Friday, June 04, 2010

Landscaping and "The Evergreen".

The unusually warm and dry spring provided an opportunity to get an early start on this year's outdoor projects. On the agenda is to remove the concrete foundation from the 2nd barn we deconstructed last year, move the fire pit, build some nice pathways between the remaining buildings, install some 'temporary' storage (and I use that term loosely), and finally deconstruct the dilapitated garage structure. Here's what the situation looked like in April: We hired Dan the landscaper for a day to do the bullwork with his Bobcat, and I helped out with the ground work and generally leaned on a shovel for most of the time.
We decided to dig a hole under the foundation and bury the old concrete on-site, rather than adding it to the local landfill. It was a pleasure to watch him work, tossing around big concrete boulders with surgeon-like a few hours the site was leveled off as if nothing had even been there.
I also had him skim away the sod and topsoil to form pathways across the yard. We piled up the topsoil for later use in the gardens, then replaced the material with gravel fill dug out of the foundation site. Then he drove away with his big machines- with a tear in my eye, I set out to finish the rest with a shovel, wheelbarrow, and several tons of stone.
But first, we had a 40 foot steel shipping container delivered (one benefit of America's pathetic trade deficit is an over-abundance of these huge shipping a big THANK YOU to Walmart for ours). It was plopped down behind the soon-to-be-deconstructed garage and in a matter of 15 minutes we had a 300 square foot water-tight, critter-proof building! This will satisfy our storage/workshop needs, and provide a solid surface for mounting the solar thermal panels this summer. Our container had the fitting "Evergreen" logo on it, so we named it "The Evergreen" (Lisa gave it an alternate name- the "Tunnel of Death", after we quickly discovered that it could double as a pizza oven inside on a hot, sunny day!).
Back to dirty work, I started laying down field stone around the house and along the pathways, then infilled with mulch and pea-rock.
One of the pathways passes by the entry doors to the shipping container, so I built up a little ramp for easy access. I also moved the pathway light posts to the new pathways and buried the low-voltage lines under the fieldstones. Here's a pic of the almost-finished paths between house, barn and shipping container:
Another shot, taken from the barn side of the yard:

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