Friday, July 30, 2010

It takes a village....and craigslist

I have the best neighbors in the world.  You might think you do, but you don't, I do.  I also have the ugliest yard on the block, which might have something to do with all the help we have gottten this summer on our budget landscaping.

You might remember the tree that was the bane of my existence.  60 feet of black walnut that pooped on my yard and killed everything under it.  Budget tree guy from craigslist was $900 cheaper than other bids.  Mind you, hiring the cheapest guy on craigslist takes time and there are some drawbacks.  First you have to get them to call you back.  Then they postpone the estimate a couple of times.  They show up a few days late and look dirty and drunk.  They also knock on your neighbors door and ask for bandaids.

Here is where the neighbors started helping.  In addition to the first aid provided by Diane,  Mark with his chainsaw and Gordon with his brawn loaded up all the small logs and hauled them away as soon as the tree guys left.

We thought we would sell the big logs.  Then we thought we would make a floor out of them.  Also all researched on craigslist.  Many buyers were interested in the logs, but once they saw them, and how heavy they were, they disappeared.  Many mills were reasonable  and willing to make us a floor but transporting the logs was not reasonable and would have eaten up all the budget for the landscape.  Back to selling them.  Buyer from craigslist finally came and cranked them up by hand with a chain and a rachet.   It took 4 hours to load them.

Then the stump, another guy from craiglist and another visit from Mark and his chainsaw to get it out.  Mark's chainsaw turned out not to be big enough.   Enter Bob.  Another neighbor with a bigger chainsaw.

With the bobcat coming the next day, David and Karen, also neighbors, took pity on the mister and threw the wood from the  tree trunks into their truck and drove it away.  The mister had to roll the stump down the street, it was too heavy to load.  Mark will split it.  Did I mention David and Karen are in their 70's and threw the wood around like lumberjacks?  Three months later, the tree is gone.  And while I won't have a walnut floor I did save a couple pieces to make some of these.

The bobcat guy, again cheapest one on craigslist who would return a phone call, showed up ( 2 hours late) and ripped up the cracked and ugly concrete patio, and sort of graded the yard.  He also brought 3 pallets of sod and 10 tons of gravel for the paver patio base.
ugly concrete patio

I was imaging we then just roll out the sod, water, and voila!  Beautiful Lawn.  Ummm no.  There was much raking, tilling, shoveling, hauling, and swearing to be done first.    Enter more neighbors.  It started with Tina.  Just as I was about to murder the mister with a rake, the dog barking like a maniac, and the offspring fighting and crying; she came and made it instantly better with her sunny disposition.  She also put her 10 year old in charge of entertaining my kids and her dog in charge of entertaining my puppy.

how it looks this morning

A few minutes later, Gordon was raking, Tina was picking rock, Diane had all the kids (6)  and dogs (3) under control, and David came with a tiller and a big roller thingy that made the job go so much faster.  A few more  minutes later, Pierre was rolling sod, and  Noah and  Joseph were shoveling.  I was almost in tears with gratitude.  And by almost, I mean I was in tears.   I counted 10 different people who helped us in the last few weeks.  Best neighbors ever.  This weekend we have more sod to lay, gravel to spread, sand on top of that, and pavers to put down.  Later there are steps to build, a screen and a pergola to follow.  Plants and pavers for the walkways will wait til next spring, budget is tapped.  So is the keg.


  1. congratulations!!! yes, it's a blessing to have kind people as neighbors. (may i also say I have wood stump envy?)

  2. that looks like a ridiculous amount of work.
    it looks great though..