We have a little stand of trees off to the side of our house where we had a hammock (before the ranch cows and horses turned it into a ball of twine) that we are going to morph into our outdoor eating area. We're going to spend about 30 minutes on it in the evenings (as a way to get us outside and exercising too). Cameron had previously trimmed off some of the dead branches, and they were in piles under the trees. There was the tangled up remains of the hammock. There's ground gunk (weeds, sticks, rocks, etc) to be cleared. There's planning to figure out how to make it work with the occasional ranch animal visitor. It'll take some time and a lot of work, but we can do it and we're really excited about it.
This page will track our progress as we work on the patio (I don't really know what to call it...it's not really a patio, but that's what we're calling it).
The "Before" Pictures
Looking down the dirt steps to the patio area:
The steps, looking down:
The steps looking up:
The stand of trees (and the hammock mess under the tree to the left) with the pruning piles.
Cameron in the tree cutting out the dead branches (to clear space under the tree and to promote growth in the live branches).
All the pruning piles hauled off, the dead branches gone, and the hammock mess cleaned up (It's looking better already!):
We spent what daylight was left when we got home gathering all the flat rocks we could see. We're going to use them to at least line the steps, but if we can gather enough we'll do the whole patio "floor" (the space between the trees). Here's our first gathering of rocks, which took us about 20-30 minutes. We have many more days ahead of collecting rocks if we want to do the whole floor, but it was encouraging to see how quickly we gathered that pile. The only problem...we're finding most of the really close rocks, we'll have to haul them further and further as we go. Oh well. It'll add to the adventure.