Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Gravely Kind of Day

Today was a big project day.  One that would solve a problem that has needed fixing for some time now.  What problem?  Water runoff in our driveway causing mucky mud in the front yard and on Big Bear's (our ATV) path to it's parking spot under the deck.  Of course, all this being part of a bigger problem...erosion. 

After much research, planning, discussion, gathering bids, more research, planning & discussion, and finally agreeing on a plan, we hired Scott Farmer Grading, Inc. to come help us (they were awesome and I would highly recommend them).  The end result?  Our driveway, parking and turn-around area, drive for the ATV and under the deck are now covered with gravel.  Problem solved!  This photo shows some of what was accomplished (can't capture everything in one shot), but it shows my favorite part which is no more muck in the front yard.

We decided to lay pea gravel (small stones, about the size of a pea...ha ha, thus the name and it's easy to walk on) under the deck and to create a little drive for Big Bear.  Gravel under the deck would prevent erosion...
...and a gravel drive would make things look nice (as opposed to Bear's tracks in the yard) and give a solid path to drive along (the spot at the bottom of this little hill at the entry to the deck was very soft and got very muddy when it rained).
Looks great, doesn't it?
 Big Bears new path!

We decided that 57 gravel would go in the front yard (57 gravel ranges from the size of a grape to a plum and stays put when driven on),  
 ...and where we park the car.
This is the front completed (same view as the before shot above...the change of color in the gravel is where it changes from pea gravel to 57; once it rains on it, they will look the same)...
 ...and the parking area completed. 

We decided the driveway would have road bond or ABC gravel (the same size as 57 but it also has sand and dirt so it will compact and not roll down the hill).  Below is the section of the drive closest to the front of the house...
 ...this is the next section heading up to the road.
And the completed driveway...(not very pretty but once it packs down a bit, it will look better...this is the best stuff for the slope of the drive...)

Of course, this project took half the day.  It all looks so easy, doesn't it?  It was for us, we hired someone to accomplish the task!  Greg and Matt with did a great job...let me tell you more about what happened between the before and after shots.

Grading the area is the first step...making sure the ground is flat (though not necessarily level, as in the case of driveway)...

The gravel was delivered in 3 loads, one for each type of gravel.  This big dump truck had to drive backwards up our mountain road, because there was no turn around point to be able to dump in our yard!  Can you imagine?  I can't imagine going backwards up this steep mountain road...I have a hard enough time going forward!

Our strategy was to begin under the deck and progress through the yard to end at the top of the driveway.  So Greg loaded the backhoe to bring the first bucket of pea gravel down under the deck...
...woo hoo, first load emptied!  Greg backs up to get another load, and uh oh, wheels are spinning, he's stuck.  He stops the machine and say's "did I hear you scream?"...I laugh..."you were sliding down the hill...it's a big drop!"  He said he thought I was afraid he was going to take down the deck...good think I never thought of that!
Johny helps the guys bring some pea gravel over to give the area traction...
...after a few wheelbarrow's full, Greg turned the backhoe around and made it up!
He continued to build the small driveway up with a little of the dirt and rock from the main drive, which created a strong base so the job could continue.  
Matt spread the gravel with style...made it look effortless!
The pea gravel continued to be spread to make a very thick path for Bear. 

The second load of gravel, 57, was spread relatively quickly and without any glitches. 

And finally, the road bond was spread by emptying the dump truck as it moved up the driveway...
...really quite a site to watch.  The guys shared that there have been times when the grade of the road was so steep that when they started to unload, the truck's front tires lifted from the road!  I wish I could have seen that, would have made a great picture, donchathink?

The last step is a final grading to make sure everything is smooth...
...and ta da!  We are very happy with the result.  I may want to widen the rounded part in front of the cabin, the part that is at the bottom of this picture...to me it looks like it would be more aesthetically pleasing if it were a little more rounded...we'll see.  For now, it is perfect just the way it is!

It's been a good day.   And it gets better (for me anyway)...they say we may get some snow tonight...probably just flurries, but I'm good with that.  Let it snow!!!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Dad/Pepere said...

What a great job you and MM accomplished...with the help of Greg and Matt! Can't wait to drive down that driveway.

Powell River Books said...

Lots of work, but well worth it. Looks great! Is Big Bear a Grizz? - Margy

Lise said...

Thanks dad, we are really happy with it! Hugs back:)

Margy, Big Bear is a Big Bear, Yamaha 400 4x4, not a Grizzly...but very similar. It gets us through the mud, ice and snow, up and down the mountain's inclines, and has a winch on the front and a plow (for snow and small grading jobs! A good work horse for us:)