I remember the first time we visited Kenilworth last January. It felt a little strange to come to the front door via the sidewalk placed alongside the house. Even though there were nice, wide, concrete steps at the front of the porch, the only way to access them was by walking through the yard, and bypassing the oddly situated sidewalk.
Since we’ve lived here, I’ve noticed that people often look in the school room window on their way to the front door. I’m sure it’s irresistible. When you walk by a window, you naturally want to look through it. Of course I don’t mind when it’s people we know well, but it feels kind of intrusive when strangers do it. And believe me, they do.
So for quite a while, I’ve had plans to eliminate the sidewalk.
With the help of the whole family – it’s done!
Here’s what we did:
In the interest of saving money, we decided to use the old stone we removed when we redid the fireplace. We had tons of it sitting out behind the cobhouse. Noah and I brought several wagonloads and then I arranged them somewhat haphazardly into a curvy path to the front porch.
Glenn wanted me to sink them deep enough to ride the lawnmower over them. So Alix and I spent a couple of days outlining each stone with a shovel, and then setting them down into the holes.
The kids had a great time running back and forth over the stones while we were working.
It was kind of like a giant hopscotch path.
Luke started jack-hammering the sidewalk out. Like me, you’ve probably never handled a jackhammer. Or maybe you have, just enough to realize it’s completely exhausting.
After a grueling 45 minutes, this is what Luke removed.
I admit, I had hoped for a little quicker progress.
But Glenn helped him out, and within just a few days, the two of them crumbled the entire 7 inch thick sidewalk from end to end!
Meanwhile, the other kids were the Removal Crew. Wearing winter gloves and pulling wagons, they lugged all the broken concrete to our future shooting berm.
Breaks were allowed.
I had been checking CL for days, and in the middle of the project, found someone wanting to get rid of dirt. Free! So a few of the kids and I took Glenn’s truck and filled it up with a load of free dirt to fill in the sidewalk.
Everyone wanted to help unload and spread it.
So I let them.
Like I said before, breaks were allowed!
A couple of weeks ago, Luke and I brought a load of horse compost from the Schofields and after spreading some of it on the beds, he put the rest of it in a pile in one of the raised beds. So I brought a few wagonloads of the compost to mix in with the dirt.
Since it has rained the last couple of days, we have to wait to finish the sidewalk fill-in, but that’s ok.
In the meantime, we noticed our neighbor has several huge piles of dirt, long overgrown with grass and weeds. I took him a loaf of homemade bread and asked if we could have enough dirt to finish. He said yes! So hopefully we’ll soon get that done and the bushes rearranged and filled in.
In the meantime, it’s been so nice to have people come to the front steps, without looking in our windows on the way!
I think a few flowers around, and in, the pots, and maybe a bush or two as well, will make a nice, warm welcome for both friends and strangers.