Path  beforeAt the bottom of our garden is a retaining wall and a line of trees, mostly Norway spruces and hemlocks.  The inspector took so many pictures I asked him if there was a problem with them, but he said no, he just wanted us to know they were there.Path  beforePath  before

Last spring when I started cleaning up the vines and weeds at the steps at the end of the retaining wall, I realized there was a stone landing at the bottom.  Then that it was a stone path, laid with bluestone pavers, about 3 feet by 6, trimmed to fit the curve of the wall, all hidden under a couple of inches of dirt and needles.

Path   after
Path  after
Path  after

I spent several afternoons clearing it off with a hoe, up to the last spruce, where it seemed to end, although there were what seemed to be stepping stones that had slid out of place beyond that. This spring, we cleared out at the far end, below the garage, and there were more large stones. Poking around the “stepping stones,” we found they were large stones, half buried, although not as nice as the ones at the beginning. The large chunks of gravel all along turned out to be broken cinder block. From the paint, we decided were the broken blocks from the time a car hit the garage and knocked the car in it through the back wall. We have heard various versions of this from neighbors and tradesmen. There are probably a dozen wheelbarrow loads of those to haul off, and we have no idea what we will do with them.

One day, we gathered up a large copper pipe to use as a roller, a pick mattock, hoe, shovel, and broom, to see if we could shift the slipped stones back into place. It was surprisingly easier than we had feared once we got the hang of it (easy for me to say, since Robert does the heavy lifting – only one or two so far have been small enough for me to move). We have leveled another 20 or 30 feet, with more than that to go. It is a task to do in the shade when it is warm and sunny, two or three stones in an afternoon. Eventually we will plant ground cover along the wall side, and plantings under the trees on the downhill side.

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