Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trenching along the House to the Fence

With the monkey grass moved out of the way, we can continue the trenching along the side of the house, exposing the irrigation water supply line.


 We are concentrating just on the section from the Bay window to the gate.

 Using the jack hammer for a day, we have broken up most of the rock into pieces that we can remove.

Removing all this rock reveals a few more pieces that need to be removed, to get us to a clean trench, excavated down to bedrock.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Moving the Monkey Grass (again)

When the back deck was replaced, and expanded, there was a bed of monkey grass along the old deck.  I moved that to an area alongside the East wall of the garage. This was reported in a November 2003 blog posting. It's done reasonably well, except for a section where the garage roof creates an overhang, and the dirt underneath it gets no water.  I hope to fix that by moving the down-spout up to the top of the bed, right next to the fence, so that rain water, from the roof, is applied at the top of the slope and does everything in the bed as it flows downhill.  At the moment the down-spout is in the middle of the bed, so only half the bed benefits from any rain.

But in the meantime, we need to dig up most of this monkey grass to expose the irrigation water supply line so we can lower it to bedrock.  Since we don't want to just discard the monkey grass, I will transplant it again.

In theory this is just a temporary transplanting, until I can finish digging up this bed, Zone 2, and transplant the monkey grass back, but the list of tasks includes digging up the water supply line, and then digging down to bed rock, laying the water supply line on the bedrock, which requires changing the two zone controls (for Zone 2 and Zone 3), putting the telephone and cable lines in the conduit, finishing the pathway (which defines one edge of Zone 2, clearing out any remaining rock in Zone 2, filling it up with dirt, putting in new underground drip irrigation for Zone 2, and then putting the monkey grass back.  So it may be several months.

We started by putting it around the greenhouse, both on the East side

 behind the greenhouse, and along the West side.

 But this was not enough space, so we also used part of what is supposed to be the lawn alongside the walkway, since it had been dug up and had good dirt dumped there, at least until later.

We used some limestone blocks to define a lower edge of this area.

With favorable weather, we hope that this grass will do well, and we can put it into its final home once we finish Zone 2.

Foundation repair before the new Conduit

As we have been excavating to put in the conduit for the telephone and cable wiring, we have dug down next to the house to bed rock -- or at least something that seems like bedrock, a continuous sheet of limestone.

When we had the house built, we selected this area because it is rock.  Our previous house had been built on dirt and so it shifted as the dirt contracted and expanded with changes in the weather.  The idea was that at this location, we would have a solid foundation laid down on rock, and the house would be stable.

It appears this is not the case.  As I dig down, I can see that there is dirt, then a layer of large rocks, then a small layer of dirt, then a layer of smaller flattish rocks (shelf rock someone called it), another thin layer of dirt and then bedrock.  The foundation seems to be, at least at the edges, sitting on the large rocks, but there is still dirt and rock below that.

This continues from the corner of the house all along under the dining room and kitchen.   I dug out all the rock and as much of the dirt as could reasonably be removed.

In place of the dirt, it seems that concrete is a better choice.  So I used my standard wooden frames and poured concrete under the foundation along this section.  I used 21 80-pound bags of Quik-crete to fill this section in.

All of this will be underground, once it is finished, so the appearance is not the main issue.  We want to seal off the dirt and rock under the foundation, so that we don't have roots and water getting under there, making things unstable.

There is one more section, further up under the bay-window for the breakfast nook that I want to do also, but I have more excavation before I can do that.