electrical trench that can also carry water
Saturday, October 12 2013
Gretchen hadn't taken the dogs for a great walk this morning, so early this afternoon I took them on a fun loop on the other side of Dug Hill Road. We didn't see any wild animals, though Ramona kept wandering off and I'd have to sit in one spot for a long time calling for her to be sure she was with me for the next leg of the hike. Eleanor, on the other hand, stuck very close. Hopefully she's been traumatized enough by her recent injuries not to go off and harass random wild animals. There was a moment, however, when we were waiting on northeast side of Dug Hill Road waiting for Ramona when some women rode by on bicycles and it seemed like Eleanor was about to chase after them. I hollered "No!" at her and she immediately stopped and gave me a look that I immediately read as "you're right; what was I thinking?"
When hiking, particularly in new areas, I always have an eye open for novelties. I look especially closely at the freshly-broken rocks, hoping to see an unusual fossil. All I've ever seen in this Devonian shale and bluestone has been brachiopods and worms, but who knows? Maybe some day I'll see the skeleton of a tetrapod fish. Today, though, I saw was yet another brachiopod and that was all.
Here's the map of today's walk:
This afternoon I used a mattock and a post-hole digging bar to dig a shallow twenty foot trench from the woodshed to the White Pine where, far above the ground, I will be placing a number of electronic devices. The trench would be the place where I would run 120 volt electrical wire.
At the base of the pine where I will be installing that electronic equipment is a doghouse that I mostly use to store pine needles (though occasionally Eleanor goes in there when one of the household smoke detectors randomly makes a sound and she feels an untrained need to evacuate). The dog house was sort of in the way of the trench, but at this point it's a permanent part of our yard, so I simply routed the trench around it.
The soil through which this trench passed was, as is always the case around our house, extremely rocky. It was full of small flat piece of bluestone jumbled in random planes. Between these rocks, though, the soil looked surprisingly good. It was very dark and somewhat fluffy, precisely what one goes for when one is adding compost to a garden. There were also a great many tree roots, and, where possible, I left them in place. Later when I ran the 14 gauge Romex wire down this trench, I threaded it beneath any roots that had survived the ditch digging. And then I threw in a layer of pine needles and covered it with small rocks. Since this trench starts near the place where water overflowing from the woodshed rain barrel dribbles onto the ground, I figure it can double as a drainage system. With this in mind, I didn't actually use any soil to refill it. I just used layers of pine needles and bluestone.
The small amount of digging I did today was enough to completely trash my hands, tearing off the nails on most of my fingers and resulting in a particularly painful cuticle situation on the ring-finger side of my left middle finger's nail. As with a painful sore in the mouth, a painful spot near the tip of a finger is a problem that is hard to keep far from one's mind, particularly if one spends a lot of time at a keyboard.
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