This is the excavation-site as it stands today. Dug-out, and stones in production. It is taking a long time. Mixing 80lb bags of concrete by hand is a workout. But this is the way I want it done so it'll just have to be that way--apologies for all the contractions.
Now this is the tree in question. It is a maple that dominates this expanse of turf and it's a mean-spirited bastard. But we have maintained a truce for a spell, and the worst part is over, the war of the roots. To me, after all the root-canal work I did on it, it looks like it stands up a little straighter.
These are the slate slabs that were down before the project started. I washed some off to see if I could use them as part of the scheme but they looked butt-ugly down in the dirt. I want to use them because they are awesome, and I'm thinking of a walkway around the right side of my house.
This is the last root I dug out. I was expecting to work on leveling that day, but I discovered this instead. It took me half-an-hour to extract it, and when I was working my neighbor came by and wondered what I was doing. I must have looked like a Scottish blackguard in the indigenous rain forest as I explained the project. She asks about it now, which is good, the more people who ask, the more I'll keep going, because of my fear of public shame. So, keep asking about the multi-month backyard project.
Oh, and speaking of roots, here is the extent of them.
This is what one of the paving stones look like.