Sunday, November 15, 2009

French Drained.

First, see if you can get it to rain eight inches in one month, seven of those in a week. If you have any normally-waterlogged areas, this will amplify all of the situations possible: it will show you where your drainage problems are, and it will also make the digging—there is going to be some digging—easier.

Determine that every single person who's looked at it, who's told you even one thing about it, is right—you really need to drain the entire frontage, plus some, of that outbuilding. 27 feet. A 27-foot trench, 12-18 inches deep and 24 inches wide, is what's called for.

Do it in a weekend.

Here's what fit in the trench, with room to spare: 2,050 pounds of pea gravel.

Which means—and this is only a guess, but I wheelbarrowed the dirt out, and the gravel back in, and I feel like I can say with some authority that the exceptionally wet clay weighed about what the gravel did—at least 2,050 pounds of dirt up the hill and through the driveway and back down the hill to the downhill mouse's yard—she's got drainage problems of her own, has some shifting of the grade in mind.

I did landscaping in my teens and twenties. I remember dump truck loads of gravel and of soil in clients' driveways, remember having to move that amount of shite in a day or two.

Oh, teens and twenties. Right now the fucking tops of my feet hurt (sorry, kids). Everything, everything hurts. My teens and twenties may, it turns out, have been 15-20 years ago.

If we ever get water in that building again, I will probably have to kill the French. I will be all, Please hold still while I club you in the head with this sack of gravel, s'il vous plait.

Two astonishingly beautiful days to go with all this pain, though. Sun and seventies. So beautiful. So. One more day of that tomorrow, and then we cool off, and that'll be beautiful, too. Keep it tuned here: there may be keen interest next time it rains.

Postscript: cut to me cutting a small piece of the landscape fabric off the roll after I'd dumped 2,050 pounds of gravel into the trench—I came inside and made a little pouch and ran it under the sink to make sure it was water-permeable. Nice timing, me. Result of experiment: it is. I would have had to kill myself with a sack of gravel otherwise.

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