Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Simon and Garfunkel???

If you will look back to my previous post about "Goals and Grills" you'll notice that I mentioned planting several herbs.  My friend Daniel tells me that it's a reference to a Simon and Garfunkel song.

Find the song and list it in the comments.  Props to those who get it correct.

And, FYI, I have potted herbs (basil, peppermint, parsley, rosemary, and thyme).  The parsley doesn't look like it's going to make it, but everything else is thriving. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gravel Delivery from Sure Shot

Here are the pictures I promised oh so long ago.  Enjoy!

 Getting positioned...

Wait for it...

there it goes!!!


Hit that far corner!

The aftermath...

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with Sure Shot.  I may have griped earlier about not having enough gravel, but now I think I should have enough, since a portion of my yard is going to be flagstoned or covered with a veggie bed or two or three.

Check out the video here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lots of Posts Today...some of them may be redwood...

I was originally going to get a shade sail to cover the flagstone (that I have yet to install), but I've come up with something else even better....

....something like this...

I'll build it out of redwood or cedar.  I'm working on the actual design right now and I'm pretty excited.  Good thing two of my friends are coming into town later in July to help out (suckers!!!).

Trees and Operation Cool Shade

My friend, Sharlet, posted a comment about how I need a hammock.  She's right, and yes, I've thought of that, but I won't be able to have one until the trees I plant are strong enough to support me.  I replied to her comment (only 2 weeks later!), but I felt that I should share my tree knowledge with you.

My electric company here in Arizona (Trico Electric) has a program called Operation Cool Shade, in which utility subscribers can purchase up to three shade trees at reduced rates from Trico Electric, on the condition that the trees are planted in such a manner around the house that at maturity, they will shade and therefore cool the houses down, thus reducing electricity costs (interesting that the electric company would sponsor a program designed to reduce the consumption of it's primary service/product).  There is another program sponsored by Tucson Electric called Trees for Tucson - same thing, different company, different name.

I ordered three trees at $11 per tree.  If I attend a tree-growing workshop (I'm going to - 4 hours on a Saturday, too easy), I get $5 off per tree.  I'll therefore get three Arizona Ash trees for $18 total instead of $33 - which is significantly less than what I could get from a nursery or Home Depot.  I won't be able to pick them up until November, but that gives me an opportunity to focus on other backyard projects.  Like raking and spreading gravel  :(

Anyhooooo....if any of you are interested in planting trees, check with your local utilities - they may have a similar program.  I highly recommend it.

P.S. I know, I know...run-on sentences.  Got it.  I'll work on it.

Follow Up on Gravel

Well, the gravel was successfully delivered.  I must say that I'm a bit uncertain about coverage.  My recommendation is this - whatever minimum amount of gravel you're told to get, throw in an extra 20-40%. 

Here's why: my backyard is 3000 sq. ft.  In order to get 1" thick coverage, I needed a minimum of 14 tons to accomplish this.  However, what I failed to take into consideration was the fact that the coverage equations assumes a completely flat landscape. 

Step outside and inspect your yard.  Or just take a look at the pictures of my yard.  You'll notice that it isn't completely flat.  I have (you probably have) dips, holes, low points, points of settling, drainage channels, etc., that will absorb more gravel than what you accounted for.

And (this is not a slam against Sure Shot, however...), when Sure Shot delivered the gravel, there was a bit of spillage as the operator attempted to operate his equipment and sling the gravel over the wall, plus a bit out of the bottom of the truck.

So...lesson learned - "P" stands for "plenty" (any Army engineer or explosives guy will know what I'm talking about).  Get extra gravel.

And use Sure Shot - saved me a heck of a lot of money and time!  (pics to be posted later...when I'm not feeling lazy)

Sure Shot: 520-490-9891.  Deliveries in Tucson for $180; Vail/Corona de Tucson is $190.  Dennis is a pretty cool dude.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gravel Delivery Today!

I ordered some 3/8" light-colored gravel for the backyard from Acme Gravel and Sand in Tucson.  Finally, the first step!

The problem I had was trying to figure out how to get the gravel delivered to my house.  First of all, I no longer have the F-150 (or it's $650/month fuel bill).  Not that I would want to make 10 trips to the gravel yard and then shovel the gravel out of the back of the pickup.  A lot of gravel companies will deliver to your house, but they simply dump it in a pile on your driveway or on your street, then it's up to you to cart 14 TONS OF GRAVEL on your own to your backyard. 

As stated in an earlier post, physical labor is not my strong point.  So I called a few "Gravel Delivery Specialists,"  "Landscapers," "Three Guys and a Wheelbarrow," etc. etc. etc. from Craigslist.  The cheapest wanted $700 to spread the gravel in the backyard. 

Believe it or not, I actually considered it.  I'd rather pay than spend an entire weekend hauling 14 TONS OF GRAVEL to my backyard in a wheelbarrow rated to carry 300 lbs. per load (93-94 loads from the backyard.  Definitely not my idea of fun.

However, I discovered a gravel delivery company - Sure Shot.

Sure Shot picks up the gravel, drives to your house, then unloads the gravel via some sort of slingshot-conveyor belt-gravel shooter mechanism.  Since the gravel is literally being shot into the yard, the downside is that I am risking some stucco chipping and broken windows.  You can see below the defensive mechanism that I commissioned NASA engineers to design in order to prevent a broken sliding glass door.

                                                          ghetto blocking device

We'll see how it works.  I will post pictures of Sure Shot slinging gravel into my yard.  Stay tuned!

Quick edit: you'll notice the black trash can at the left of the sliding glass door.  Yes...that is my compost bin.  I am now composting.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fires in Arizona

If you know of anybody in southern Arizona that is being evacuated and needs temporary lodging, please let them know that I have space.  I have two spare bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a sofabed, so I figure that I can accomodate up to 6 people - couples, childrens, pets, etc. 

Contact me at kenneth.g.albrecht@gmail.com, or my cell phone at 678-773-5218.