Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moving earth and stones.....

 The end of the summer chores have been accomplished here at the Manor.For the last 2 weeks, we have been working off mucho calories. This is just a portion of the salvaged brick pile we have plowed through  to create some special spots for sitting, dreaming and drawing and just enjoying life hereabouts in the Hollow.
The first project is an ugly mess just outside the potting shed door; BUT nothing excites me more than making something beautiful, charming or quaint out of a miserable mess. It is one of my favorite things to do! This photo  is AFTER I leveled it off... shovel. shovel, rake and hoe. 
I am just a gentlewoman farmer with a pretty good back.
     Some old timbers which were recycled from our bridge, sitting atop cinderblocks ( nicely hidden) create a raised bed for next years grapes. Those imaginary grapevines will climb over my imaginary Cedar arbor,  built from trees which the Lord of the Manor must cut down just as soon as he finishes getting me about a million wheelbarrows full of sand and topsoil.  Gosh, I love that Man.
Oooh, I love laying bricks. This will be a little courtyard. My bricklaying is never level, it always has lots of sways and dips, kinda makes one a bit seasick. But that is okay with me because it looks very Colonial . Our house is 120 years old and I strive for an old, used, battered and loved look.
The last thing I want is a professional landscaper look... no problem there.
 I mixed the old brick with stones.

Along one edge of this courtyard sits my "unending Compost heap" I could shovel this stuff for years.  This is where my Sheep and Goats used to gather together and devise sneaky plans on the best way to steal pears and plums from the other side of the fence.
 This stone wall is built from an old church sidewalk. I was so excited the day we drove past and saw it being demolished. They were just as happy as a peach to have us haul off all those concrete pieces in our van.  That afternoon, in about 3 hours, I built this wall. I must confess that I take a good deal of pleasure knowing that I can lay a stone wall  and stitch the most delicate of embroidery threads with equal enthusiasm.
Here, I am adding concrete chunky steps to lead up to the brick courtyard....
 And a funny little bee bole for the skeps.
with a cast iron fireback top

A little more cleanup and a few perennials getting a head start for next year. 
 I think this is a tidy job. And my back doesn't even hurt that much!

 Now for the second project. Here is the mess...
This is off the far end of the porch, and will be an herb and rose garden next year... but first..we must use timbers, brick bats, stones and ... OH,
I see my little helpers have arrived. This is the excavation crew. But honestly, they just get in my way, but I don't have the heart to tell them.
  I love railroad ties. They are sturdy, heavy, rustic looking and lasting. Best of all, they are WOOD, and wood looks GOOD with stones and brickbats and plants and roses.
 Popped in a few herbs for end the season color: wooly thyme, rosemary and oregano,sage, hyssop, I like it !

This will be lovely next year, when all begins to grow.
We used old salvaged bricks and brickbats, stones from our property, used timbers and ties, to do this work. I love the old look of it and the imperfections. It drives me crazy to watch those DIY shows where they have 5 bricklayers, 3 nurseryman and 3 carpenters on hand. Around here, we really do "DO IT OURSELVES"

 While gathering the bricks at the salvage place,we found this marvelous old sink from 1937 ( date is on the bottom).Now we will have to DIY all the stains out.

  Now  we just need to plant these bulbs (and about 500 more).  Ithink I will call on the Fuzzyfoot gardeners, they love to plant bulbs, and their knees never hurt!


  1. JERI! I TOO ENJOY taking NOTHING, and making something beautiful from it. THere is something exhilarating about it! And your photos are wonderful, just wonderful to show us every step of the way...I see your construction crew kept a close eye on the project and made full reports....uh huh....check! Those chickens are a hoot, but what an elegant space you have now!!! Anita

  2. Love the update on your garden transformation...always a pleasure to visit your blog! Cheers, Susan

  3. I love that sink. I've been looking for one like that to put in my basement!
    Your yard is beautiful!

  4. Whoo-hoo! Time to sit back in a comfy chair on your choice(!) of patio and admire your amazing results. And ponder how to best use your vintage sink while planting bulbs.

    An excavation crew that works for chicken feed is the best, isn't it? I love my Bombshells but I have to say that your golden girls are bee-you-tiful!

  5. Jeri
    WHAT A WONDERFUL JOB you have done!! I love working with the earth.. It has always been a great love of mine.. I love your brickwork. Mine were never quite level either, and that is fine with me.. I so enjoyed looking at all your photos.. Everything looks so inviting.
    Thank you for your visit and your very kind words.

  6. What amazing industry and wonderful results - how you will enjoy your spaces (even more) next summer - I love your garden, it has such a comfortable, homely feeling with more than a bit of magic.

  7. Jeri ~ My gosh girl, you are one hard worker, no matter what project you take on. We, too, are DIY's. There is so much pleasure in DIY. I love your new patio, your wall, and your herb and rose garden is going to be fantastic.
    I don't see how you don't have a sore back.

    Thanks you for sharing your wonderful manor and gardens and critters. You are an inspiration.


  8. Truly beautiful down to your excavation crew (love their buttery yellow color). You are so inspiring!

  9. The little spaces you created look amazing! I know I could wile away many hours there!! :D

  10. Jeri your work is amazing - I too love doing diy jobs but I've never taken on something quite as extensive as this. I am admiring your stone work and I loved seeing the before and after pictures. I can't wait so see your cedar arbor.

  11. Now I feel worse than ever after reading this as I am the bricklaying woman here, and I can't do diddly for awhile. Very jealous..I know it is a sin so I 'd better stop typing, Gina

  12. Hello Jeri;
    You are a Talented and Gifted Illustrator! Just Lovely!
    And Well..Your Garden..Beautiful! So Serene and Welcoming!I sure you spend a lot of time there!
    Thank you for Sharing and your Kind Comments on my Blog!
    PS I am a Follower too!

  13. From one DIYer to another...Kuddos on a job well done! It is just lovely!!!

  14. I've wandered through your projects before..great job! I'd love to wander through the real thing. I was posting musings of rock hauling and building with rocks on my Facebook today. I'm thinking my virtual projects are more FUN than the real McCoy! At least less taxing! :o)

  15. I've wandered through your projects before..great job! I'd love to wander through the real thing. I was posting musings of rock hauling and building with rocks on my Facebook today. I'm thinking my virtual projects are more FUN than the real McCoy! At least less taxing! :o)


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