Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The rain in drains flows mainly to the plains

Or at least now it does.

Recently as I posted wide shots for Heather at Xericstyle's monthly meme, I shared the shot below, where you can just see a rock strip on the far right that represents the terminal portion of a French Drain The Hub recently installed.  

To follow, a closer look.  It may look simple, but this was a complicated and extended project. Because it was the product of The Hub's way of working, this French Drain installation took quite the long while.  More on that in a moment.
Scenes like the following were commonplace for weeks.
Me:  "Honey, I've been calling and calling, dinner's ready.  What are you doing out here?".
Hub:  "Thinking"
Me:  "About what, dinner's ready!?"

As I would follow him back into the house The Hub would launch into a several minute long description of the varying advantages and disadvantages of different drain tube configurations, rock versus rock and gravel combinations, and how important it was going to be to incorporate...at which point I'd stop actively listening. 

The Hub was In Process.  He was going to mull over and plan and then execute this job in just the way he wanted (The Right Way, in case you're interested).  He was thinking out loud.  He would ask me for my help specifically if he wanted that, but he was certainly not asking for my opinion.  
Terminus of the drain 
You see, the Hub and I work differently. Very differently. He is a deliberater, a planner.  At times, he is even an inventor.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Rock Sifter (patent not pending). 

Me? When it comes to our outside spaces at least, I am more a grab the shovel and let's go and I'll problem solve when I get there, type.  Rather than avoid difficulties up front I usually figure I'll just learn from my mistakes.  As many times as it takes.

As the years of marriage accumulate, I've made my peace with the idea that The Hub and I are at almost opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of how we approach projects. Slowly, painfully at times, I realized our differences are not necessarily a negative.  As a matter of fact, between us, there's almost nothing we can't get done once we set our (different) minds to it.

And don't get me wrong. It is by no means me doing all the putting up with.  The Hub may currently get twitchy every time he sees me working in certain areas with a shovel but he can be readily forgiven for doing so. Though I do try to be very careful, rarely, and the initial excavation for the French Drain was one of those times, me and my shovel wreak absolute havoc. 

Because when The Hub first told me about what he was thinking about doing, I immediately jumped in to "help" by personally digging out a trench he said he'd need through the flower bed at the far end of his proposed Grand Coulee Ditch.  

I was dead certain it would be better if I cleared those spaces, since the flowers that had to be dug out were flowers I'd planted.  No resentment allowed, because I put them in and I'd be the one taking them out. So I didn't think. I just dug. And, in so digging? Me and my helpful shovel broke the sprinkler wire.  
In three different places.

Anyway, it is a ditch accompli now!  A thing of beauty and a joy forever, top to bottom.  Looking at how it ends and beyond, what you see represents several different jobs overall, and I'll leave you to guess which ones were The Hub's (think:straight lines and clean edges) and which ones fell under my purview (all the squiggly stuff, though I prefer to think of it as "organic").

That deceptively simple looking stretch of rock, our French Drain Extraordinare, is absolutely a triumph of man, my man, over matter. It is a master work, and because I helped, it represents the best of both our worlds. Weeks of thinking, days of digging, hours of rock hauling, minutes of hose wrangling, and yes, just a wee bit of sprinkler system wire reattachment.  


Tina said...

Isn't marriage grand? Sounds like you're a good pair. The "all hands on deck, let's do this!" combined with the "Hold on. Let's just think about this for a minute." can be a great strategy when it comes to home projects.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Marriage is the best bet in town, no question about that. Our differing approaches balance out AND leads to some griping, both. We are both gripers...and occasionally...mutterers.

I certainly could not be the gardener I am without the ongoing help of The Hub. And I am reminded today to remind him of that, and thank him! So thank you!

Tina said...

Ha! Mutterers. It's good to have a Hub who supports and augments your Garden Girl projects--I'm lucky to have the same. He always grins when I say, "I've been thinking about something...".

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Grinning as initial response to the Thinking Statement is awesome. Bee Daddy sounds like a keeper!

Debra said...

Great balance in your partnership. I wish I was a bit more like your husband. The permaculture people have a list of principles they collected to guide decisions and problem solving and the very first one is "Observe and interact." Some of them have been known to say a person should live in a place for a year and just wander around looking and thinking before doing anything. I don't think they are necessarily suggesting that making a mistake is a problem but that it takes time and focus to enter that flow state where you can find the good and creative solutions. The drain looks beautiful and like it is supposed to be part of the landscape.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: I'm trying to respect our differences and do less chafing, more appreciating. This post was a part of that effort.

I've read up on permaculture and feel their principles have much to offer. Yet I continue to leap into action, often making serial errors. Apparently there are lessons I must learn multiple times, the hard way. I am nothing if not stubborn.

The drain is a thing of absolute beauty and has easily handled the heaviest rains on offer so far. Not that we have that many but when they come, oh brother!