Our back yard has been collecting material from the house. First we excavated the new footings in the basement, which resulted in a large mound of clay. Then, between the chimney removal and removing the brick fire blocking during subfloor install we added a giant pile of bricks and mortar. We removed the mortar from all of the good bricks and stacked them in a neat cube, but the broken and crumbling bits we just piled next to it.

Clay, bricks, mortar (and Derek)

Clay, bricks, mortar (and Derek)

In addition, we had an old raised garden along one side of the yard. It wasn’t the lovely cinder blocks that made us want to get rid of it now so much as the dirt itself: full of shredded plastic bags from rats nests, broken glass, bottle caps, an oil filter, bullet slugs, you-name-it. Sarah wouldn’t plant vegetables in it, so we used separate planters. She was planning to put a shovel-full of dirt into our garbage toters every week, but that was going to take forever. Instead we decided to get another dumpster (#4 if you’re counting).

Our beautiful garden

Our beautiful garden (and Derek)

An added incentive to take out the garden sooner rather than later was that the wooden fence was bent into the neighbors yard because the dirt was piled directly against it. The small suspended fence you see above was screwed to the posts of the larger fence behind it.

Piles cleanup up

Piles cleanup up

In addition to cleaning out all the clay, mortar, and broken bricks I shrink-wrapped the stack of bricks to make it a bit safer for Derek to be around. I don’t want anything to fall on him if he tries to climb on it. We were supposed to get a 10 yard dumpster for heavy debris, which is fairly short. I was hoping to make a simple ramp so that I could dump wheelbarrow-fulls into it. Instead they brought a 15 yard dumpster and said not to fill it up all the way. That meant it was too tall for a ramp and I had to instead carry three or four buckets in the wheelbarrow and then empty them over the side one by one.

Garden removed and fence fixed

Garden removed and fence fixed

The dumpster was delivered midday Thursday. By midday Friday I was exhausted, so Sarah came down and filled the buckets while I carried them out. The work went faster and it was a lot easier than doing all of it (not counting Derek’s assistance). We finished up Saturday morning, though the dumpster was blocked by a car and they wound up not picking it up until Monday. I’m interested to find out how many tons it wound up being.

Dumpster nearing the "two-thirds full" line

Dumpster approaching the “two-thirds” limit

We’re excited to have our back yard opened up a bit. With all the crap we’re doing to the house, the back yard —ugly as it is— is one of our favorite places. We didn’t have much of an outdoor space of our own at our condo. Having room for a table and chairs, a fire pit, a sandbox, and room for some small garden beds and compost bins still feels like a treat. Our other impending cleanup activity is the scrap metal pile in the basement. That won’t entail a dumpster, but like this will be a lot of work. Our house has more tons of material to disgorge before everything’s said and done.

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