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Doing Nothing Much

January 3rd, 2009

A couple of warm days means a chance to get a lot accomplished.  Even the bees took some time to stretch their wings, and I was glad to see them.  They had not been out for at least 3-4 weeks after the last cold stretch, and they need a chance on warm days to relieve themselves.  And there’s bound to be a lot of new young bees that have emerged.  They look soft and fuzzy, and fly around the outside of the hive to orient themselves.  Only a couple of months to go bees… hang in there!

Bees emerging on a warm winter day

Of course with the heavy rain last week we had to clean up a few areas too.  The gravel driveway tends to wash out during the heaviest rain.  Last year I added two types of gravel on top of the old stuff, and worked hard to pack it level- it has done fine for one side of our dip, but this side still washed out.   The rain was some of the heaviest I’ve seen in the last few years.

 Gravel washout from heavy rain

But I was happy to see the gravel washed straight down the driveway instead of off the side of the driveway.   After using the big rake on the back of the tractor, we all grabbed a few hand rakes to finish it up, and it’s good as new.  We’ve thought about having asphalt put in someday, but those thoughts quickly fade as we remember the driveway’s almost 1/4 mile long.  Realistically the gravel is so much better when the ice comes in winter.  

More rain expected for tonight, but hopefully not too much.  I’m still looking for our first real snowstorm… in the meantime we we’ve been doing various chores including cleaning up a lot of the house, the holiday ornaments, taking the tree down and out and splitting a bunch of older oak rounds for firewood.  With luck we’ll have just enough to get through winter. 

After all the holiday excitement, the boy says we’ve been doing “nothing much” the last few days.  Somehow I’ve really enjoyed doing nothing much.  Oh, except eating of course.  We’ve been doing far too much of that!  This week it’s back to school and back to the routine.  If we have another warm day it will be time to whip the garden into shape.  We’re already thinking of what to plant…

 

6 Responses to “Doing Nothing Much”

  1. Pabloon 04 Jan 2009 at 8:11 am

    I have a little experience with building gravel roads, and it looks to me like you might want to use a bit larger gravel on that road to build up the base, then top it with the finer gravel for a smoother drive.

    Also, you don’t really want your gravel level. You need to arch it to the center so that the water will wash to the sides rather than down the center. I think it’s called camber.

    But you probably already know this.

  2. Beauon 04 Jan 2009 at 11:00 am

    Hi Pablo- Thanks very much for the insight; I’ve tried a bunch of different ways. The slope is a lot steeper than it looks- Last time I finally talked with a bunch of folks who do it for a living, and ended up putting a minus-base on top of some large gravel as you mentioned. But then I put another few inches of clean on top of that to help slow the water. Works great in most areas… not there yet. And I agree 100% about your camber comment… got a fine batch of grass and weeds down the middle of the rest of the driveway to do just that. Sometimes the sheer volume of water is amazing off the upper slopes. And hey, gives me something to do once in a while :)

  3. Ed Abbeyon 05 Jan 2009 at 9:14 am

    I’ve always thought the way they do it in the Ozark Mountains further south of you was a good way. They put down a slurry of wet clay and rock that when dried out, it almost like pavement. But I think on steep hills, you will still have the eroding problem. The only way to combat that is to build some speed bumps every so often to give the water a chance to slow down and drain off the road into the ditch or just use larger gravel which is what my parents do on their 1/4 mile driveway.

  4. Beauon 05 Jan 2009 at 11:01 am

    Hi Ed- Interesting thought about that clay/rock combo. Speed bumps or a couple of little rises… hmmmm. But the larger rock idea is probably what we’ll try next- it’s got 1 inch clean on top now and that’s just not big enough. Thanks-

  5. Pabloon 05 Jan 2009 at 1:44 pm

    The best part of my road at Roundrock is the part that uses limestone gravel that is nearly the size of my fist. With that as a base, I’ve always intended to return later with finer gravel to make it smoother.

  6. Beauon 07 Jan 2009 at 10:46 am

    Wow… that is large gravel, but must work great for stability. (Your comment was caught by the spam detector for some reason and I just found it?!)

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