Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Stone Wall

We woke up to a fallen tree on Mother's Day. Fortunately, it didn't hit anything of value. The rocks don't look new anymore, so we may need to replace some of them so they all look factory fresh. The tree came within three feet of a Miata and Benson's bike, and about five feet from Andy's WRX. Too close! Andy and Mindy heard the tree fall during the night, but Andy figured "Meh, it didn't hit the house. I'll look at it in the morning."
You can see why it fell from this picture that Karen took. There were a few contributing factors, actually. We cut down a lot of the trees that used to surround and protect it, so the maple was exposed to more wind than it had been used to. Also, it had grown in a tough spot on top of a ridge of rock, and very close to an even higher ridge. The roots had about a foot of spread toward the West, and everything else was in a North/South/East direction. When the wind came from the West, the uneven roots acted like a hinge, and the 120 year old tree just flopped right over. There is a massive cherry tree in the foreground that we may take down proactively for the same reason. We have heard that cherry roots extend with more depth and strength than maple roots do, so we haven't totally made up our minds. It would be a shame to take it down.
One more view of the fallen tree. An unusual activity for us on a Sunday morning!
We chose a spot for the chicken coop this week, and Andy has dug away some earth and placed some footings in the ground. 18" of packed gravel, and then the cinderblock should provide adequate support for the coop. It will be 8'x12', with transom windows, an entry for people, and an entry for the birds. We will have them in a run at first, but once they are accustomed to returning to the coop every night, we hope to let them run free range. Piper should keep any potential predators away, and as long as she doesn't develop a taste for nuggets and wings, we hope to keep a happy flock.
Eli is wearing his "I love chicks" shirt, which seems appropriate.
The cavalry has arrived! The stones and boulders that we can't move with our tractor are just a warm-up to big machines like this.
Lots of work has gone into gathering all the rocks, and with them all displayed around the yard, it is easy to pick from the group and make a decent-looking wall. I know it's New England, and we shouldn't be surprised.... but we have so much stone!
A little further along.
I hope Eli has learned not to take the keys this time...
More of the wall in place, and one load of topsoil delivered. No rocks in the topsoil. :) We are going to be spoiled.
Quite a few more stones, and more of the flatness in place. The wall is about 120' long at this point, and the widest section of flat earth is about 25'-30'. Plenty of space for a good garden. We may add another terrace in the future.
It's so flat! We really like the defined edge that the wall provides to the driveway, and most of us are looking forward to the snakes that we expect to find sunning themselves on or in the wall.
Our cold frames have served their purpose well, and the plants have really taken off. It's nice to see so much green in there. Many of the plants are starting to push against the glass, so next year we will make these frames taller. We still think it's a bit early to put some of the plants in the ground. It won't be long, though.


Jenn said...

WOW! You have done tons of work! It looks fantastic. Where will the garden be?

Anonymous said...

Rock on, guys! You're looking great! Love, Mom and Dad

OUR CLAN said...

It is so fun to see what you guys are doing. Thanks for so many pictures, since I can't come and see it, in person, like I would love too. It sure is beautiful!

The Wests. said...

Thank you all!

The garden will be somewhere in the flat area. We haven't staked it out yet, but we hope to get to that soon. The garden should be ready to go in by the time the fence is up.