Yet more digging! Apart from adding (a lot) more top soil to the yard, the last thing to do before we can start planting is install the irrigation system. I plumbed in the supply line for the irrigation system last summer. Since then we've had a backflow preventer added.
It was never included in this blog, but we also laid three (3) schedule 40 PVC pipes from this area to the other side of the yard. These pipes emerge on what is now the other side of the concrete walkway. This is one little bit of forward planning I am proud of. We need three pipes, because the valve control box will be on the opposite side of the walkway from the main supply line. This means one pipe to bring water to the valve box, another to bring it back to the house side of the path, and a third which is a conduit for the electrical cable, since the control box will also be on the house side of the path. The cable was laid at install, and we also threaded a piece of string through one of the other two pipes, so we can differentiate between them without re-excavating.
We had a plan of where the trenches needed to go. The system will have five (5) stations, each of which will originate uphill from the areas they will irrigate.
First trench done! We had to dismantle parts of the block walls we constructed a few weeks ago.
Station #2 extends right up to the street:
As you will know, if you studied the plan, some of trenches will carry more than one pipe. Placing these trenches efficiently, and navigating around vegetation we want to keep, meant we had to deviate from the plan somewhat.
For the most part I ploughed a furrow with a mixture of a regular spade and the jackhammer, and Amy Sheep followed with the trenching spade. If you're not familiar, a trenching spade is about four inches wide, and can be used to remove loose dirt from a narrow channel very efficiently. It's not good for removing hard dirt, since there is no way to drive the blade with your foot, as you might with a regular spade. The smaller size also makes it a "little and often" kind of tool, as my maternal Grandfather might have described it.
Digging around some of the vegetation required a hand trowel:
Station #4 will be located close to the "V" at the center of this picture:
Station #5 is in the far corner next to the fence.
Digging all these trenches in one day was a lot of work, but we have found by taking regular breaks we can push through and enjoy it. This is a sketch of what we ended up with:
Since I had the jackhammer out anyway, I started digging out for the mailbox post/footing. We are installing a new mailbox at the path where we actually walk past it every day. We used to have what will be the "new" mailbox at our old house in Berkeley, and it has been in storage for five (5) years at this point.
I was doing ok until I hit a missive boulder. I had to use a combination of the jackhammer and a six foot steel digging bar to smash the boulder into pieces I could actually lift out of the hole. I would have used dynamite if I had any.
I still have about six inches to go, because I want the top of the concrete to be at least six inches below grade - that way we can plant right up to the post. I'm planning for the mailbox to be hit by a car at some point, and I want to make sure the post comes off best by building a massive footing! I could have carried on, but smashing up the boulder took quite a bit of energy, so we packed up for the day.