And so the work starts. The site turned out to be 50% bricks, or thereabouts. I’d hoped to be able to leave the bulk well underground, but it was not to be. Having removed the volume near the surface it meant that the average ground level had fallen so far that I had to go deeper to get a reasonable soil depth, that meant extracting more bricks which in turn lowered the surface level again. Hopefully the soil from the garage site and from previous excavations will bring it back up, and of course there’s the manure to add.
The ground had been growing trees and weeds until now, mainly two small Rowan trees, a rather weedy Pine and a lot of Snowberry, the remainder being various grasses and quite a lot of Rosebay Willow Herb. The soil itself is mostly brick, and where it isn't brick it is shale. Used shale that is, a rather bright pink. It has been used to level the ground around here for years, and needs to come out, along with the brick and the lime plaster.
I'm afraid the carbon footprint of the site has, until now, been quite terrible. Still, it could have been worse, the mini-digger and operator failed to arrive (or ring back), so I've done most of it by hand. Several of the brick removing days were also fasting days. An odd side effect of fasting is that the fat you are burning produces a lot of water, the result is a lot of interrupting trips to the loo. It doesn't seem to have produced much of a energy shortage though, and chucking bricks about produces plenty of heat. Here's a picture of some of the bricks extracted so far.
...And some more.
As you can see, I'm well off for bricks, still they will make a good base for the garage on the end of the workshop, and the soil from the hole made for them can go into the poly-tunnel. A lot of the work so far has been moving the soil from garage to tunnel and the bricks from tunnel to garage. another side effect is Popeye forearms, and a hankering after spinach.
With a bit of luck I'll be able to put two layers of brick down, which will reduce the amount of concrete needed for the garage, and the lime plaster and lime cement left behind will make the poly tunnel soil more alkaline, which the vine will like.
Under the bricks there will be a layer of recycled carpet which should hold it all together and reduce any variable subsidence, that's the plan, anyway. The concrete panels and the roof are recycled as well. All very ecological, and the first occupant of the garage should be a recycled Triumph Spitfire, currently in bits here and there.
Here's the poly-tunnel site, the poles are about where the frame should stand. Mostly cleared now, but the heap of bricks are probably hiding more bricks and more shale. The shale is the pink stuff, it has been mined from nearby between about 1840 and 1930.
Historical note. After processing, shale is a rather tasteful shade of navy-blue but oxidises to surgical appliance pink. Oddly it is still referred to as 'Blaes' a Scottish expression meaning blue, as in Blae-berry. The bricks are pink and the traditional Lanarkshire roads are pink, but they are all quite different minerals. Pure co-incidence, especially weird as the inside of the bricks are blue too.
Scots are sometimes pink on the outside, but if you cut one in half they are (mostly) not blue, and rather annoyed, so don't.
The garage site is mostly cleared here, though I think I'll lower the ground by another 100mm ( 4" in old money. )
Thinking on that, how about we all go over to base twelve, I mean this decimal (base ten) thing is only because some people count on their fingers. Twelve is a much better system, being easily divided by 2, 3, 4, 6, and giving easy products from 9 and 10.
Mind you it might annoy the people who have been calculating Pi ( π ) although they are known to be irrational.
That was my first attempt at a mathematical joke, sorry.
I suppose it might help to point out that it works better with compass bearings, months, orbital mechanics, time zones, wills, gearing and even pig rearing (12 teats on a sow [usually])
When the world leaders get this, could they get in touch? I'm sure there are some details to work out, but I'm free all next Tuesday. We could tie it in with my proposed 8 day (4 on 4 off) week.
Anyway, back to the matter in hand, the poly-tunnel will require a fair bit of top-soil to bring the level up to acceptable, especially since a lot of what I have would struggle to achieve the classification of 'dirt', and I'll need to do better than that.
I must have a word with Aleem, I'm sure he knows a thing or two about soil.
At the moment I'm working with 80% dirt, 10% sand, 5% lime, 5% shale, to which I hope to add about 20% horse manure, and the product of a large compost heap. All on a long buried field with a clay substrate. I could do with some mineral dust, but if Vesuvius goes pop then that should arrive by air. I was told that granite dust was the magic ingredient, and we have a quarry near-by as well, which might be the tidier option.
What could possibly go wrong?
Time for tea now, look after yourselves.