moving into our first house from a one-bedroom apartment, we didn’t bring much with us to put in the shed out back. i think a few plastic balcony boxes and a broom. and it’s a good thing we didn’t come with a lawn mower, sprinkler systems, shovels, and expensive bikes because our shed was an aluminum shanty not suitable for housing anything except overly large spiders.
our shed did have doors at one point, but pierre (and the wind, on occasion) removed them before i could snap this pic. the doors didn’t really function anyways — they were more for decoration than anything, really. (keen observers will note that the right side of the shed roof is caved in.)
anyways, after a year and a half in the house, plastic balcony boxes and a broom turned into a snow shovel, a push mower, gardening tools, leaf bags, and a pickaxe. you just need different tools when you live in a house instead of an apartment, and the lean-to out back was the only place we had to haphazardly store it all. if you look again at this picture, you can probably understand why we decided to replace the shed this year. actually, we decided to replace it last year, but you know how these things go.
first things first, pierre totally tore it down. initially by carefully removing rusty screw after rusty screw, and then he said, “screw it.”
luckily for us, we didn’t even get the scrap metal out of our backyard before a long-haired gentleman wearing a black t-shirt with illustrations of snakes all over it — which also said “snakes” under the image — was asking us if he could help himself to the pieces. when you’re staring at a pile of rusted aluminum that’s three feet high, that’s probably the only time you’re thankful to see these types of people creeping along the side of your house.
as for the new shed, at first we were all “pour a cement pad” and “build it ourselves,” but by the time we could take this shed down (pierre has removed so many trees and bushes since april — mostly with a handsaw and sheer will), those grand intentions had turned to “keep those 1980s patio stones” and “totally hire someone to do this.”
it was a total breakthrough for us — you can pay people to do stuff to make your life easier!
i am definitely a do-it-yourself kind of girl. my free time is valuable, but my money is, too, so i don’t think i’m going to experience a total 180° and just start paying people to get all the house work done. but these last few days have been kind of wonderful — i go to work and discuss ways to partner with the wiggles and when i come home someone (not me!) has made progress on a job.
and what job might that be?
well, a few weeks ago our back neighbours approached us about a new fence. i like to think that it wasn’t a view of our in-progress yard or naked cooking that inspired the request, but it might have been. it hadn’t really occurred to us to replace the chain-link, to be honest. it had been hidden behind so many trees for so long, we weren’t even really aware that it was there. but considering the landscaping we’re planning on doing, we agreed it would be nice to have a new fence and some privacy.
we were all set to split the cost, but they insisted on paying because they didn’t want to compromise the style they’d already picked out. we figured anything they chose would likely to better than chain-link, and who’s ever said no to a free fence?
on tuesday, i came home and the chain-link was gone. but that tree that’s to the left of the random cast iron pole? that was kind of in the way of the new fence (as were two other trees a different neighbour’s property). they had already called toronto tree removal in to deal with the ones that were really in the way (not ours) and we said, why the hell not? $250 in an envelope and the tree magically disappeared the next day while i was not at home. it makes me cringe, thinking about all the hours pierre spent back there removing the two trees he did take out by hand, but it also makes me thankful, as his hard work obviously saved us hundreds of dollars.
today, while i was again blissfully not at home, fg fencing built a 5′ high with 1′ lattice pressure-treated wood fence. magic! it cost our neighbours around $7,000 to fence their property, but it cost us just $250 in tree removal and a few bottles of nice wine.
we have a lot more prep work to do before we build our new shed in a few weeks (more on that later), but it certainly feels good to be making some kind of impact in the backyard. back in april, i had envisioned warm summer evenings drinking wine on our back patio. now, i’m all about crisp fall afternoons drinking cider. worst case scenario, we’re making snow angels. no matter what, we’re going to have some fun back there before our second anniversary of being in the house arrives on december 15th.