Thursday, August 18, 2011

Road-building

            The soil on the West Boulder is rich and deep – around the rocks.  It is rather silty, however, and gets pretty soft when it is wet.  I do my best to maintain a good sod cover to hold it in place, but it is subject to erosion in areas of high travel.
            The road from the barn down past the house has been reinforced with gravel, but a hundred years of use had taken their toll.  The level of the road was nearly a foot below the surrounding fields, and made a natural pathway for any runoff – and the runoff from our May deluge was an extreme event, leaving a gully where the road had been.
            All summer we have been detouring around the washouts, crossing in a few places where we had hauled in fill.  With a rented excavator and our newly-acquired dump truck we have been earnestly moving dirt from a couple of knobs that were in our way to fill the ruts in the road.

            The work has been going reasonably well, and we are encouraged at our progress.  There have been only a couple of minor set-backs: one blown tire and a bogged-down dumptruck – three times.
            The most expeditious way to fill the road is to straddle the rut and spread the load of fill while driving along.  But the truck is big, the ruts are uneven, and the steep sides of the washouts are unstable.

            We were able to extricate the truck without damage each time - with the help of the backhoe, and the road base built is now back up to grade.  There is plenty more work to be done in leveling the road and then topping it with gravel hauled out from town, but at least now we don’t have to worry any longer about loosing an animal or a vehicle in a pothole.  The next project is to extricate all the sediment that was deposited in the upper pond.

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