edge of my respiratory capabilities
Thursday, June 6 2013
This afternoon I drove with the dogs to the abandoned quarry off Lorenz Road and gathered as many bluestone pieces as I thought the Subaru's suspension could handle while the dogs ran around in the woods. I worked quickly [REDACTED] and soon put myself at the edge of my respiratory capabilities. Happily the dogs took a minute to respond to my calls for them, giving me a chance to recover enough to drive. After returning to the house, I deconstructed the collapsing bluestone retaining wall just north of the main garden patch (between it and where we park the cars) and built a brand new section of wall about five feet long and 18 to 20 inches high. The old wall had been built by the people who built our house, probably back in the mid 1990s. They'd tried to make up for the inferiority of their stacking technique by filling the voids with concrete, something (admittedly) I used to do. But that doesn't work very well in a climate whose soil forces are dominated by frost heave. The concrete had cracked up and the wall had pitched forward, ultimately toppling an additional course of bluestone I'd run along its top back in 2005 (when I raised the elevation of the landscape being retained by the wall.
The builders of the original wall had placed an extremely thin plastic barrier on the soil side of the rock to keep dirt from leaking through it. Normally I prefer to use a perforated material for this purpose to allow water through (reducing forces on the wall). But in this case water was going to get through anyway, since this span of wall was so short and because the barrier wasn't going to form a tight seal with the ground at its bottom. So I used plastic, though of a much thicker variety.
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