When we moved to the Little Gray House (eight years ago now), I bought all sorts of gardening books. It was our first time not living in an apartment or condo, and I thought gardening might be my thing. Turns out, not so much. I like being outside. I like plants and planning things for the yard, but I'm not passionate about it. I don't have the knack. Neel does. It's his place. It took him awhile to figure it out, but our yard and building our garden has become his passion. I was all too happy to hand over the reins. Turns out I'm the house person. We tend to do things pretty much in conjunction with each other (e.g. In Ikea last week I desperately wanted a gorgeous cream shag rug, but bowed to his better judgement and didn't get it. We do have three dogs and an almost 12 year old boy, you know.), and I don't think there's a thing in the house that he hates or a thing in the yard that I don't love. But still, the yard his his space and the house is mine. Where we each call the shots. Where we each have dominion.
That doesn't mean I don't get to come play along sometimes. Right now, Neel is in the process of building us a patio, based on an idea from this blog. In addition to the 2x2 squares (and lordy there are a lot of those to pour), he decided to also pour four 4x4 squares in the center of the patio. My dad helped pour the first, which was clearly the most arduous (sorry, dad!), and our neighbor Tyler showed up in time to pour the second (it went a lot faster...sorry dad!).
Yesterday, Callum managed to go golfing just in time to pour the third. That left me.
Each 4x4 requires about 12 or 13 bags of concrete, which Neel pours one at a time. That part comes after excavating and placing and leveling the mold. I helped dig. I helped square the mold and level it too. Then I was in charge of watering the concrete and scraping it out of the wheel barrow into the mold. It didn't take long for us to get a rhythm going, and it was fun! Hard work, sure, but so satisfying too. The concrete part took us less than an hour, and all told, I think we worked on it about an hour and a half. Not a bad Labor Day's labor.