I take a day to finish grading the barn, then start building the driveway. I use the rest of the excess dirt from the barn to begin:
I don't even dry off when I get out - I go back to work soaking wet.
Here all the left side is cut out:
The new grade slopes slightly down and away from the barn. Eventually I'll stack a stone wall along the edge to keep the hill back.
Here's all that dirt moved over for the driveway, raked and tamped smooth:
The whole idea behind this comes from a photo of a barn in the book HOMEWORK: HANDBUILD SHELTER. In the picture the land mounds up towards the double doors of the barn. It has an Old World look, the barn really seems planted in it's surroundings. We'll be able to walk up the driveway, bring equipment up, and even drive in if we want. I've set the grade a little higher than it should be, because of subsidence. Once everything settles in after a year or two it should be just right.
I lay down sod now to stabalize the soil:
For now it looks like a toupee, shaggy and out of place. But it will keep the driveway from eroding, and with mowing and weathering everything will come to look as if that's how it always was.
I lay down sod over the area I cut out and water it:
But the driveway's so big, I need extra sod to cover the sides of it. So I take it back away. And besides, I didn't like how much it raised the grade here relative to the barn.
Here's more shots of the driveway, from different angles:
Mishka likes it.
He goes off and gets himself incredibly muddy somewhere:
When the driveway's done, I am absolutely wiped out. I am so tired of moving earth and rock. I do actually find one stone when I cut out the left side of the barn, towards the back. It's one long giant hunk of rock, which I load up on the wheelbarrow and take over to the compost bin, to set it beside it. Otherwise nothing but dirt.
I water the driveway thoroughly once a day, to keep the sod alive. And not a single piece dies. It actually begins to thrive, and grow at a rate faster than anything else - I've got to weedwhack it weekly, to keep it down. So I stop watering it.The girls have already built their own house behind the shed, out of a carboard box. It's pretty elaborate:
They've got it level with boards, there are concrete pavers for the floor, the box has windows, a door, a sunroof, and the inside is decorated with handprints.
We've now worn a permanent path up to the gazebo:
It's become our shady oasis where we go to play games and read and eat and just get away from it all:
And it has a beautiful view out the front overlooking the property: