What’s Your Summer Project?

I joke with people that I’m ‘workin’ my land’ when I head out to dig up my garden beds or rearrange dirt (and my lower back). Late last summer I took on a project that ended up being a real adventure.

I decided I wanted my side yard to be more than just a place for my dogs to run around. So it seemed like the perfect place to dig out a 12 x 22 foot space to create a pea gravel firepit where I could hang out with friends (and dogs). Interesting choice #1: Make it 12 x 22 feet.

Here’s how it went…

Digging up the turf was going to be too much for me and a pickaxe so I hired someone with a machine that could do the job. The team at Iron & Arbor swung by with a zippy little machine that did the job and left me with a pile of soil that is this summer’s project – a mini vineyard of Concord grapes.

After I had a big rectangular patch in my yard, I followed behind with a tiller and pickaxe to neaten up the base and the perimeter. Let’s just say leather gloves are your friend when you’re workin’ the land.

To prevent any grass coming up through the pea gravel, I pinned down heavy landscape fabric.

Menard’s was kind enough to swing by and drop off 120 bags of pea gravel and paver stones for the edge of the pit. A nice Amanda farmer did the delivery with the gigantic trailer he uses to haul hay bales. When he’s got spare time, he does deliveries for Menard’s. Good man, very skilled with the fork lift that hangs off the back of the trailer.

I got the pavers set around the edges then spent the rainy Labor Day weekend lugging, ripping and spilling 120 50-lb. bags of pea gravel into ‘the pit.’

There were no injuries. Probably in part thanks to Amy Lash’s Suspended Strength Class at Olivedale where women of a certain age learn how to show people who’s boss.

Firepit completed with chairs, fire pits and wood.

Firepit completed with chairs, fire pits and wood.

The Pit is all set and ready for fun. A place to lie back with friends and look at the stars in reclining chairs while the wood crackles and the fireflies flash their yellow neon. A good investment in happiness.

The future vineyard probably won’t produce any grapes for a couple of years. The starter vines will go in the ground in the next few weeks. When I was weeding the dirt mound I found a rabbit nest. Once the baby rabbits make their way into the world, Rabbit Hill Winery will be born.

Consider this an open invitation to share your favorite ‘working my land’ project. Us home improvement crazies need to stick together.

Share Your ‘Workin’ My Land’ Project

Filed under: Featured, Home Improvement, Homepage Showcase, Life, News, Outdoors
Chris Shirer, Publisher of The Lancaster Herald

By Chris Shirer

Chris Shirer is the publisher of The Lancaster Herald. You’ll find her walking all over Lancaster sometimes accompanied by her investigative reporter dogs Rocket and Lily.