Saturday, June 20, 2009

The New Way

The driveway (or the new way as Feliks calls it) has proved as entertaining and destructive as predicted. I had really wanted to put this off a few years, but we were having more trouble getting in and out this year. When my sister was here the van got stuck in the mud when I was taking her and the family to the Tallinn Bus Station to catch their ride to St. Petersburg. The contractors have also had chronic problems with the drive, and on one occasion last summer one of Hendrik's tractors had to pull them out.

Once we'd decided to go ahead, a very large excavator came for two days, moved dirt and rock

and excavated the soil under the new driveway and the little platz in front of the garage. Then the Excavator Guy filled in the trench with the piles of big rocks that had accumulated around the place (100 years of field stones, the boulders that came out from under the house, etc.),

plus about ten meters of quarried rock when we ran out. After that came a layer of coarse gravel, then a little finer stuff on top before he leveled the surface. I don't think it'll wash out any time soon.

The new way connects to the old way just above the point where it gets really mushy.

Feliks had a load of the coarse gravel put down on the upper part of the old driveway to get us all the way to the road.

This part will need work again someday as there's nothing but soil beneath it. It should last us a few years, hopefully until we accumulate some more big rocks.

Excavator Guy (I never did catch his name) came with the machine and was fascinating to watch. He worked very quickly and precisely. He worked around young apple trees and plantings without so much as knicking them.

We're left with many large piles of dirt, which we'll use to level the yard in various places.

The back of the yard where the holding tank is buried, the part of the drive we're going to turn into yard, and the front yard which various excavators have torn up all come to mind. A lot of additional work, but it was clear we either had to deal with the driveway or get stuck frequently, as well as suffer delays to construction projects.

For having so much heavy equipment on the place,

there were remarkably few acts of unnecessary destruction. A pile of dirt in the old garden, which I'd spent a lot of time clearing and didn't need any more dirt, a little damage to Helga's broccoli from the dump trucks, and some serious ruts in the front yard when the excavator was mistakenly directed to the one, very marshy part of the yard that Feliks had agreed it would stay out of.

I was pretty irritated about the last one.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with it. The new drive comes over to the Kõrvalhoone along the line of trees in the back yard, which will look quite nice when the yard is better landscaped.

It gives the layout of the trees and the yard a satisfying rationality.

There were also side benefits of the project, like having a big excavator left in the yard overnight for Paul to take pictures with,

and lots of fresh soil for the storks to hunt through.

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