Our friends tell us that we really know how to take a vacation. Of course I think they are being a bit sarcastic. We planned our vacation for the first week of May for a reason. Hopefully the weather will be nice, not too hot and no rain. The plan is to tear out one of our retaining walls and replace it before it collapses at an inopportune time. Like when a car is parked on the second tier drive. Our property is pie shaped on a hillside. The house sits at the lowest spot on the hillside with a large detached two car garage behind the house. There is a large two car driveway up to the garage then a single car driveway just above the garage leading to the shed door. Above that is a long graveled single car pad. In essence we have multiple parking spots for lots of people to park for parties we never have. Mitch is not social.
The retaining wall was built with railroad ties and after almost forty years was dilapidated and in need of repair. It ran from the garage to the end of the second tier drive. There was a bow half way down to the end making pulling into the drive a bit of a challenge. We would have to swing wide then pull back to the left to miss the railroad ties that jutted out. Bright and early with low skies we started the demolition of the wall. The demo went very quickly with me filling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with dirt dug out to expose the wall until we uncovered the reason the retaining wall jutted out. There buried in the side of the hill was a huge granite boulder. Evidently when the retaining wall was originally built they just built around the boulder instead of removing it. We tried to dig it out but it was way too big. Demolition was done for the day. Now we had to find someone with a backhoe or bobcat to dig out and remove the boulder. We always draw the black marble.
We called all of our friends (a very small list) to ask if anyone knew of someone who owns a backhoe and would be willing to come out and unearth our boulder. All laughed long and loud at our predicament. Funny, we didn’t think it was so humorous. Day two we found the best backhoe operator in the world who came over within a half hour of our call and dug out the boulder in record time. He even placed the boulder where I wanted it. Maybe there is a silver lining once in a while. Between the two of us, mainly Mitch, we finished removing all of the existing rotting ties and readied the area for rebuild. Mitch wisely called two friends to come and help re-lay the new railroad ties. At ten feet long these babies are way too heavy for me to help carry.
Day three the new retaining wall was re-erected in less than three hours with three strong men at work. Now the only thing left is to back fill the wall with the dirt we dug out to provide support front and back to keep it from collapsing. Guess who gets to wield the shovel? That is something I can do.