Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ed's Oasis

OK, what does that guy we all know as "tjguy98" do when he's not geocaching or Jeepin' or working? Well, mostly just trying to enjoy life at a nice slow pace; a chance to have some quiet down time snatched between "having to be some where" and "wanting to be somewhere".

To accomplish that, Annette and I have turned our small back yard into a free style garden that's fits some where between the mess of an English garden and the resemblance of a West Coast environment. I've lost track of how much material we brought into the yard and how much clay we took out. The figures are something like over a ton of clay removed, 20 yards of top soil brought in, 3 yards of pea gravel, 8 yards of crushed rock, 10 yards of sand, a few pick up trucks of large boulders scrounged from the Stave Lake area to make natural retaining walls and the borders for the faux creek bed that cuts through the yard, 3 yards of river rock, 3 pumps and 3 revisions of a fountain and creek set up, more plants than I can remember...well, you get the idea.

Every year there is something more to do, or fix, or change, or change around just cause it's time for a change. This year it was the sun deck; the deck covering was wearing prematurely and if left for another year, the plywood deck would have started to rot as well. We knew it would be a few bucks to get the deck redone, and to avoid it wearing out again before it's time, we decided to bite the bullet and get a roof for the sun deck. This would also help with the heat in the south facing kitchen, plus make the sun deck usable in the heat of the summer.

A couple of days ago, in the waning of a late summer sun, I took a few pictures of our new deck, sunroof, and back yard. The pictures are not as brilliant as you might think they should be; keep in mind it's mid September and the yard is reflecting the approach of Autumn.

Nice place to sit and enjoy a cool drink and listen to the fountains

3 types of Clematis climb the arbour over the path. White mini Christmas lights on the arbour help light up the yard at night, as does rock lights in either back corner of the yard. Small star shaped solar lights twinkle through out the yard in different colours. A couple of small solar pagodas add a soft light amongst the back and side gardens.

Molly the kitty loves to race around chasing bugs in the back yard. Molly was a rescue cat; some one dumped her on the side of road in Dewdney at our son-in-laws farm thinking she could be a barn cat or something. Poor little thing, only 8 months old, was no match for the barn cats, so we brought her home with us. She now has the run of the yard and house, she sure knows whose boss and it ain't us!

Back patio deck..yes, we built this ourselves. Two pick up truck fulls of clay dug out and 3 yards of crushed rock, and over 5 yards of sand, all tamped down with a portable tamper and covered in 2 truck loads of Old English Bricks to match the English style brick retaining wall. Yes, we even rented a water cooled cutting saw to cut the bricks ourselves. With the exception of the sun deck and roof, everything in the back yard was built, dug or planted by Annette and I.

Another view of the back patio; note the second fountain in the left of the picture under the second arbour where we have climbing roses.

Tufta rock burbling fountain has the water disappearing into the rocks around it. Large tub like container hidden beneath the surrounding river rock contains a pump that cycles the water back up the lava-like rock to mysteriously appear at the top of the rock. Notches on the sides of the rock maximize the splashing sound of the water as it cascades over the edges.

So, now you know another of my favourite past times, one where I can go to put my feet up and relax, or putter away at something that "seems to need doing". A cool drink, a good book, burbling fountains and a kitty chasing butterflies in the garden makes for a pretty nice retreat indeed! 

More back yard pictures can be seen here (use the right click method on the link to go to the picture site). Click on SLIDESHOW in the upper right to see the pictures full size as they play through. Click here to go to the home page of my Flickr site to see ALL my pictures - ensure you have a full cup of coffee before you start!  :)