the concreteside wall downpile o rottenDogwood to be Transplanted


Look real secure to walk on…eh?

Do I really need to say more?  My walls and steps are, in reality, a snake/chipmunk/yellow jacket multi-family dwelling that has GOT to be torn down.  Time for these critters to move along and time for me to have an entry that won’t kill anyone…..always a goal..no death or severe injury to guests…not too much to ask..no?


Since we’ll be waiting another 2 weeks for the correct siding to arrive, we figured we now had the time to address that which lives under the deck. I’m talking about Phil, (or Phillipa), the groundhog who has burrowed under the foundation of our house.  See, it wouldn’t be enough to have JUST a squirrel problem. This house had been hosting a woodland menagerie of critters before we arrived to take it back. Chipmunks and Rat Snakes are also part of what we lovingly call home.  Call me Snow freaking White.

Back to Phil/lipa…the main entry and exit seems to be from under the deck and there was no way of filling up the lair without pulling off the whole deck.  The decks have to come off when the siding goes on anyway, sooooo….now’s the time.  Rather than wait for the crew to do it, we decided to get started to get a better look….strangely the hole seems undisturbed, but it’s been spotted looking leaner than in the fall, so definitely still in residence. Our fear is sealing it in…so we’ll fill this hole with concrete and then wait a few days before we fill the other one at the front of the house.  We tried trapping it in vain this fall… completely ignored all lures and temptations.  Taking away the burrow seems to be the only way.  Sorry Phil/lipa, you’ll have to build new crib somewhere else.