The deck planning seems to be gaining a little momentum. Family discussions have shifted from avoiding the subject of the deck entirely to commenting on "when we have a deck" or "when we start work on the deck.
In the meantime, I've been using wheelbarrows and shovels to shovel off all the gravel that was beneath the old deck and get up the plastic sheeting beneath that. The gravel has gone to the driveway to fill some mighty big puddle holes. The plastic sheeting? Well, it's all in a nasty pile around the corner of the house. Don't tell.
Because this has left only earth under the eaves which lead to our front door, and we have been getting some lovely night-time hard rains, I decided it would be a good idea to rescue some flagstones from the old herb garden and build a little pathway through the dirt. Fiona and Sophie helped. It looked so nice, we moved our solar lights over alongside the path. Then we lined it with potted herbs salvaged from the herb garden which will be under the new deck someday. We hope. The resulting pathway looks very sweet from the right angle.
From the wrong angle it looks like this:
Ah well, if you stand in the right place, close one eye and hold your head the right way, it is pretty nice. And that's all I care about.
So that's the big swath of gravel we've been hauling away. The plastic mulch has almost all been removed. Over on the herb garden side I've been removing the landscaping boulders and bricks, and digging up herbs. I think I must have been stronger, or at least less prone to tendonitis, when I built the garden. Removing the rocks is a lot of nasty work. But it's coming along. It's now a minefield of giant holes disguised by overgrown mint, lemon balm and oregano. Fiona and I were examining the lawn near the herb garden. There's now an area about 20 feet by 30 feet that is mostly oregano, mint and thyme, mown short by the regular lawn-mowing, but looking lovely and smelling lovely underfoot. These herbs are hardy things.
So about 20 last rocks from now, the herb garden will have officially been deconstructed. Then it remains to dismantle the old cold frame against the house, and then call someone with a mini-excavator to grade the area. That part we're not doing by hand! We'll need to pull the soil level down about 10-12" up near the house, and we'll probably push the excess out to make a somewhat level area where the old deck used to be, where perhaps someday a garden will arise.
It's hard to look at this and call it progress, but at least the driveway is smoother!