Thursday, May 24, 2012

Even more exciting adventures in digging...

When I moved to the desert to live, instead of just to visit, I had surprises to contend with. One was how damned cold it gets in the winter, but praise Gaia I can set that aside for six months or so. The other was how much effort I'd have to put into water management.

This is my gully. There are many (many many) like it, but this one - alas - is mine.

The problem with this particular gully is that it's right behind and above the Secret Lair. Gullies are normally dry, rocky things of no particular interest. But sometimes they become wet rocky places and that's the problem. This one, when it runs, normally flows into a little natural trench that turns sharply left at the bottom and sort of lets the water sheet off to the wash. But sometimes the water jumps the trench, and then it wants to go right where the Lair is. It doesn't happen every year, and when it happens it isn't always bad. But we don't plan for the best-case scenario.

I knew about it beforehand. The very first summer I started excavating for the foundation I came to the site one morning and found my (early, poorly thought out) foundation trenches completely full of water. It makes you think.

What it mostly made me think was that I wanted to use piers instead of a solid foundation. There were other factors in that decision, but water management was one of the big three. So I built the Lair on concrete piers instead of block, but I still needed to do something about that water.

Step one, dig that trench out. Deeper, straighter, more attractive to flowing water. Then berm the Lair's side of the trench to make my little mud flat less attractive. The berm is a work in progress. It hasn't been seriously tested yet, but the one time the gully has flowed since starting that, it worked.

Since installing running water in the Lair, of course, water now uses that trench every single day. The outflow pipe from the sink, and one day please god the shower, goes here. I found that, though the trench was probably sufficient as an emergency measure, as a thing to live with every day it had shortcomings.

So I dug a continuation of the trench, out to lower ground and well away from places where I commonly wanted to walk.

This latest trench wasn't my best work - it wasn't very straight, and I quickly grew tired of looking at it. Besides, it runs through clay and needed frequent cleaning that - knowing me - it wasn't going to get.

Yesterday I used up the last of my sewer pipe. That improves the function of the extended part of the trench, and also means I get to cover the damned thing back up. Which covering I finished this morning after my first cuppa. Now I's happier.

1 comment:

gooch said...

Isn't it amazing what will make a fellers vest buttons stretch when he is working on his own property and finishes a project?
OK ... Maybe I do need to get a life.
For me it is a tool shed storage building being made of recycled pallets.
I have completed the foundation, the decking and the first course of pallets cum walls.

Yeah, yeah I know ... get a life.

stay safe,