In the centre of the living room inside my childhood home, a heavy 70′s era fake colonial-style coffee table sat on top of a grass green shag rug. It was a behemoth of a thing, all dangerous sharp corners and rock hard, pressboard edges. Its matching end tables were equally large and bevelled, and together, in a small room unsuited for their girth, they formed a perilous minefield on which my energetic little brother cracked his skull at least a thousand times.
It’s that time of year. Let’s do this!
Yee Olde Merry Basket of Preserves: A basket or box (tip: I look for good quality ones at thrift stores throughout the year), some tissue paper, a few jars of dried herbs and fruit, pickles, jam, ketchup, etc and you’ve got yourself a gift that anyone who eats food (as-in all of us) will enjoy. I give some version of this gift so often that some friends just flat out tell me what they want ahead of time. This is fine by me as it saves the guesswork.
Nothing should ever be touched with one’s fingers. This was one of the principles behind Victorian dining etiquette and it resulted in a plethora of highly specialized utensils and serving pieces, including the Tomato Server, a decorative slotted/pierced spoon designed specifically for serving slices of fresh tomatoes.
Think on that a moment. Someone invented a spoon whose sole purpose is to transfer a tomato slice from a serving dish to your plate. Victorians were kind-of bonkers.
How to Make and Lay the Pathway
Step 1: Define the Path
I began this project two years ago so my path was already defined. To do that I laid down twine, and tied the ends to twigs to hold it in place. Some people use a hose to accomplish this, but I prefer twine because I can leave it in place and live with it for some time before committing to the final layout and pathway width.
When I moved in, the yard I inherited was barely more than a lumpy patch of “grass.” My theory is that the yard was once a vegetable garden that was left to go fallow and was eventually seeded without being levelled. It was extremely sloped in multiple directions, and full of large lumps and even larger potholes that I often tripped in while trying to walk across. Our goal for the space was to remove all of the lumpy “grass” and level the sloped yard as best we could to improve drainage. Digging it all by hand, shifting the soil, and building raised beds along the west side (where it is lowest) in addition to getting plants in on time, sowing seed, building a compost bin, etc was, quite simply, enough for one year. As a compromise, we made a pathway halfway up and left a small patch of “grass” at the back. In the second year we decided to change things up, extending the garden in front and moving the main entrance to the right. I also marked out new paths and smaller beds on the east side of the garden. By the time that was done, I was simply too tired to tackle that patch of “grass.”
This spring, as soon as the ground was workable, Davin and I were out there nearly everyday working away at that patch, digging it up a few inches at a time. We were determined that this would be the year that we would finally get it all out — no more hand-clipping the tenacious, miss-matched patch of this and that. No more stumbling and tripping in the potholes.
And we did it! Last Friday we got it all out and laid down a layer of mulch in its place. The following (broken down into two parts) are the ins-and-outs to how we did it.