Monday, July 28, 2014

Curb appeal!

Did you know that you can recycle asphalt?

For a girl who is a reluctant user of petroleum products, this was welcome news. For a girl who's asphalt driveway was decades old, full of cracks, and sinking into a series of borderline-dangerous potholes, this was GREAT news!

I knew that I needed to replace my driveway. But acknowledging that fact was the home improvement equivalent of opening a can of worms. A can of very expensive worms. How would I tear the driveway up? What would I replace it with? How would the replacement deal with the wear and tear of winter and snowplows? What would I do with the massive amount of asphalt the project would displace?

I started my research by simply driving around town. Each street I turned down, I figured the ratio of paved driveways to dirt driveways. Admittedly math is not my strong suit, but let's just say that my very scientific research turned up that here in Kennebunkport, dirt driveways rule.

But even if I tore up all the asphalt, did I want to leave it at just dirt? Would that improve my curb appeal or downgrade it even further? What would this summer's visiting renters think?

With those questions in mind, I turned to nostalgia. I grew up in a house with a pea stone driveway. The sound of feet walking on the pea stone path to my front door always makes me remember my first home. The sound of tires on pea stone could only enhance that. I decided crushed stone was likely the way to go.

Then I turned to the Internet. RH Brown is located right down the road from my house. Their website confirmed that they sell both pea stone and loam (the loam for a new grassy area). A quick call informed me that they would also accept my old asphalt. And recycle it. For FREE.

And finally I turned to Boyfriend. He has muscles. I figured we were good to go.

Thank goodness for those muscles... and those of his helpful friends! The scope of the project was... intimidating.

And due to a terribly-timed herniated disc (or... perfectly timed?), I wasn't allowed to help. Although... I did pose for a photo anyway!

Like most Freedom Farm projects, the driveway project took place in phases. And things got a lot worse before they got better. Thank goodness for friends with tractors - the new 'friends with trucks'!

Or I guess I should really say 'thank goodness for friends with farms'... as we also took advantage of our friend's dump truck for a total of THREE full loads of asphalt down to RH Brown for recycling!

Once that was out of the way, we were ready to have our crushed stone and loam delivered.

I could not get over the size of that pile of dirt. Again, thank goodness for Boyfriend's muscles - and those of his friends - as they turned two huge piles into a whole new look for Freedom Farm.

Where there used to be asphalt there is a now a crushed stone driveway with space for three vehicles, a new lawn to separate the house from the road, and a crushed stone path to our sliding barn door.

No more asphalt and no more potholes. And thanks to the attention of our first summer tenants, our new grass is coming in beautifully.

Of course now that the project is officially wrapped up, my herniated disc is no longer considered surgical. I still can't decide if that was perfect or terrible timing - although Boyfriend would likely vote 'terrible'! I'm just excited to move back home this fall to an updated version of our barn, now with some curb appeal.

Oh, and in case you're curious... asphalt gets recycled into new roads. Seriously! Apparently the crushed asphalt kicks up less dirt than a traditional dirt road. I'm just relieved it did not end up in the landfill...

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