Journeywork with rocks has been the major project of our summer… and so far it has turned out exactly how we wanted it!
Although we have felt like Sisyphus, hauling rock up and down the hill for the summer, the task has been anything but Sisyphean. Where Sisyphus’ task was futile and repetitive, our task has been major progress…and repetitive. Also, our rock is holding strong rather than rolling down over us and forcing us to start the task again.
With winter approaching sooner than expected, we are working to get the 48′ main wall completed before we get snow. After the smoky summer, we were rewarded with rain! We were so happy to finally have some moisture, ending the class four drought we experienced for 2 months which lead to one of the worst wildfire seasons in BC. It made working on the wall a little unpleasant, but again, we are DEFINITELY not going to complain about rain. Our only worry was that temperatures plummeted quickly and we were concerned that we would get snow before we could finish.
Luckily the snow has held off and we were provided with a stunning day today that allowed us to button up our beautiful wall. We do have one more quick section but we will get that done even if the snow arrives. It is small enough that we will suck it up and get out there to get it finished!
Overall the wall has turned out exactly how we wanted it and has had the effect that we wanted. Our first step in the spring will be to get the tops tied off and covered in the wood cap. My dad had a wonderful suggestion to tie the wood and rock theme together a little more, as well as the natural lines we are aiming for; a front fascia that will have a natural wave to it where it meets the top of the rock. Considering how it started, it has made quite the difference to our yard.
As we move to complete more of the beds next year (hopefully adding 4 more walls to the left side of the yard), we have determined a few ways to make the process of building the walls even faster. We started with the large gabione walls, which were time consuming, laborious and extremely hard on our backs; we have moved to the narrower post, wire & rock walls; next we will add chicken wire before the larger gauge wire, allowing us to use smaller rock without being to finicky about how it sits in the wall. This will speed the process up further, and still have the same look as what we are using with the chicken wire not being very noticeable.
The completion of this main wall got me daydreaming about what the yard truly will look like when it is done. I have a very vivid imagination, so I can close my eyes and see exactly how I think it will look. The hard part for me is determining exactly how much space something truly needs. So I did up a bit of a to-scale layout.
The purple lines are where we anticipate putting in future rock walls. The ones on the right side of the image are the ones we would like to complete by the end of next year. The images down that side of the yard will be trees that we plan to try espaliering. This will be dual purpose; give us delicious fruit and help provide some privacy from the neighbours. The espaliered trees will be a maximum of 8′ which will essentially be the equivalent of a natural fence.
Along the back, we plan on taking the netting off the back of our raised beds and creating 1′ wide x 8′ long beds approx. 3′ back from the raised beds, where we will grow our beans and peas. The netting will be moved to these beds and will allow us access from both sides of the raised beds. Being 4′ deep, it was very difficult to reach the back of the bed only from the front. The middle narrow bed may not be built and we may add a couple more espalier trees there. The netting is approx. 8′ high, and if we grow trees there, they will also be 8′ high. This will help block our neighbours hockey backdrop of plywood. It is not the nicest thing to look at, and we are looking forward to hiding it.
I included a rough footprint of both our pond and our fire pit area. I’m not sure which I am more excited about. Both will be excellent to sit and read a book beside. I guess it will depend on the weather and which I prefer to sit next to.
On the left side of the image is where our permanent tomato towers will go. We will be using the same style rock wall to terrace the entire area and include some steps between each row, allowing quick and easy access to each side.
There will definitely still be a few more years of projects but the beautiful yard of our dreams are becoming more and more a reality. Until tomorrow, we are taking a break!