May 20th, 2007
Taking Form

Zanthan Gardens
2007-05-20. After a long week of trenching and rebar bending…

Monday and Tuesday of this week are dedicated to hauling off all the caliche and rocks that the trenching unearthed. Ivan has to bring in his Bobcat and it requires two loads to the dump. (I put a call out to the neighborhood to see if anyone wanted free fill dirt but didn’t have any takers.)

Rain falls hard after midnight and continues until about 4AM. So Wednesday it is too muddy to work in the trenches. (Great weather for clearing out the spring flowers in the meadow which I did all day.)

Thursday and Friday are dedicated to bending the rebar. Ivan modifies the shape of the pond (so that it no longer runs completely under the deck). This is more what I had in mind anyway; however, I’m concerned that it is too shallow. So we dig it out a bit more…we dump the extra dirt in the now available spot that will be under the deck and the rocks in what is now a non-supporting footing.

I’m surprised that the guys show up Saturday morning. (We aren’t up and dressed.) They have to finish because the concrete pourers are scheduled for Tuesday. I detect a note of urgency whenever I speak to Ivan. I sense that making an effort to preserve the garden by doing all the digging and hauling by hand took much longer than he anticipated in his scheduling. I do appreciate it and am trying to stay out of the way. (Although eyebrows were raised when I suggested that the pond should be deeper. I worked alongside them digging out rocks and raking dirt as fast as we could to get it the way I wanted it.)

Zanthan Gardens
2007-05-20. The deeper pond and the pile of dirt we dug out of it. The pond slopes at the far end to make it easier to drain and clean.

The guys on his crew are incredible; I can’t remember when I met such cheerful and hard-working guys. They don’t seem fazed by any change and go after their work with gusto. It’s catching!

by M Sinclair Stevens

3 Responses to post “Taking Form”

  1. From Carol (Indiana):

    It’s always exciting to see an idea take form like that. I’m looking forward to more updates as the project progresses.

    (But you’ve made me tired thinking about all the work you’ve done in the last week!)

    I didn’t do too much this week…at least not as much as last week when we were trying to figure out what to do with all the extra dirt. — mss

  2. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    Good idea on a deeper pond. You can always put shallow-growing plants up on overturned pots, but you need deeper water for waterlilies and fish.

    I’ve went to Emerald Gardens to look at ponds and determined that mine needed to be deeper–especially given the amount of reinforcement that’s already being built for it. I’m pretty sure the only reason it wasn’t deeper was we ran out of room to put the excavated dirt and time to dig it by hand. As it is, it’s deep enough only for a goldfish pond, not a koi pond. That’s okay. Koi seem like a lot of effort and expense and my yard is rife with raccoons and possums anyway. — mss

  3. From Annie in Austin:

    This is not exactly a Spectator Sport for you two, is it, M? I’m sure you’re glad you caught the problems before they became unfixable or unchangeable.

    I’m used to doing-it-myself and it’s difficult for me to see other people working and not pitch in. This endears me to some contractors (like the excellent Charles White of Odd Jobs) and alienates others. I can’t say enough, though, how energetic and diligent Ivan’s crew is. They are really doing a lot of hard work. — mss

    Philo was looking at some outdoor furniture websites and we noticed another term for a small garden outbuilding… you probably already know it and have rejected it, but wouldn’t it be adorable to have a “Wendy House”!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    I’ve never heard that term before, actually. We’ve always called it the garden house, even when we just used it as a shed, so that’s what it will remain. Although if the pond doesn’t work out, it might become known as swamp house. — mss