October and November 2009
It's been dry now a couple of weekends and I've been able to get out there and dig. I've turned the corner of the fence and started digging along the back stretch. The bedrock is somewhat less smooth here. Part of it is the utility trench. When the development was put in, all the utilities -- electrical, telephone, and cable -- were put underground. Apparently code says they should be 16 to 18 inches below ground level. Of course, as we've seen, bedrock is only 4 to 8 inches below ground level.
So they brought in a rock saw and cut a trench into the rock and put the cables in that. The chewed up rock was just dumped along side the trench and then dirt put over the whole bunch. I take off the dirt, then I'm putting the rock debris into compost and mulch plastic bags. In the short term I will use them like sandbags to hold the cement forms when I pour the cement wall, and then I'll haul them off.
I actually dug deep enough to find the cables near the corner. In the actual corner the rock formation is very different. It goes very deep in dirt. I wasn't able to find the underlying rock. But I did uncover the cables. They are in a big (probably 4 inch diameter) grey PVC pipe. Which is good, since it probably would not be good for me to break into a high voltage power line.
Having gone as deep as I figured I have any reason going, I continued on along the fence. Pretty standard digging, except for a strange notch in the bedrock. It's too rectangular to be natural, so I guess someone did this when the trench was put in.
All this digging has produces a big pile of dirt, but I think I'm just a couple (digging) days from finishing the excavation, so I should have enough room. Once I get the wall poured, I can put it all back (and more!).
I used some of the ground up limestone from when they cut the trench to cover over the electrical pipe, and fill in the corner to a level.
So, a bit more digging, then I can start framing for the concrete work. And I need to get rocks to put on top of the concrete, to make it a bit more "natural", so it will match the other exposed rock walls. I may be able to finish before Christmas. Depending on the weather, of course.