Looking in from what we think is the back of our property.  This tree killed the septic system. Then died when it had to fend for itself. On the one hand we like that we don't have a septic system. Saved a chunk of money. On the other hand we have this dead tree. Dan tells us its actually kind of a cool tree. If it was alive. The wood is real hard.  Ann wants to trim it up and hang stuff in it. Kind of an art piece. Another scenario has a platform being constructed to improve the view of the valley. I can see a platform. I can see cocktails. I can see trips to the hospital...
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 This is taken from around the corner of the wall to the left in the previous picture.  Big rainfall night before. Note the natural drainage pattern is where we will leave a gap at the bottom of the new back wall that will be between the orange paint lines.
 Same shot after the footer has been dug and another big rain.  From this position to about two thirds of the way to the other end was unbelievably hard digging. Took 4 or 5 hours with a track mobile excavator to dig the trench. That was after we (meaning of course Haul N Otis) had already spent half a day or so removing brush.  Nothn's easy on "A" Mountain..
 Note the rebar.
 All rebared and ready for inspection. Passed with flying colors by the way.
 What a footer. They pumped A LOT of concreate into this bad boy.  Note while I was taking this picture, the barking dog who treats his chain link fence like a gate in the house behind us for which the wall is being built, was barking and snarling. He seemed to be staying put so I grabbed one of the ever present rocks, prepared to defend myself, snapped the picture and skedattled.
 Whole wall built in one day. You can just see the drain in the middle ground.
 Stepped a little further back the drainage for a water's eye view of the channel through our wall. At ground level and just to the left of the tree in the middle of the shot.
 Water's eye view after I did some hand grading to backfill the footings.  I added some "A" Mountain stone directly in front of the grate to presumably help prevent some erosion. Also built a little diversion from the wash towards the grate with big "A" Mountain stone to direct run-off into the wall.  Now for a rain to see if any of this works...
 This and the next picture are taken facing the opposite way from the previous picture looking into the back of the yard.  Will help to locate the gap at the bottom of the new wall will be located. Picture is taken looking up the natural drainage into our yard.
 Standing at the dead tree looking towards where the new wall will be. This is the area of where the gap at the bottom will go.
 All the vertical rebar is where there will be a lental so rain water can run through the back wall and into our yard. The rebar is 4 inches on center so only small critters can get through the gap. We'll fabricate a pinned cover on the inside of the wall to keep out small critters. The cover will hinge where it is pinned with high water flow.
 The (mostly) finished grate. The stack of blocks that make it look like two grates is in the foreground to hold-up the scaffolding
 Standing in more or less the same spot, looking down the wall to the South.
 Looking across towards Dan and Tony's. Notice the lush vegitation. Over at Dan and Tony's.
 Note the beginnings of a brush pile as Otis and Sonja removed 3 or 4  palo verde trees  that were dead on where the back wall will go off to the right in the picture.  I had only peripheral involvement with the removal and trim-up of various palo verde's around the site. But, I can attest they are prickly scratchy mean bastards.
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 Straight it. The brown thing at the right is the utility/storage shed. The putting of things on the roof is SOP in Tucson. 
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 Standing about where the bob cat was in the last shot.
 Moved up into the courtyard opening. Looking to the south towards DnT's  Note, there will be a post about a foot into the low wall and then another about a foot from the far end of the high wall. Ann's going to plant something in the nook created by the end of the bench and the low wall. This something sill grow up the post.
 Looking the other way.  There will the same arrangement of posts and something planted.
 As close as I could get to the back corner with Dan and Tony.
 This is actually a little further into the yard than the last picture.  The south pergola wall from the back yard perspective.
 Zoomed in to show the abandoned septic tank walls.
 Mo zoomed in to show how deep the footing is.
 Looking across the property the other way. Note the lush vegitation. Over at Al and Peggy's. Also note "A" Mountain in the background.
 The side yard. We're going to keep this pretty simple for storage since no real reason (we don't think) to come here much.  There will be some rain water harvesting tanks on each end of the house.
 The new metal fence between the house and the landscape wall will run about where the trash bin is located. We'll have a double gate so we can bring equipment into the back yard if necessary.  Maybe to build a pool if a benefactor steps-up...DP, SE, TW, here is your chance!
 The hole is for the grey water clean-out on the North side of the house.
 Across the back towards Dan and Tony's.
 House gone, patio gone. Note the prop pushing the wall up. There is also a cable firmly attached to an old sewer line pulling the wall up.  The electrical line is trying to pull the wall over onto the gas meter. Just a good situation all the way round!
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 The courtyard wall from the outside. This grade is a little closer to what it should be.
 Little further along the back of the house from the previous shot. I'm standing about where the board holding up the electrical wall was braced into the ground.  The pergola "gate", it won't be a gate at all, but an opening in the wall, will start about 2 feet from the house (to the right in the picture) and be about 4 feet wide.  The far wall of the footing will be removed so the ground level will be about 2 feet lower to match the back of the garage floor.  So, there will be stairs down about 2 feet to a flat area behind the garage. From there there will be some terracing down and around to the right where an arbor, gate, and probably some stepsover to DnTs.
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 Back all of garage footing ready for pour.
 Standing same spot, but looking into the courtyard. When we have house walls, won't be able to get this perspective.
 Standing same spot, but turned to the right a bit. This is the view from the back courtyard gate down to where the gate will be over to DnT's.
 Across the back looking away from Dan and Tony's.
 Further up the hill, but you can see the orange stakes the mark where the courtyard walls and pergola will be.  About where the cinder blocks are is where the gas grill will go.
 Looking out the back door. The two orange stakes define a 10 foot wide opening in the courtyard wall. The pergola will extend about 3 feet beyond the wall. There will be posts about where the stakes are.  To the left and right of the stakes will be benches built into the 3 foot tall wall
 Note things are a bit more open at the back of the lot to the left after the palo verde trees are gone.
 Gas meter is safe. This will be under the new pergola.
 Footing for South pergola wall. Note the grill will go about where the slab of concrete is standing up.  Also note how deep the footing is at the house end. To make the grade of the pergola patio and the grade behind the garage (to the left in this picture) we'll have to go real deep and excavate the soil to lower the grade on the left side of the footing (the garage side) about 2 feet. We'll add a couple of stairs where the "gate" will be out of the pergola to access the garage.  We knew this would be a big grade change but really could not sort until we started digging.  Also note some more the wall of the old septic tank just around the corner of the footing. The other wall has been covered in the rain, but is just at the right end of the footing trench. They'll jackhammer the walls to make room for the footing. Appears whomever replaced the septic did a nice job. It had been filled. The excavator was traming all over it and digging the footing before we realized what we (meaning of course the excavator crew) had encountered.
 Beginning to rebar. The block folks have prepositioned some blocks so they can start laying as soon as the footer is poured and cured a bit.
 Rebar ready for inspection...which it passed.
 Not THATs a by-god footing.  These baby's are wide. We'll have to play with grades so we can get some soil up over the footing and against the block.  The block by the way gets threaded over the rebar sticking up and grouted so the wall is solid.  Note the step in the footing. There will be steps down from right to left in the picture to transition from the grade of the rear courtyard (to the right) to the grade behind the garage (to the left). The steps will be in the vicinity of where the footing was left low so we could pour the steps after the wall is built.
 The beginnings of the north pergola wall. The footing will turn to the left about where the excavator is parked and extend to the left to be symetrical with the south footing.   Note this end of the house is pretty near the natural grade of "A" Mountain so digging real hard. What you see here took on the order of an hour.  Oh, that's the excavator.
 Beginnings of rebar.
 Rebar ready for inspection.
 Lot a lot of concrete. Lot a lot.  These footings will dry again tomorrow and block construction will start the day after.
 A back wall arises like a phoenix.
 Same shot from what will be the back door with walls.  Note the ground level needs to come up on the order of 12 to 18 inches.  To the left and right of the opening is a wall that will end-up being about 16 inches high above grade. Then the wall goes to 3 feet above grade. In front of the 3 foot high wall section is a bench.
 A little back into the house from the back door. Note the slab inside the stem wall is gone. The new pile is big hunks from the old slab. We'll use as much of this as we can to build little homeowner special walls around the place.
 This is further back again. Pretty much from the front door. 
 Back door looking a bit to the right.
 Looking a bit to the left
 All the way to the left. The opening is so we can get to the garage. Once the grade inside the courtyard is adjusted there will be steps down to the grade behind the back garage door.
 The downhill side of the wall that will turn into a retaining wall. The sandy soil finally held after a lot of augmentation and mixing.
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 Our dead tree.
 The tree's dead, but it's the only thing left standing!
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 This shot may become more interesting. This side of the garage will be for utilities. There will also me rain water harvesting tanks on each end of the house.
 Looking up from Dan and Tony's
 This is little further up the hill, but note the removed plants.
 What a difference!
 Note how much lower the garage grade is.
 Note the grade change between the pergola patio to the left and the back of the garage. There will be some steps poured that we should have, but did not anticipate. 
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 Standing a little closer in. This is the form at the back wall of the garage.
 The back door of the garage goes between the two bolts sticking up out of the concrete. The grade here needs to come up be more or less even with the top of the slab. We'll have to figure out how to deal with the right corner as the grade drops back down to more or less where it is now.
 This is taken from where the steps up from DnT's will be. Note the grade difference between what will be the pergola off the back of the house
 Little zoomed in. After the footing trenches are dug, the forms and rebar installed, and the concrete is poured, the dirt "wall" will will be a proper concrete retaining wall. The garage slab, footings, and retaining wall will be installed as a monolithic pour. All the concrete will be poured at the same time so the whole structure is one piece.
 The form for the south side of the garage retaining wall.   The garage floor and the retaining wall will be what they call a monolithic slab. It will be poured at one time so one piece of concrete...with a LOT of rebar. The garage wall will begin at the level of the top of this form. The slab itself will slope down so the near corner will be the high point. The slab will lose about 4 inches as it flows to the west (to the right in this picture).
 Looking up from Dan and Tony's. Somewhere in here will be some stairs between the two places and a rusting (on purpose) metal fence.  The door is an illusion. It exists, just no keys.
 Note the square piles in the foreground. These are the footings for the carport pillars.  If you look carefully, they are a loosely cemented pile of cinder blocks just set on bare dirt (fill I might add, the whole side of the yard where the carport was is just fill). Then on the top (the part you could see before we dug them up) is a nicely poured and formed concrete pad about 4 inches thick!  Every time we've decided to tear something down, it seems like the right thing to have done
 Note just how deep these footings are. The final grade of the garage floor will be about what it is back at the stem wall for the existing slab. There is quite a bit of fill to put in towards the camera after they get the forms built.
 Look at all the bracing ready to hold up all the concrete that will go into the monolithic pour. Some of the braces have turn-buckles in them so they can adjust the plumb of the wall as it takes weight.
 Little closer in, but this is the wall that resulted from the form in the last picture. They are wetting and covering it with plastic to retard the curing a bit.   You can see bolts at intervals the garage wall will bolt down to these.
 From the pergola to the gate into DnT's. The block guys rebuild the existing wall and add one course in height. Eventually will will install a 3 foot high metal trellis to the top of the blocks. The Brain Trust will grow stuff on the trellis. There will also be an arbor over the gate.
 This gap in the wall has been left for rain water to flow through our yard and into DnT's
 Standing in the rainwater gap looking to the east. Eventually the chain link fence will come out.  If you look carefully, the blocks are "grouted" by pouring a loose cement into the holes. After it settles and drys, they will come back and finish the top of the wall smooth and flat. You can't see them, but everywhere we will have a post for the trellis fence they have installed a threaded bolt to which the fence will be attached.
 Looking the other way from the east end of the wall. A 6 foot (or so) tall metal fence will begin at the end of the block retaining wall and come to about where I am standing. At about the plants in the foreground the fence will tee. One section will go to the left towards DnT's. The other will continue to about where I am standing. At that point, it will turn to the right and go up the hill to the garage.
 Blocks prepositioned in the south west corner. We'll build the retaining wall up to screen the power power guy wire. The retaining wall will then tie into the back 6 foot high wall.
 The retaining wall steps. The metal trellis will come across the opening onto the low section and end where the wall abruptly steps up and stays level.  Then the stair step be end-up as high as the highest single block. The west (right) end of the retain wall has been left stepped so the block can be laid to interlace with the back wall as it is laid.
 This actually looks shady. It's about 3:30 on a blisteringly hot day. Note the new back wall in the distance.
 Walls and piles
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