Saturday, May 19, 2012

A driveway and a duck dam

Today a collection of "big noisy cars" came and dug around on our land. The main objective was the delivery and streamrolling of a slightly embarrassing amount of gravel, obtained from 'the pit' at Bermagui. After the week of rain that coincided with our strawbale building workshop, we realised that our dreams of a dirt driveway were... well... unrealistic. We have always been keen to try to limit the embodied energy of our little house-building exercise, and have done a reasonably good job of achieving that. And hey - very locally-sourced gravel isn't really huge on energy consumption, but it did come out of the ground and it is pretty much a non-renewable resource. So the decision to smother our super-slippery clay driveway in gravel was not taken lightly. But we did make the decision, and we did get the gravel, and we're going to live with our decision, knowing that it was basically the only way we could get our driveway to function as a driveway.
Item number 2 on today's agenda was the digging out of a pad for our water tank, which is being delivered on monday. We're pretty excited. The reason the pad had to be dug, rather than just levelled, is that the inlet on our water tank is 2.3m high, and the end of our gutter is only 2.4m high and the tank needs a 10cm 'pad' to sit on. Do the maths (I know - it's hard...), and you'll realise that something needed adjusting. Cue Moonie and his little bobcat and the job's done in about 5 minutes.

While all this driveway and tank-pad action was going on we were also enjoying watching some excavation on the other side of the house. This excavation was, for me, far more exciting than the driveway bizzo. This excavation resulted in the cutest little dam in the world, which is going to be our duck dam,
The diversion drain captures water off the road, carries it along the contour and into our new duck dam
(yellow shipping container in the background now contains all our worldly possessions!)

and a huge pile of clay which is going to be our earth floor (and probably our cob oven and a few other things as well). I LOVED watching our floor coming out of the ground not ten metres away from where it's going to be laid in our home.
Nothing more lovely than a big pile of floor on a sunny Autumn day!

And all our little visitors quite liked the action as well. We're having quite the love-in at the moment, after moving out of our rental house last week, and into the home of our quite lovely and special new friends Vickie, Max, Evan and Taylor, who have graciously offered us a space in their lives and their home for a few weeks between our last ever rental house (yay!) and our first ever hand-made by ourselves and our friends house (double yay!). Today they all joined us on the land to have a peek at the big machinery, bringing muffins and fruit and happy faces and testing out our clay by making sweet little flower-cups.

All in all it was a pretty satisfactory half-day, which made us very appreciative of the fact that we don't really have to do a lot of digging by hand. I can't even imagine digging even a little duck dam in the clay with just a shovel, so I quite enjoyed watching Moonie and his mate scooting around in their bobcats and little steamrollers and bigger excavator/front-end-loader-type things, moving our earth around to make way for water-harvesting and duck-growing.


  1. How lovely! I'd like to put a little dam in too. Can I ask how much that cost for Daryl to do? x

    1. We will definitely be putting the cost of excavations up on the blog, but it'll be for the whole shebang - driveway, house pad and footings and dam, so probably won't be itemised. It took him half a day though, and he charges $1000/day, plus float fee, which is usually $300. Just get him out to give you a quote. x

  2. That's so reasonable. He's a larikin, isn't he? x

  3. Hey Annie looking great, can't wait to see photos of windows and door
    Xx mm