Rocks, cement blocks, huge tree stumps, pesky moles, and lots of weeds. These are some of the challenges that Bryan has faced in trying to improve our yard over the past two years since we moved here. In Japan, it’s very common to have no yard or a very small one. At our old house we had a tiny strip of gravel to call our yard, but at our new place we have a much larger plot of land around our house (though it is still a very small yard by American standards). However, just as the house has needed quite a few improvements, the yard has been a bit of a fixer-upper as well. According to neighbors, before we moved here the yard was a total jungle. In order to make the place more attractive to renters, lots of the foliage and jungle-like aspects of the yard were removed, but it was still just a weed patch with moles when we moved in. My wonderful do-it-yourself husband has turned the weed patch into a nice lawn, created a small vegetable garden space, built an outdoor storage shed, and created a lighted pathway with stepping stones. We still have some rubble left to remove (which is not simple in Japan because you can’t just throw it away), but the yard has improved tremendously since Bryan started working on it. The kids love having their own patch of grass to lie down on or play around on and they have become very enthusiastic gardeners and weed pullers. Here are a few before and after photos of our outdoor living space.
As I mentioned in my last post, Bryan’s dad came to Japan for a few days to help Bryan and some of our co-workers build a new wall where we meet for church. Before this project, Bryan and I had just taken walls for granted and not thought about them too much, but now we realize that they are A LOT OF WORK TO BUILD!! Bryan is actually very good at using tools and he enjoys fixing things, so (though the project has taken a lot of time and muscle power) he has enjoyed the chance to build something with his hands and to learn all the ins and outs of what it takes to build a wall. He’s also learned lots of new Japanese vocabulary words related to his project. It has been especially fun for Bryan to be able to work on this project with his Dad and also with our co-workers Alan and TJ. Unfortunately, they were not able to finish the whole wall while Bryan’s Dad was here, but they made good progress and learned a lot of skills that will help them to finish the rest of the wall more quickly (we hope!) 🙂 One day the kids and I stopped by to see the construction project in progress and Grandpa let the boys help with mixing morter and scooping it into the holes inside the blocks. Austin and Ethan LOVED getting to help with the building project and they were very sad when we had to leave to put Katie down for a nap. 🙂 Here are some photos of the project.