Monday, November 30, 2015

Hard Work and A Fundamental Error


Old Greenhouse, After
"Well, maybe before Christmas..." I blogged. And on a beautiful sunny late-November afternoon I thought, "No! I'll get it done today!" I set about digging down into the NW corner of the Old Greenhouse area, right down into the glacial till of the subsoil, (below on right). This involved digging out maybe 7 or 8 barrows full of topsoil and clay, and dumping them on the NE bed. Then raised all the paving slabs from the path. Then with the spit I dug a channel about 8ins wide down the length of the path, just over a foot down. The sun was shining, and I was happy, working like a navvy on speed.

But as I got to the Old Greenhouse area, I said, oh-o. The water in the trench I'd dug was lower than the water in the "pond". I jumped down into that and dug up the wet clay, trying to lower the level. But it was no good. When the Old Greenhouse area "pond" was joined with the drainage channel coming from the flooded area near the northern end of the allotment... it all flowed north, the wrong way, out of my pond and into the new trench, (below, "trench/path"), towards the flooded area.

Trench/Path
See, I've spent several weeks labouring under delusions which defy gravity and common sense. There's a clue in the prepositional clause, "towards flooded area..." Of course water is going to flow towards a flooded area!  The topsoil might be thinner in the Old Greenhouse environs, but to get a pond in the subsoil would mean a water surface 2 or maybe 3 feet below the allotment's natural level, the rediscovered path. Downright daft, maybe dangerous, and worst of all, providing impossible slopes for froglets to climb out of.

A Wiser, Weaker Man
The View From Next Door, (Facing East)
Khalas. The pit I've dug in the corner of the Old Greenhouse can be filled in. Today has been a good day inasmuch as I cut corners and raced ahead and... found out my fundamental error, - rather than discovering it after excavating the whole of that Old Greenhouse area. Now I just need to take off the top foot of earth there, and excavate the actual greenhouse foundations, and then I've just got to cultivate it, poor-ish, shallow-ish topsoil or not. Plenty of green manures and oomska.

And beneath the path still wants dug out and filled with bricks and the path level raised.

There's going to be a pond/bog at the northern end, whether I want it or no, so I should just get on and excavate it. You can see it in this photo, "The View From Next Door", I took it from the communal raised beds area which adjoins my allotment. I went there just to confirm the levels, and try to get an idea of just how my levels fit in with the surrounding area. It's quite clear, I kind of saw it before. The area where you can see water, in front of the compost cage, (which I need to move, obviously), that will be the centre of the pond.

The big mushkila now will be excavation around that area - the water-logging is dreadful, I sank down almost to the top of my wellies when lifting the paving slabs. Maybe it'll drain somewhat now that I've dug that trench in the course of the path. Bloody hell.

I'm looking at this all as a lesson in what happens, getting caught up in an idea which turns out to be wrong, but which is clung to despite contrary evidence. And what does it matter?  Still going to have a pond. I've actually got a pond now. Ha ha ha.

Another good thing today. I did a colossal amount of work in 2 hours: fit as a lop. That last photo is me in the pub. I half expected to be refused a pint, I was so muddy.