I did a little simple engineering this afternoon. I've had a hole where I pulled out one of the bushes from Sheol, a barberry bush. I hate those purply prickly things and think they should all be torched. The gaping hole has been an eyesore and a perpetual source of consternation to my likable, yet crotchety, neighbor Diane. She's always goading me about my backyard and even told me once that the previous owner of my house would be rolling in her grave if she could see the condition of my yard. We have a playful relationship about the whole thing. I tell her it's one more reason for her to fight her cancer, to just see when the heck I'll get the yard looking nice. She then says she'll be around for a long time, if that's what she has to wait for, and we have a good laugh about it all.
Well, the thing that's been bugging me about this hole in the ground is all the junk that's left over from ripping out the bush. I decided to take care of it today, so I decided to make a soil sifter. I went to Menards and picked up something called hardware cloth, which is basically just a wire mesh. I made a simple wooden frame with long wooden handles, just wide enough to fit over my wheelbarrow and screwed the wire mesh to the back of it. It worked like a charm! I got rid of all of the junk: all of the weeds, all of the stones and nasty clods of clay, along with all of the remnants of the bush. When I was done, what I had was some choice soil that was perfect for filling the hole. It was satisfying to clean up that mess! And tomorrow I'll be putting in a lilac bush in its place.
This is the first of many projects that I'm planning to do over the next month or so, since I'm just beginning six weeks off from work. This will be the first time that I've been able to enjoy the perk of of having so much time off in the summer, since usually I'm doing tons of music festivals. I've realized that I have a completely different attitude about doing work around my house now that I know I have the time off. In the past, I've always been scurrying around trying to get stuff done before leaving for another festival and so it always feels maddening and overwhelming. This year I feel like I can really dig in and tackle some projects and I'm finding that I'm actually enjoying the work.
This week is being spent doing outside work, and next week begins the final push to finish my bathroom, followed by work on my kitchen! And I'm looking forward to both. For me this summer, working on my house is going to be my full time job. With some grilling, Netflix, and socializing thrown in there for good measure.