(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

almost did it all my damn self.

 this is a year of living single here in la belle francy pants.  as such, I have been able to occupy myself with various and sundry projects, within my capacity or just outside thereof. thus far, I have ... (although single, still with a little help from my friends)

- put in a garden terasse where for five years there have been various piles of building debris, sand, tall weeds, short weeds, mown weeds, ongoing nettle infestation.  my son was here for a time and managed to clear all the debris and weeds out and bring it back to a pile of sand, with a stone border/short wall.

that there to the left is another little path my son made alongside the little succulent/cacti garden he planted for me...

I continued levelling it and covering it first with layers of recycled cardboard boxes (now who's the packrat?!) ... followed by framing it out with some leftover beams and wood that's been laying about for all the years I've been here. I went down and ordered a square meter of calcaire which is crushed limestone.  It was delivered on the back of a flatbed with a crane to lower the huge square sack on a pallet.

I spent about a week laying out the weed blocking fabric attached to the ground with big staple looking things.  (technical term).  After that, I shoveled a multitude of wheelbarrowfulls (technical term) of crushed limestone from the front of my building, through the boutique and out the back door and up to the terasse space.  I put in a layer about 3 inches or so (technical measurement) thick.  I also did a big space (technical measurement) out the back door of the boutique into the garden and a pathway to my back door from the kitchen.  I proceeded to dampen and tamp, dampen and tamp (technical techniques) and voila! I have a new terasse instead a shitpile that has been discussed ad nauseum as a great place for a terasse.  go me.

- I hand dug through thick sod grass from hell (t.t.) to create a space of about 30' x 20' for a kitchen garden. I did this in winter, doing about a meter or 2 a day. I had to do this twice to get down deep enough and break up the clumps of grass/soil.  Winter never got as cold as it should in order to kill off the grass clods in order to do a 3rd dig/clean but fortunately, Ian and Jean Yves came around and rototilled it in early spring.  They also helped plant (actually mostly planted) all the seeds I had chosen and even brought my requested out-of-the ordinary design to fruition incorporating some old iron bits and bobs and flowers and such.  It has been a joy even though the shit summer cockblocked my yield. yeah. i said it.

- I relocated 3 fruit trees and planted an olive tree (help from son also!)

- I removed all the old putty/glazing from a beautiful paned picture window in my soon to be sitting room that everyone insisted I should just replace as the window is too old, the insulation is bad, etc.  Not wanting a new window, not having the money to have a replica built or to pay someone else to repair the window - I set about carefully removing all of the old putty from the 16 panes. Finally, 6 had to be removed but that left 10 beautiful old hand blown wavy panes for gazing through and dreamily dreaming.  Just about the time to reputty and replace the panes, who shows up but Jean Yves who volunteers to help me.  Being JY, he also didn't mock or argue when I told him I wanted to relocate all the wavy panes to the lower level so I could look out them when I sit by the window.  We spent a day placing the glass just so and then I puttied, he smoothed/finished.  I left that to sit for nearly 2 weeks, to dry out and ready for painting.  I painted the window frame in a pretty soft grey that I blended and was very pleased with the color. But not so pleased because the mastic wasn't dry enought and the linseed oil has spotted through the paint after 2 coats.  I've left it for the moment while I sort out what to do next. In the meantime, I have painted all the window frames of the front windows of the house and repainted the shutters with another coat of white. oh and the front door too.

- we had several big rain/thunder/hailstorms in May which broke through a crappy broken skylight window and created a leak. no money for new roof so climbed up there and crab-crawled on hands and knees on the roman tiles for a few hours removing tiles, positioning a tarp, replacing tiles.  hope it holds up and makes the black and blue knees worth it. no pictures, so I guess that never happened. (i wish.)

so there. a short list of stuff I almost did my damn self so far this year. more to come.


Maureen said...

The garden looks fabulous! Keep on trucking!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

thanks maureen ... nice to know
someone is still here reading! :-)

Rosie said...

You write, I'll read :-)

Well done you. Looks brilliant.

Danielle said...

Your garden terasse is fabulous! How satisfying...

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Jadie said...

How great to see you're back to the blog! You have done so much this year, and it shows...

Rigsby said...

Good to see that there is still life outside of Facebook. If only I had half your energy I would be known as Rigsby, the dynamic. Your hard work in the garden looks good. If only you had the time to sit on your new terrace...

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