Sunday, August 14, 2005

Happiness Is...

...new sod!

Hallelujah and whoopdedoo, the back yard is a dust bowl no longer. Last weekend J. our intrepid and energetic nephew Joey helped us resod the back yard. For those who have never experienced it, laying sod is a trip...mostly a slimey one. To see how the yard got in this pitiable condition, see my previous blog entry about the floods in Dec '04 and Jan. '05.

Before you start sodding the sodding yard (heh, couldn't resist), you have to clear the entire yard of anything you can move, then rototill and level the dirt. We mixed in 20 bags of soil amendment--our local soil makes the dirt on Mars seem like prime bottom land. The chickens, of course, were in Heaven. Joey looked at me like I was a little nuts when I told him that one of his jobs would be to shoo the chickens out of the rototillers' patch using a broom. Actually it took both him AND me to keep them away. Chickens don't know from self-preservation when there is primo food like earthworms involved. J. & Joey used some spare 4x4 fence posts to help level the dirt and I walked the yard picking up more of the ever-popular broken glass, bits of rusty metal and old marbles. Among the things found was a vintage steel Budweiser bottle cap, surprisingly in pretty darned good condition.

Much to our delight the temperature was nearing 100 degrees the two days we had picked out to work in the yard. The minute the sod is delivered the clock starts ticking, you've only got a matter of hours to get it laid as it cheerfully begins dying the minute the sod company cuts it out of the ground. I mostly hosed down the three pallets of sod and the sections that were laid, while J. & Joey leveled, rolled the ground, laid sod chunks and afterwards rolled the sod again.

The chickens very nearly wept with delight at the sight of all that grass, and in order to keep the pallets of sod from being nibbled to death we decided to sacrifice one strip towards the greater good. Here they are, only about two-thirds of the flock fell on it like wolves...the ducks just wanted to sit on it and bask in the grassyness of it all, and Geraldine the tortoise barged in and ate as if the chickens didn't even exist.

This picture shows the three pallets of sod, surrounded by worshipping fowl.

Sod is apparantly grown in dirt mixed with snot....to say that it's slimey stuff is understating it. To make matters worse I had to keep hosing it down so that the damned stuff wouldn't DIE, so that made for slimey snotty dirt to ice skate on while trying to carry chunks of heavy sod. Try it sometime, it's loads of laughs when you are exhausted and it's 100 degrees. At one point Joey, while watching me hose off the pallets, ventured sadly, "That only makes it heavier..." "I know..." I apologized.

Here is the yard, rototilled (which, to everyone's further joy, makes it like wading through 12 inches of fresh snow). The stuff piled in the back is the pool, N.'s slide, lawn chairs, etc.

This next picture shows Day 2 of the Damned Sod, as it came to be known by then. The chickens were running around in a rather Brownian motion-type frenzy lying on different parts of it, as if they were afraid it would suddenly disappear as quickly as it had appeared.

 Finished, yay! And none of the sod (except the Sacrificial Chunk) died! I'm so happy I could cry. I'm still amazed at the amount of incredibly hard work that J. & Joey did, my heros, thanks guys! :) Here's the finished yard, I tried to get pics in the same areas that my previous blog entry during the floods show. The difference is astounding.

N. came home after two days at the Grandparents and her eyes were bugging out of her head. She eyed the grass every bit as hungrily as the chickens had and said, "Can I lay on it?!" Afterwards she ran around yelling "Grass! Grass!"

My thoughts exactly, kid.


  1. From my brother:

    Great, now I have "sod envy"... The chickens must be standing around weeping with joy. Are you going to let them have run of the whole thing, or is there a damage confinement plan?

  2. For now they have the run of it, it's Marathon II sod and is supposed to be as tough as nails (I did my homework!). Later on we'll be constructing a New and Improved chicken coop with a large attached covered run, which the chickens will be living in most of the time. That way we can walk around the yard and N. can play without stepping in little chicken poopoo packs. :)

    The sod looks even better in person, by the way! I think the best part is, I now have grass right up to the hardscape of my home! No more dumb, akward dirt areas next to the nice flagstone patio. Yay, planned landscaping! :)

    By the way, we have some lefover sod that is not returnable...want it?

    1. From my sister:
      That looks great! Congratulations on a hard job well done.

    2. By the way, in the first picture with all the chickens eating the strip of sod--that's Babs in the front left, the large brown hen with the golden cape (neck) feathers. When I can get outside again I'm going to get more pics of her...now that the sod is in most of the yard is once again photogenic. Because you know, my best pictures of the chickens themselves are inevitably of them standing against some crappy or cluttered background!

      Probably some Pet Union rule or something....