Archive for March, 2010


After days went by without any trench work, I was determined to get in a few hours of digging on Sunday.  With only a couple hours of sunlight left, I gathered some tools, headed over to the site, and started by cleaning any leaves and debris from the trench.  Hidden under some leaves was a mound of worms, huddled together, all snuggly and squishy.  As I looked under more leaves, I found more and more clumps of tangled worms.  I couldn’t stand the thought of accidentally chopping them to pieces with the mattock, so I ended up spending the next hour picking all the worms out of the trench.  I eventually moved hundreds of worms into our hugelkultur raised beds, but only after spending some quality time with them.

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I’ve been hoarding pieces of concrete like a raven with a nest full of tin foil.  Its been a great way to release all my pack rat urges, without having to feel any guilt.  There has been one nearby site in particular which has been the source of many truck loads of urbanite, most of it small enough to use in the rubble trench.  Yesterday Noel and I drove over and tried to scrape up some of the last of the gravel sized concrete scraps.

I have so many larger pieces of urbanite already, to use when building the stem wall, that Noel won’t go with me anymore when I keep finding new sources.  He thinks I have way too much already, but its just so hard now to drive by any rubble piles without hitting the brakes.  I make excuses to myself.  “But these pieces are just the right width!  Oh, these ones are old, when the quality of concrete was higher!  And the color of this concrete is just so nice…”

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I have to admit that I haven’t been able to devote as much time to the trench as I’ve wanted the last couple of weeks, but I have been able to get some good work in.  Here’s a picture of the current state of the rubble trench.  The part of the trench in the top left corner of the picture is 12 inches deep, and is sloping at about a 5 percent grade.

We have had some serious rains lately, and so far I’ve decided on not having any kind of roof, or tarp, covering the site.  So the site has been pretty muddy a lot of the time, and full of standing water some days.  But it hasn’t been too much of a problem yet, and it does make the digging easier, giving the mattock the ability to take out large chunks of earth with a single swing.  I’ve had the opportunity recently to help a friend of mine dig the foundation trench to his future cob house, and it was great to see and experience someone else’s building process.  He started roof first, and his site sits in contrast to mine with its dusty dryness.  There seems to be pros and cons to each.  His ground was rock hard, and much more difficult to dig.  But it was easier to maneuver around at times, and I did appreciate the ability to wear shoes without quickly having 5 inches of mud stuck to the soles.  I’ve been too annoyed with shoes at my place, and have been digging barefoot, except when I slip a croc onto my left foot when it’s time to shovel the clay out of the trench.  As I get into more grading work with the trench, though, I might decide to cover the site if some heavy rains are in the forecast.

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more snow…

I thought I lived in the south…

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