I apologize for not posting anything in such a long time. It's an odd combination of having so much to do, but none of it was worth blogging about.
It's shedding season and the two wolfdogs are shedding big clumps of wool all over the place, inside and out. We never did get around to shaving them this year, because spring came so late. Sometimes we pull the clumps out of them, the ones that are ready to come out on their own. In just a few minutes there is a pile of wolf fur that's bigger than a whole cat. Other clumps come out without any pulling and there's always a trail of wolf fur all over the place. I try to pick it up daily.
It's also monsoon season, when we get rain nearly every afternoon. Sometimes the showers are strong and brief; other times they're slow, steady soaking rains that last for a couple of hours or more.
Any kind of rain wreaked havoc on the rear courtyard, where the dogs spend their time when they're not indoors. They like to gather by the iron gate so they can see out and watch the goings on. So a low spot developed there and any rain would create a deep and large mud puddle. It would stay there for days because there was no drainage under or through the gate. Four dogs (16 paws) plus mud puddles and/or mud plus light-colored carpet equals disaster!
So last Saturday (a week ago today), I started tackling the problem while Ron tackled the problems with his computer (he installed a new motherboard, new hard drive, and new operating system - Vista), but it was much harder than I thought it would be. I dug dirt out from directly underneath the iron gate, to create a place for the water to go, and hauled a couple of wheelbarrows of dirt to the low spot. Then I ran out of steam.
On Sunday, with his computer working properly again, Ron and I worked together and it only took a couple of hours to finish the job. Ron shoveled dirt from the dirt pile into the wheelbarrow and I rolled the wheelbarrow around and dumped the dirt in the low area. That way each of us could rest while the other worked. After 15 or so loads, we took a well-deserved break, and went inside to cool off and drink Gatorade. Then we went back to work. I smoothed out the fill dirt, creating a slightly mounded area while Ron dug a small trench on either side of the mounded area and going underneath the gate and continuing for a few feet on the other side of the gate.
Then we went inside and sat back, waiting for the regular afternoon rainstorm. Except it didn't come!
Finally it rained overnight, nearly half an inch (which doesn't sound like much, but is a lot for around here) and no mud puddle. Success! We've had more rain since then, of course, and the drainage continues to work! The dirt is muddy for a little while, but quickly dries up since there's no puddle of standing water. And no puddle of standing water also means far fewer mosquitoes.