* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A new home for the Babes

Wall 01Once upon a time, we had an ugly hillside (we actually had nothing but ugly hillsides everywhere).  Right outside our kitchen and main outside dining area, there was this ancient falling down chicken coop and nothing but wild irises all over the hillside. 

It was such an eyesore, I had such grand visions, we finally decided to realize those visions.

Wall 02
Preparing for something grand

Once we got the chicken coop torn down, I attempted to resculpture the hillside in anticipation of something more permanent.  Our lower steps went up halfway, made a jog, then continued up to the top level.  As none of our little garden areas are very big, I wanted to connect the upper level with the area outside our kitchen. 

With the chicken coop gone, everything was much more open, and I attempted to tame the hillside.  However, dirt hillsides grow weeds, and the hillsides then fall down once you try to pull the weeds out, so something a bit more permanently really needed to be done.

So we finally decided to tackle building a concrete block wall during the summer of 2011, which would form a nice backdrop for the Babes.  First I sculpted out in dirt what I thought I wanted, then we started cutting the hillside back for the wall.  It was exciting, although a lot of hard work.

Wall 03
Designing something grand
Wall 04
Starting construction of something grand

Then we started building the wall.  We got advice from our mason building our house extension so we didn't make any mistakes.  Because the hillside was so steep, we built a planter in front of the wall, meant to be the new home of the babes.  I created solid pedestals in the planter to prevent the weight of the Babes sinking them into the ground.

Wall 05
Should have stopped here
Wall 07
Ready to install the Babes
Wall 06
Making pedestals for the Babes

Didn't this turn out beautiful?  When we got it all finished, we were going to get our mason to stucco it to match the new walls and house he built.  Isn't this a wonderful backdrop for such gorgeous babes?  We were so thrilled with the results.

Wall 08
The Babes by day
Wall 09
The Babes by night

Wall 10
A side view
Wall 11
Designing new steps

Of course, I had to figure out how to turn the corner going up the steps, so I sculpted it all in dirt to figure out what I wanted the end result to be.

The finished product was going to be so cool, I was just so excited about this whole project, despite how much work it all was putting it in.

Wall 12
Learning rock work
Wall 13
All planted up
To finish off the side of the upper steps, I designed some stone planters and enlarged the existing stone steps.

I was so tired of this whole project, I then gave it a bit of a rest before carrying on with the next phase.

A year and a half later, we got an early Christmas present in 2012.  After days of heavy rain, which is so common here, we ended up with this:

Wall 14
Merry Christmas to us
Wall 15
More Merry Christmas

It only takes a tiny mistake to create disastrous results in our kind of climate and terrain.  We'll never really know just what we did wrong trying to do everything correctly or if we really didn't do anything wrong.  It doesn't matter, our joy was totally shattered.

Wall 16
Somewhere there are steps
Wall 17
A scene to just ignore ignore ignore

Not only was our beautiful wall gone, but who knew what condition the Babes were in?  We knew the Dreamer was broken, because we could see her, but we didn't know how badly, or what condition her two sisters were in.

So we became ostriches, we pretended nothing had happened, we didn't tell anybody (tell them what, nothing to tell), we totally ignored the whole area, we had no access to the also beautifully landscaped upper level (so of course the horrid massive weeds took back over), and we tried to just get on with our lives otherwise.

Keep in touch to discover when the next stage was and what it involved.


  1. This is just tragic to see! It was so beautiful and such so much really hard labor by you guys. Hillsides are so totally unpredictable and rain can be a blessing or a curse! We wish we had some here, we could use that sort of blessing.

  2. Wow, the wall was so beautiful. Such a lot of work, such a magnificent look, how horrible for you.


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