We moved into this Tiny House last year too late in the season to do much last fall, but it definitely needed some work. This spring I got stuck in my own driveway…and the truck was four-wheel drive. That is pretty sad when you own your own gravel pit.
The problem was, the driveway had its gravel plowed off every winter since 1966, and so it was lower than its edge. Because of that, water just sat in the driveway and turned to a quagmire. I started by putting in ditches on both side of the driveway, getting roadway up off the ground by two feet and then put a foot of gravel on top of that. The water will not just sit now, it has no choice but to run off.
But how do you move 100 cubic yards of gravel from a quarter of a mile away with a 1 cubic yard dump trailer? Well 1 cubic yard at a time! 3 cubic yards an hour, and about 14 to 16 trips per day.
It took a few days, but doing it myself saved me from having it trucked in. In total it cost me $50 to move 100 cubic yards of gravel, saving me $1300. So, in the end, it was 6 days well spent!
This is my 1 cubic yard dump trailer. As can been seen by the cable, I use the backhoe to load gravel into the dump body, and then dump the dump body as well. The small engine off to the side operates its independent hydraulic system.
But I am not done yet. The front yard was a bear to mow, so I built some rock retaining walls, and then am in the process to shim the front yard level. For that I needed loam, and a lot of loam, but I had a nice spot to grab it.
In one of my fields, water came off the field, and then ran across my heavy haul roads during snowmelt. I decided to get the loam I needed by taking it from a swale that will keep the water from running into my road.
It is a nicer two-fer; building a much-needed swale, and using the spoils of soil to use as loam for my front yard.
This picture shows the swale that is being dug as I go. I use the backhoe to fill the dump trailer, then dump it in my front yard, and then return for another load.
To cross the big ditch off the driveway, I built a little bridge out of hemlock, which leads to the front steps. These are made out of granite, and need a little explanation.
This Tiny House was built in 1930 after the original dance hall burned. In doing some bulldozing, I hit a found foundation stones and pushed them to the side for later use. Digging them out, I decided to use them for front steps, but I was in for a surprise.
For the last 25 years I have been looking for granite split by spoon-chisel, and these were! That means these were split about 1800-1830 as that was when Plug and Feather granite splitting was invented. I had heard about spoon-chisel splitting, but had only seen the half round holes used in plug and feather splitting…an art unto itself. But with spoon chisel splitting, they used a flat chisel to put in a slot in the rock, then drove home a wedge, but they are slots, not round holes. You can clearly see the difference in this spoon-chisel split rock. Knowing the history here, I would say these rocks were split in the year 1800.
Kind of cool I thought to be part of my front yard.
I got all the lumber sawed to make a wrap around porch, then I have two windows to replace, and finally a little cedar shingle siding to do, and then paints; lots and lots of paint…gray with white trim.
I also want to build another driveway to the side door of the house, which will require a bridge capable of holding up a farm tractor and vehicles. I will use my sawmill to do that, but first must do some logging. Then build some gabions and fill them with rock to act as abutments, and the more hauling of gravel! It is a lot of extra work, but will look a lot better than just putting in a culvert.
Finally, I will plow up my lawn, and then regrade it, and reseed it down so that that all the ruts are smoothed out. I will get all this done about November!
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp