Monday, June 18, 2012

Neighborhood Mailbox Project - Part One

Last Saturday was a bright and beautiful day - perfect weather for our neighborhood project.  There are 31 houses in our neighborhood.  Our street is a "lollipop" street.  The first section is straight and there is a circle around the top.  At the time these houses were built, the post office in our town was adopting a system of centralized mailboxes.  Instead of individual boxes at each driveway, we have a large set of boxes located at the base of the circle.

When we first moved here, there was a single bank of mailboxes.  About 8 or 9 years ago new boxes were installed with larger package lockers at the bottom.  My husband and another neighbor remade the existing "mailbox house" to accommodate the larger boxes.  Over the years, it has suffered from weather and the occasional bump by a snowplow.

Carpenter bees had found a home in one of the upper boards.

The boards at the base were starting to rot and the entire structure was slipping off the base pieces of pressure treated lumber.

The land directly behind the mailbox house is a detention basin for storm overflow and drainage.  We all chipped in for some landscaping along the edges several years ago and everything had gotten very overgrown.  It was getting very hard to see if anyone was coming down the other side of the circle when driving out of the neighborhood.

It was time for a neighborhood work party to sort out the mess!  Our neighbor Michelle and my husband put together a plan for the repairs and cleanup.  Some people who couldn't help that day gave donations to help cover the cost of materials (wood, paint, mulch, etc.).

The original plantings were still there and had gotten a little wild.  The tree branches were far too low and the bench was nearly invisible behind tall weeds.

The path was completely overgrown (you can see one stepping stone at the left of this photo) and the plants were overlapping and untidy with weeds growing along the curb.

While lots of people were busy weeding, removing overgrown shrubbery and mulching, my husband worked on cutting new boards to repair the mailbox house.  The next step was lots of spackling and sanding.

There were jobs for everyone - even the younger children (supervised by middle school neighbors) could pitch in and help.

Claire (not quite three) enjoyed sanding the boards.

We had snacks and cold drinks set up in the driveway directly across from the mailboxes.  These neighbors also supplied electricity and water for the work.

Popsicle snacks were very much appreciated by the younger set!

In a few short hours we went from this... this!  The green paint is a nice change from the old cream color and contrasts nicely with the trim.

The path was restored, weeds were pulled and mulch added to try to keep the weeds away.

The shrubs were cut back and lots of weed trees and low hanging branches came down.  Now we can see through to the other side of the street.

One of the prettiest discoveries of the day was these flowers.  They are from the catalpa tree but usually are too high to enjoy.

We removed all of the weeds that were growing up at the curb.

With the low hanging branches gone and the beds and paths cleared we can enjoy the bench - someone mentioned that all we need now is a recycling bin so we could go through and get rid of the junk before we take the mail home.

When the work was done, a ride home in the wagon was appreciated by the smallest helpers.

I had one last finishing touch to complete the project - the details are in "Part Two."

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