Pond Stones, Stones, Stones

Finding stones for the pond project is proving to be an adventure. It is raining here today, and was yesterday too. The days before that I was able to place all the stones I had previously gathered onto the pond planting ledge. I also bought some white stones in small bags–they were supposed to be 3 to 5 inch stones, but at least half were much smaller than that. Maybe not such a great buy. But I had enough to finish a ring around the center of the planting ledge. These stones will be large enough to stabilize smaller stones behind them. Once the pond is filled, all of them will be below the water.

Pond with stones in a ring around the ledge, plus “beach.”

I worked on the “beach,” which is an incline for critters to be able to reach the water easily. I did it early in the process because It seemed like this might be the trickiest part, and I wasn’t wrong. In the photo it is at the back, with mostly white stones. I had gently placed each stone one by one. However, I am thinking I might need to redo the upper part of it because when I imagine little critters walking on those stones, it seems like they are not stable enough–the incline being slightly too steep. But to redo it, I’ll have to move the upper stones, and go beneath the liner and the carpet, and take out a bit more soil so the slope is more gradual. When the pond is filled, the water will cover the white stones and come to the level of the row of larger stones behind them.

Close up of pond “beach”

After I finished the (imperfect) beach, I put all of my smaller stones on the ledge to the right of the beach. As you can see in the first photo, they didn’t cover very much. So I will have to buy more small stones for the planting shelves, but I am now looking at 1-2 inch round stones, not “pea stones”. I discovered that a nearby nursery has such stones available in bulk–but that means either borrowing or renting a pickup truck to be able to collect them. I can get a half-yard of them for a good price, which should do it. It is just a big project to rent a truck, get stones, unload them at my house, and return the truck. I don’t mean to complain! If anyone locally (Portland Maine) has a pickup truck (with an open bed) who is willing to loan it, can you let me know? For some reason, this part feels challenging to me.

So, in the meantime, last night I suddenly had an idea of where I could find some more bigger stones. In our old neighborhood there were rural roads with no houses nearby, and I thought I remembered seeing stones on the side of those roads. Today before the rain came, I drove over there with two intentions. Get some stones, but also, look to see if the lady slipper plants we use to find in the woods there were still blooming. And they were. And I did get some good stones by the side of the road! I have a feeling this gathering of stones will continue for some time.

Pink lady slipper

The Adventure Continues

Back Door & Window DSC02518Despite the setbacks we’ve experienced, we are still feeling good about this small house with the lovely yard we’ve found in Portland. Today we did something fun–we talked to a carpenter about some renovations we want to do.  We need to convert a one-car garage into a two-car garage–and it turns out it’s fairly easy.  The garage is wide enough, we just need to add a wider door.  We want to put in a French Door from the kitchen to the backyard, in place of the door and window in the picture.  With such a great backyard, we want to have a better connection between the interior and the exterior.  Plus, a French Door will make the entrance wide enough for wheelchair access when we need it.

We also talked about widening the bathroom door for the same access reasons, and putting in French Doors to the office across from the bathroom–to create a wider turning radius in the hallway, and make that room accessible in case of future needs. It will also bring in more light into the hallway.  One more project is to add a window in the back bedroom to bring in more light and connection to the yard. The carpenter said all of these were very straightforward projects, and he’ll send an estimate in a couple days.

After the last weeks, we had to step back and re-decide if we could love the property, even with the Water District taking up part of it.  We learned that the water main is of a kind that may never need replacement or maintenance–the old cast iron pipes before World War II were better made than those following. And the undeveloped land off the back is owned by several abutting neighbors, which makes it less likely to be the site of a big future development. Now we have another land survey issue that we’ve asked the sellers to work out.  So many complications. But all in all, we feel so lucky to have found a good home with a big yard in the city, and so we’ve decided to go forward, and hope that all the complications can be sorted out. Send us good luck and prayers!