Posts Tagged ‘Railroad tie steps’

DIY Steps

Monday, September 27th, 2010

My Husband has started a new DIY project. You guessed it, the Blue Tarp is back. Just when the Do-It-Yourself drainage project had become Done-It-Yourself, the man has been inspired to build steps in the hillside around the corner of the house. I’m not saying this isn’t a good idea. It is. The steps are going to look great when they are finished.

I have done my bit, even holding the string that helped us to measure the incline and the length of the hill, to ascertain the amount of drop and distance the steps will have to cover. My Husband is using six by sixes (like railroad ties) to create the stairs, so each step is approximately six inches tall.  He decided that each step should comfortably accommodate an adult foot, so the stairs are approximately 10 inches deep. So that means a ratio of six inches of drop to every 10 inches of spread. Once he has excavated the shape of the base tiers in the dirt and rocks of the hillside, he is securing the six by sixes to the hillside with metal stakes. Then he will support the railroad ties along all gaps and edges with reclaimed rocks, pounding these into the dirt with a sledge hammer as well. Finally he will fill the steps in with a combination of dirt and granite dust to create a secure tread. I think this project is going to require all of ten steps.

In the meantime, and that could be awhile, all I’m saying is, The Blue Tarp is back. Our neighbors are going to start asking questions. I think My Husband had rather hoped that the ‘kids’ would be around over the summer months to help him with this project. But our children are grown. They did try to spend a few days with us, a long weekend away from work, or a few days of vacation after the term was finished, but there never seemed to be time for any yard construction.

The Dog however, never much of a critic, is loving the hillside step project. In digging through the rock and dirt of the back slope, my Husband has unearthed any number of chipmunk tunnels. Why our house hasn’t plunged through the earth into this warren of subterranean passageways is beyond me.

So the local chipmunk empire is in an uproar. Several of their communal houses have been destroyed and their larders disturbed even as fall begins. Rocks and railroad ties now block the hillside, impeding their straight shot to the bird feeder, where they hoard birdseed. They are squeaking mad.

In contrast, The Dog is delighted. Enraged chipmunks dashing about in this redesigned landscape of freshly turned dirt, what more could a golden retriever ask? He has spent all of the sunny weekend ‘helping’ with the digging, and patrolling the perimeter.

We are also currently experiencing a hailstorm of acorns, as all the centuries old oaks about our neighborhood seem to be releasing this year’s crop all at the same time. It sounds like Jiffy Pop popcorn outside. As the acorns plummet through the high leaves, to ricochet from roof to branch and into ground cover, The Dog stands guard, convinced that more chipmunks are making a dash for the freedom of a new tunnel. He has spent hours snuffling though the pachysandra and vinca hopefully.

Be that as it may, they make a good pair, My Husband and The Dog, working together in the yard over the weekend. They are sweet on each other. Shhh… I know how this story ends.