Sunday, May 31, 2009

More work on the Bamboo Grove

May, 2009

It's been raining the last two weekends, so it was hard to get much done outside. But this weekend was nice, so it was back to work!

I've got the cement wall poured from bedrock. The cement wall will all be underground. It took about 15 to 20 bags of Ready-Mix concrete, to pour the wall around the back half of the "Jungle". I dug out about 2 feet around it, down to bedrock. I went straight down from the previous stone edging, which allowed me to use the dirt on the Jungle side as one half of the forms. I used simple (cheap) masonite for the other side, with a 1x4 between them to keep the two sides apart. As I shoveled concrete in, I pulled out the 1x4. Let sit overnight, remove the masonite and it's done.

Now the problem is to put the stones back on top of it. I hired a day laborer with some masonry experience to do that, but, all in all, I think I could do as well. And it seems that the one row that he put on is too low, so I'll put another row on top of them. We were low on rocks, so I went to Custom Stone and got another 30 or so (Blanco chop). These were from Austin Custom Stone 400 pounds for $23.82. I've got those placed, but figure I'll put most of the dirt back in before doing the rest of the masonry.

So this weekend it was digging again. Try to go down to bedrock and get the smaller rocks out, and mix the dirt up with compose and leaves, so that it will be more organic and less rocky wasteland. Remember bedrock is only 9 to 12 inches down, so it's not a lot of digging. But it's rocky and rooty.

Another problem that I had forgotten about was the old sprinkler system. There are still PVC pipes for the old sprinkler system. I've taken out most of it, and will work on getting more, but there is at least one piece that goes from the current working area over to the far corner of the fence. I guess it will have to stay until this whole area is dug up.

There is a trench along the back fence that has telephone, cable and electrical lines in it. But that seems to be quite a ways down. They cut thru the limestone bedrock to trench it down at least 18 inches. I dug (carefully) into the trench at least 10 inches and found nothing. So this area should be clear of anything except roots and rocks and the occasional PVC sprinkler pipe.

I got two wheelbarrows full of rocks today, and a pile of dirt. My approach is effectively to dig a trench and then move it forward, putting the dirt behind me, pulling out the rocks (which go in the wheelbarrow) and the roots (which go into a plastic trash can to be taken to the curb for lawn waste recycling once a week).

At the moment I am digging in the Bamboo Grove itself, mainly because I have the opportunity to clean the dirt that is not yet overrun by the bamboo. This will probably take another 2 to 3 weeks of digging. Then I can do the same on the section that is next to it. This area is separated by the cement wall and stones that are to be at ground level (not an edging), to just contain the bamboo. Since this area is behind the Jungle, it's not visible from the house, so we will move the compost pile to this area when it is done.