I built some retaining walls for Siesta so that the earth on the roof could slope gently down to the ground without spilling into patio or paths. As will be clear from later posts, it turns out I did it all wrong and will have to do some janky stuff to get it to work semi-properly and end up looking like I meant to do it.
Also I put in a tiny greenhouse-ish kind of thing dug into the south berm. The interior wood of this stucture will be charred black to soak up lots of solar heat. The idea is not so much to use it grow plants, but rather to have it charge the mass of 4+ feet of dirt between it and the house. Maybe it'll even be a nice place for a solarshower in the winter eventually. We'll see...
Also, there's a cute lil bee waterer down at basecamp near the well. I always see bees and wasps hanging out there like co-workers around the water cooler. Pretty nifty!
The greenhouse structure and retaining walls mostly finished, I rolled old toothless Rexcavator over and piled up tons of "dry" earth, (it actually was relatively dry, having for months been piled up, sun-baked, and covered by tarps during rain events,) on the north and south sides of Siesta.
Jason and DJ helped me pick up a bunch of dry cardboard to use as insulation for the roof. Apparently dry cardboard is something like R3 per inch, and people tend to happily give it away for free. In contrast to a sheet-mulch application, (which we don't do here at the labs due to toxicity concerns,) the cardboard used here will never be in contact with soil or water, being sandwiched between waterproofing layers, and so should stay relatively inert and insulative. And since we put the cardboard straight into the structure the same day we picked it up from town, it never sat around long enough for mice to start using it to insulate their little mouse houses. If the mice want to get to it now, they'll have to dig through lots of earth and tarps.
Some of the cardboard had staples in them that we removed to reduce any chance of puncturing the waterproofing layers.
DJ helped me get all the tarps laid out on the dry earth layer of Siesta. Thanks Deej!
Then it was finally time to bury it in "wet" earth, (not super wet at the moment because it's been pretty dry here lately, but no steps were or will be taken to keep it dry, in fact it'll be mulched and seeded!)
Some of the wet earth, especially the little bit that goes up against the lower parts of the walls on the uphill and downhill sides, had to be shoveled on by hand because I left such narrow excavator access. Also, because I did the retaining walls all wrong, it was more complicated and laborious than it needed to be. Still, it's coming together, and it hasn't collapsed yet...
Avalon is the southwestern ~1/2 acre of Ava, consisting of the bottom of a little valley and a mostly south-facing slope, but with some more westerly aspects towards the east and west ends. After more than a year of both Kai and I observing, dreaming about, plotting, and scheming for what to do with Avalon, we came up with a rough plan focused on massively increasing texture, usable surface area, and microclimatic diversity.
The lowest point on Ava was already in Avalon, and so it seemed the natural place for as big a pond as possible to accumulate as much water as possible and to rub that water up against as much life as possible before it leaves the site. Where to put all the dirt that comes out of that huge pond? Why, in tons of tall, long, and curving mounds of course. To make this multifold surplus of surface area more usable to us humans, we'll have Rex carve out a few paths and terraces too. Voila!
Lower Avalon now looks like it was hit by a meteor, leaving behind a strangely shaped crater. Where once there was trees, shrubs, herbs, and groundcover, now the soil is bare and uncovered, a catastrophe!
Good thing we're permies and we know a thing or two about site repair. Better get to mulching and seeding like maniacs! Turn that krater into a kratergarten!