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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rolling Rock and Digging It

Last Wednesday we pulled the utility trailer over to the Amana Colonies to attend a farm auction, looking to cross some items off our list of desired hardware and equipment. These are always interesting events and, as you can see, there was a definite demographic and dress code on display.

Here is some audio I recorded of the auctioneer at work, a rather wonderful sound.

Auction 7 November 2012 by American Nacre

The pressure washer and air compressor and elevated fuel tanks were too dear but we did come home with a small farm trailer. It has a tipping bed and removable side boards and a pin hitch to attach to the big tractor's drawbar. It has a bigger footprint than the utility trailer, so we scratched our heads for quite a while trying to figure out how we'd get it home, but eventually determined we could remove the side boards and flip the thing over to ride upside down.

We had the neighbor with the big dump truck deliver a load of road gravel (it was at first a much larger pile than shown here). Lobster Tail Trail drops steeply from Baby Grave down to Squeaky Tree and after pulling the culvert from the creek a couple weeks ago we'd got the big tractor stuck trying to get back up. It only took a little pull by the pickup to free it, but it was clear we needed a better surface on the slope.

And so on Thursday I spent the better part of the day applying and grading stone, lots of bucket and blade work. It was a bit of a trick to get a uniform depth and smooth surface on the complex curving slope, and with nothing but the tractor wheels for compaction. I'm satisfied with the result but the section is no less steep and we'll have to see how it fares in a big rain. Like the lane out to the road, it's probably something we'll have to touch up every year.

Alan applied the rest of the rock to the lane on Friday, filling potholes, scraping down the crown, and building up gravel-bare sections, all in anticipation of snowfalls to come. A thousand feet of lane, and we'd rather not be stranded at either end, or anywhere in between.

That left Friday's big task: building a swale behind the house to divert runoff away from the foundation.
This involved just about every aspect of landforming: surveying, tilling, setting grade lines, excavating, and shaping. Very satisfying work for a couple of civil engineer-types. Our dear, departed Dad would have loved being a part of it, and he's never far from my thoughts as we do this stuff.

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