Getting free bricks for patio

It’s not unusual for me to be tired at the end of the day, but for all of my kids to be so worn out they can hardly walk, is!  Since my six week old baby has been crying for over 5 hours, periodically stopping long enough to fall asleep for several minutes before waking up to cry again, I’m not feeling like sharing any meaningful thoughts :) (he’s in the wrap while I write), so I’ll share what we’ve been doing today to wear us all out.

Today we lucked into a large number of free bricks from someone who took down a brick wall.  It’s amazing how many bricks it takes to make a patio the size we want (about 350 sf)- we hauled one load, got home and realized we needed more.  We took out the second bench seat of the van, so we’d have room to bring even more bricks home with us.  We now have over 1000 very large bricks (not the standard size) – there’s now a huge pile in my yard –  and ds16 has informed me after doing the math that we need another 700.  Do you have any idea how many bricks this is, and how much work it is?   You’d probably have to spend an hour loading bricks to appreciate how much energy is involved. :)

The downside of the free bricks is that many of them have mortar on them that will have to be chipped off, but it’s pretty soft.  So while it’s a big job because of the number of bricks, it’s not laborious like chipping off hard cement.  While making a patio isn’t complicated, there are a several aspects to the job and it’s been hard to decide where to start first (dh doesn’t think it’s hard to decide – he’s very clear that I shouldn’t do it at all!).

I need to take apart the platform deck since it’s covering the area where the patio will be. But because the chain link fencing that has yet to be put up is taking up all the extra space in the garage, I don’t have anywhere to keep the deck boards we remove.  (I have a neighbor directly across the alley who is hyper vigilant about piles of wood and calls the zoning/environmental office to report people which results in fines, or I’d leave it neatly stacked against the back part of the yard for a couple of weeks.)  Without digging, there’s nowhere to put the gravel, and eventually, the bricks.

You might now be thinking, didn’t I say that I brought home gravel yesterday and bricks today?  Yes, and I’d have liked to have prepared the ground before bringing anything home, but didn’t know how long it would take until I found the supplies I wanted for free and didn’t want to dig up my yard and leave an ugly hole for an openended period of time.  I’m doing everything opposite how I think it would be most efficient to do it, but that’s the reality of working within the time frame of when the free supplies you want to get actualize.

I’m amazed by what hard workers my kids are – loading and then unloading the bricks is a hugely exhausting job.  But they just keep going and going and going, without complaining even a tiny bit.  They’ve actually been enjoying all of this work, and told me a few times we should do this kind of thing every day!  But that was before they finally ran down tonight, and were all happy to drag themselves into bed.

I was also really tired, so dinner was watermelon served in the back yard.  The littles played in their wading pool in the new swim suits that arrived today, and then ran over to the pea plants and helped themselves to fresh organic snow peas and garden peas.  Some of the older kids have complained about this practice, saying that the littles are snacking away our harvest. But I’m happy to have it and it’s a pleasure to watch them happily picking them.

Tomorrow afternoon dh wants to take the van to the mechanic for a check up and oil change, so whatever bricks or gravel I want to get will have to be gotten in the early afternoon. I need to summon up some enough energy to get more bricks, since I won’t be able to match them with what’s being sold at Home Depot if I need more, and if I don’t get these, then the patio will be smaller than planned.  Hopefully tonight I’ll get to bed before midnight so I have the necessary enthusiasm when I wake up! :)


6 thoughts on “Getting free bricks for patio

  1. Just in time. I always have a million questions for you and never am sure where to write them in a place that is relevant… I had a question for you and this post was very relevant to my question.

    So I see you make almost all food from scratch. Now I see that you are making a deck from scratch. What else do you make from scratch? Do you build any furniture from scrach? Sew your own things? Just curious in which other ways you can be self sufficient.

  2. Thanks, Yael, for the reminder and the nice thought!

    Mamamoomoo – we try to do what we can. If I want home improvements done, we pretty much do them ourselves – in addition to the deck and soon to be the patio, we’ve put in our kitchen, converted our attic to a bedroom/full bathroom, along with lots of smaller stuff. I don’t sew much because it’s cheaper to shop thrift stores or end of season sales. But if I wanted something and the option was spending money I didn’t have, I’d either find a way to make it myself or do without (an example would be the modest bathing suits I sewed for the girls – there was no way I was paying $80+ for each one!).

  3. Nice to hear from you, Meg – it’s been a while! Sure, I’ll be happy to share about the bathing suits in the next couple of days.

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