The dirt party went well, I think. Heather seems to have had a good time, too. Thankfully this year her knees weren't sabotaged by too much kneeling.
I didn't actually explain the dirt party concept in my first post, so here's what it was all about.
When we bought this house almost two years ago, it was entirely unlandscaped. Actually, that's not quite fair; the front lawn did have sod (but no topsoil). Here's what our lot looked like a month after we moved in. I planted a patch of grass within the first two weeks and it had started to sprout. Our lot goes to the back of the bulldozed area and is roughly half an acre.
We weren't involved in the planning of the house, or I would have had them sod the back and leave the front. I also would have had them put dirt under the sod, but I'm strange like that.
A year later, this is what our back seeded area looked like. (It's a mixture of clover and grasses.)
Notice the rock walls and steps? Brother-in-law Bob built the steps and John and I lugged the rocks and built the walls. At the very back of our lot is an old farmer's stone-pile wall, full of great building material and best of all… FREE!
The raised flower beds are primarily peat-based, and are thus wonderful for growing heathers, rhododendron and other acid-loving plants.
Last year's dirt party saw the creation of my rock garden and bog garden. You can't tell from the photo below, but there is a hidden liner in a portion of the rock garden which retains some water, thus allowing me to grow things that like wet feet (without watering them constantly).
This spring we were planning on making a sizable dent in our gravel pit with another load of dirt. Then John got smooshed by a car and screwed up his back and neck. He's doing better now, but is still unable to be another set of strong hands. So I've been lugging rocks, toting hoses, raking and doing whatever else needs doing. I'm not complaining, but there are still some things that you need two pairs of hands for and ALL work goes more pleasantly when you have company.
So my brother, sister (and her husband), mother, father, John's sister Heather, her husband (the Bob who built the stone steps) and their kids all came over on Saturday to help us redistribute the pile of dirt and to help do things that John can't and that would have to be done solely by my back and shoulders. We cut and moved sod, dug holes, weeded large scary weeds, moved about six cubic yards of dirt, built retaining walls, made another flower bed, enlarged a flower bed, flew kits and generally had a productive and fun time.
I am profoundly grateful to everyone who helped out in any way.
Heather took some photos (the captions are hers):
I kept sweeping the scattered dirt into the pile, so it wouldn't be a driveway covered with a packed layer of unshovelable gunk by the end of the day. Makes it inobvious at the time how small it's getting, though.
a quickr pickr post