Last summer project!

Argh, the end of summer. We hosted my folks for their annual summer trip, and had some lovely dinners on the back ‘patio’. We dressed it up a bit, but next year we’ll actually make it a flat level surface (I promise, Mom and Dad!).

Back to work full-time for me, and so we are doing our annual mad dash to the finish line on one last big job we had planned for this summer: the porch. Even though we rebuilt it last year, we didn’t do the cosmetic stuff: repainting the ceiling, cleaning the logs, and staining/caulking them. So, that. It’s all over-the-head work, everyone’s favorite. But at least now we have the hot tub and can have a soak at the end of the day. Ahhh. That little snorkel stove heats up unbelievably fast.

So here’s where we are, just before I have to head out for a final work trip:

Meanwhile, the dogs decided it would be fun to make a bed in the herb garden. The cilantro is pretty flat and hairy now. So, no more fresh salsa. Alas, one more signal of summer’s end.

Cedar and granite: best possible configuration

All summer, we’ve been working on a super-special project. We originally planned to do this next year, but some things lined up and we were able to do it this year. Once we got the garden started, which as you recall involved hauling a couple tons of rock and soil, we spent most of May and June hauling more rock and soil in the back yard. Here we are just starting on what became a rather involved excavation:

We had to move a LOT of rocks, including one that was probably 1.5 tons, according to calculations based on the density of granite. We used a come along for that one; we had to accomplish about two flips to get it out of the way.

Then we dug. And moved rocks. And dug. And moved rocks. Long week or two. We dug down through part of the mineral soil and ultimately re-filled with decomposed granite (our mineral soil in this spot), gravel, and tamped it all down, thanks to a loaned tamper from Ben.

We created a form using rocks around the ring. And rented a concrete mixer. And built a stand for it. And built a conveyor using our ladder and a sled I built from plywood and scraps. Hauled ~80 bags of concrete up the ladder, then up a trail and another, steeper trail.

Then we poured. It looked like a lily pad, which was kind of cool. It’s a 4″ slab, about 6′ x 7′. We inset four tiles that a friend gave us about 15 years ago, that have moved through three houses, and never fit in quite right until here.

Then we moved more rocks – we needed stairs and a trail, instead of the dirt slope we’d been using. Some really large heavy rocks make up the stairs. Then we put in some little gardens and tidied up. And waited for the final item. We had to rally 4 friends and fill them up with pizza and beer to carry it up, after clearing a trail through the woods for the haul.

Guess what it is? A wood fired cedar hot tub!

Two soaks in, and we are loving the tub, the location, and have nearly forgotten all the backbreaking labor it took to get it here. The tub is absolutely gorgeous, and was crafted right here in Maine, at Maine Cedar Hot Tubs.