Reviewing My ‘Look Ahead’ Plans

Don’t you hate reminding yourself of resolutions made and forgotten? Yesterday, as a gloomy December began, I re-read a blog post I wrote in January.

I was looking ahead then to what I wanted to accomplish in 2014. There were loose ends I planned to tie up, and new projects I hoped to start.

I’m sad to say I didn’t manage to do even half of what I wanted.

Drops of water on the back sides of two leaves make an appealing sight on a gloomy day.
These rain-dropped leaves are neither loose ends nor signs of projects yet to begin. I just like the photograph. It appealed to me on a gloomy day.

 

I can point to things we did. They include finally completing The Aqueduct from its beginning point at the driveway to its end at Lake Massawippi. This year’s work involved rearranging the stone edging around the little pond above the boathouse, a relatively small change that made a big improvement. The stone steps now provide a solid frame for the plants they enclose — and an ideal place for friends to sit in the shade while children play nearby.

 

A shady spot for a sunny day.
Memories of summer: a shady spot on  a sunny day.

 

 

We repaired the foundation wall of the boathouse. We had to, in order to keep the 100+ year old building straight and solid. We also repaired the about-to-fall-apart-and-cause-a-disaster dam above it.

This is how the dam looked before repairs began. Old, crumbling, unsafe.
This is how the dam looked before repairs began. Old, crumbling, unsafe.

 

Since this dam created the final ‘tumble’ of The Aqueduct, we decided to use the same gabion baskets we’ve used elsewhere in the project. I’m delighted with the result. No doubt, building The Aqueduct was frustrating at times. It took months to find and correct leaks so that water was channeled through each part of The Aqueduct as we wanted it to be. But now that it is finished, I find the project immensely satisfying. It integrates the house and landscape more completely than I expected, even in my wildest dreams. The gabion basket dam is the right final touch.

 

Fieldstones in gabion baskets echo the fieldstones used in the stone walls that surround Glen Villa -- and that are part of its own foundation.
Fieldstones in gabion baskets echo the fieldstones used in the stone walls that surround Glen Villa and that form part of its foundation walls.

 

Over the summer months I tied up a loose end at The Skating Pond.  As planned, I re-worked the section above the boardwalk that slipped downhill every spring, adding rocks and plants that I hope will keep the earth in place. But this area is a constant work in progress. Whatever I do this year leads inevitably to something to be done next year. (And I love that it does.)

Two loose ends remain untied. In the lower garden and along the flagpole stream I planned to incorporate trimmed hedges and more gabion baskets to reinforce the ‘straight lines’ approach I began last year.

Slate gives a clean edge to the walkway that leads to The Lower Garden
Slate gives a clean edge to the walkway that leads to The Lower Garden

 

Time ran out for this project — it is a big undertaking that requires a lot of planning. It will be, or should be, or may be — time will tell which verb wins — the first job for next year.

The final loose end involves the copper ‘staircase’ at the China Terrace. It looked insubstantial from the start, and I’ve been meaning to correct this for more than a year.

 

Copper tubing outlines a 'staircase' that leads to an upper floor of this re-creation of Glen Villa Inn, destroyed by fire in 1909.
Copper tubing outlines a ‘staircase’ that leads to an upper floor of this re-creation of Glen Villa Inn, destroyed by fire in 1909.

 

Another month still remains in 2014. Can I tie up this last loose end before 2015 arrives? Maybe.

And if I do, will I berate myself for the projects that never began? No, I won’t. Instead I’ll promise myself to do them next year. And I’ll record the promise so that next year this time I can remind myself of what still waits to be done.

Isn’t it ever so?