Feeling better and dressed for the weather, we set out to install the first set of our benches in the amphitheater area. With the bases secured into the underside of the flitch*, they were ready to be anchored in the ground. With the holes dug, our first sample is ready to be set in place.
Deep Holes for stability.
Pictures for proof! Holes are 24″ deep. Cool how they put a ruler on the handles of the post hole digger.
A good level foundation.
A peek underneath. J-bolts will be the anchors, nutted on both sides.
Hand mixin’ and fillin’.
On the level.
With bit of slope for water runoff…
Filling up the sonotube with concrete and anchoring the bolts.
Filled to the brim with a nice smooth top.
A closer look with dirt and mulch filled in around the tubes.
First bench in the ground! We gave it the extra protection to make sure that it wasn’t moved while it cured.
Yes, I even do some work! I’m pre-drilling the underside of the flitch to prepare to install the powder-coated steel bases.
Yes, I’m a bit goofy “sometimes”. All about having fun while you work.
Native Plant Garden Signs!
It’s been a long time since we first conceived this idea. Fun it’s happening. This shows where the post base for the Salmonberry sign will go. The steel plug on top is to use as a driver to set the bases in the ground without bending the steel as you whack it with a sledgehammer.
Once in the ground, the bases were masked off with a scrap of landscape construction fabric.
I painted the bases green so they’d blend in more with the natural surroundings.
Fast-forward. Here is a view of some of the signs in place in our Native Plant Garden.
This space used to be covered with invasive species that our volunteers have cleared out over the years. A mulch trail leads through the mitigation site that we have transformed into our public garden.
The signs also offer interpretation for Invasive Species. We show examples of Himalayan Blackberry, English Ivy, and English Holly. These areas have all been cleared of these over the years and some samples will remain for education (and eating- not the ivy or holly berries). Also of note: this space is where the former trail alignment used to be for access to the Hundred Acre Wood from Fairhaven Park.
Back to Bench #2!
While I was putting in the sign bases, Chris was working to get the structure in place to hold up the larger benches. Simple yet efficient.
Yes, it was February and we were working in classic Northwest weather.
With the second bench poured, we placed the third bench gingerly in place.
Yes, there is intention to the alignment of the benches, the wall and the rest of the amphitheater. It’s all about the experience- for the children, of course.
Coach Jen Gallant (orange coat and consistent smile) brought bunches of YMCA Trailblazers by throughout the week to help us with our invasive species removal. We have the aforementioned plants that are displayed on our signs, as well as nasty English Hawthorne to put in distinct compost piles for onsite decomposition.
Here’s some pics from one of their days of service:
The main group of kids responded to my question, “Who wants to get some aggression out?” and set out to rip the roots of Holly up from the moist ground. Others paired up with tools to trim branches into bite size pieces.
The aggressive group that set out after the roots showed a great sense of collective pride when they hoisted their trophy!! Coach Jen told me that the next day, one of the kids asked if they could take their root ball home! Love these Happy Hippy Hamsters!!
The Group Shot! The kids gathered together after a trial run on our new Adventure Rock Trail. Rockstars!!
Yes! What a week. The benches were a milestone and it was fun having the Trailblazers help for the week. And fun to see them engage with the Adventure Trail!
On to Week Eight…
*flitch – my favorite new vocabulary word for this project. Flitch as a slab of bacon too…mmmm, bacon.
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.