Having the right equipment makes a huge difference in how quickly the land can be levelled and the site prepared for the foundations. In less than a week, Eddie has managed to deal with the slope of the meadow, dig out the ground for the house foundations, create a circular drive way to the North of the house and prepare the back meadow for the future septic field.
I always knew that this property is on the path of an ancient glacier, but when you start to see the size and number of rocks that are pulled out of the ground, it is shocking. These rocks are being put to good use as we are getting Eddie, who runs the big equipment, to build a rock wall that separates the lower part of the circular driveway from the higher part. The centre of this circular driveway will be the future site of Mitch’s train garden. Watching Eddie sort through, move and build this rock wall is pure entertainment and a testament to his skills.
We are fortunate to be having an unusually long run of hot dry summer weather. The dirt on the excavation site is particularly fine and if we got much rain, it would create a sloppy mud that would be difficult to work in. The next ten days are forecasting more of the same, so I am counting ourselves fortunate.
It’s been a long wait, but the build begins today. After months of work with the architect and then more months waiting for the builder to become available, the official start date of the build phase arrived – July 19, 2021. To say that I’m excited to see how this experience unfolds is an understatement. I’m sure that there will be plenty of challenges, but at the moment it seems like endless potential. It was an auspicious first day. Not too hot, blue sky and little wind.
The crew spent a partial day getting the meadow weed-wacked, setting up the house site borders and most importantly, a plumb line to determine how much elevation was lost as the house goes West to East. After the laser-levelled plumb line was setup, Ben (the builder) mentioned that it was less of an elevation drop than he had anticipated – so that was good news.
The bull-dozer was dropped off and will be ready when Eddie arrives in the morning. Ben expects that it will take Eddie two or three days to get the land levelled. We’ll also find out tomorrow if he is going to be doing the Septic Field clearing or wait to do that on a second visit.
It may not feel like a lot happened today, but the very fact that the build team is now on site and the project has officially started is everything. The next few days will include plenty of changes, so stay tuned for a flurry of blog posts.
It’s becoming more and more common to catch sight of city dwellers (Homo Urbanus) on the Upper Sunshine Coast as travel restrictions are lifted and the summer progresses. I haven’t done much research, but I would guess that the summer heat is probably pushing them away from their preferred nesting sites in concrete canyons, to higher elevations in the mountains or up the coast to the cooling effects of forests and beaches. Although in their natural habitat, Homo Urbanus is quite territorial and prone to aggressive displays when confronted with others of the species, they have a much more friendly and docile temperament when found in the calm environs of shady forests or pristine beaches.
Last week I came across a prime example of Homo Urbanus. Slightly confused by the long migration, I think he temporarily imprinted and I was able to observe his behaviours much more closely than I had with others of his kind. For three days he happily participated in a number of activities, joined us for evening meals and generally exhibited behaviours commonly associated with Homo Rusticanus.
It was a lot of fun. We took a trip over to Texada Island to explore Heisholt Lake. This is an old abandoned lime quarry that has filled with water. What we didn’t know at the time is that new owners have taken over and no one is allowed to use the lake any longer. We didn’t find this out until after we’d taken a paddle around the quarry and an employee drove in and informed us that swimming was no longer allowed. It will probably remain, the most polite expulsion that I’ve ever experienced in my life and the gentleman also let us know that the Coliform Count in the lake was high enough that you wouldn’t catch him in that water. In retrospect, the last time I was here, the water was crystal clear and you could see the bottom no matter how deep. It had turned a much murkier shade of Tetanus Green. That was enough to get us to move on to Shelter Point Park in Gillies Bay for a slightly cooler, and healthier, swim in in the Salish Sea.
The next day we did a long hike around Inland Lake, a fresh water lake shaped somewhat like the invasive giant tadpoles that you observe as you walk along board walks built into the lake edge. This 13 kilometre hike circumnavigates the lake, staying within a stone’s throw of the shore. The majority of this hike is through beautiful forests and so we were spared the effects of hiking in the mid-day sun. The trail is well maintained (it’s advertised as “wheel-chair” friendly) and makes for a very comfortable hike. About three quarters of the way around the lake we stopped to soak on a little beach for half an hour. The water was the perfect temperature to cool down and relax and no tadpole attacks were reported.
After three days, I could see that the migration instincts of our Homo Urbanus (who I’d become quite fond of and nick-named “John”) was kicking into gear. It was fun while it lasted, but our time together was always going to be limited. It’s true that you can’t own nature, you only borrow it for a brief moment. Now that I know that this area falls within the migration route of Homo Urbanus, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and my binoculars handy in hopes of more sightings.