EXCAVATING FOR A HOUSE ON A HILL part 1

Yesterday, at an equinox gathering, I planted three scarlet runner beans, each with an intention I hope will grow to fruition.

Equinox is about balance, as light and dark share the day equally.  My mind was balanced between the sunny hilltop world where we met and the darkness of underground in the spot chosen to become our house site.  Our excavator was waiting for the right weather to begin, and my intentions were drawn to that definitive act of building.

The first seed was for the group, with whom I hope to celebrate many more equinoxes.

The second seed was for myself.  I hope I will have the strength to participate fully in the building of our house.  A part of me wishes that Doug and I could build every bit of it with our own hands.   But since that is not the path we have chosen, I want to put my hands on as many parts of the process as I can and help as much as possible, and that leads me to my final seeded intention.

The third seed was for everyone who works on building our house.  I hope everyone who participates in this project will find fulfillment in their tasks, take satisfaction in their work and get a chance to express their creativity.  We’ve given a lot of thought to the energy needs this house will have, but I am also hoping it will generate great communal energy.

After gently pushing those three seeds into soft potting soil yesterday, today I watched the symbolic beginning of our house as our excavator, Bruce Lease fired up his backhoe and began to dig a pocket into the south-facing slope where our house, Underhill, will be built.

The first scoop!

Bruce is not working in yielding potting soil.  He is working in clay and sandstone.  He is using some very big equipment. 

Rain shut him down about noon.  Weather permitting, the excavation will continue tomorrow.

This is a very violent process.  I’ll be very glad to get beyond it.

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8 replies

  1. Oh I hate that stage. We will have to re-sculpt the areas around our barn and so there will be more scars again, but at least we now know that eventually it will look fine and the scar will heal.

  2. Yes, the scars will heal, and I plan to replant with native plants, so ultimately, the area will hopefully be more of a haven for wildlife than it was. The area was going to undergo some kind of transformation because the oak trees that called the shots have all died in the past 7 years. The chances are some invasive plants would have become king of the hill. So I comfort myself that, ultimately, it will be a more balancer bit of the earth.
    But right now – yikes!

    • Well together we can plant a garden this year as the scar left over from our barn last year also needs healing. So here’s to the garden, may they both grow and provide a haven to those who come, both human and non-human!

      • Yes, Joanna. Here’s to gardening.
        On the topic of non-human participants, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens there. Two years ago we tried planting tomatoes beside the barn, and they were eaten almost to the ground just as they were ready to harvest by unknown neighbors.
        At that time, we were only out there a few times a week.
        We still haven’t had time to fence the area, but the joint is jumping with human activity. I’m hoping that will encourage the critters who took everything to look elsewhere.
        I am willing to share, but I’d like some too.

      • Have you thought of using an electric fence? I know it is not always so aesthetic but a well maintained one keeps the critters off. We have to do that or we wouldn’t have an orchard or we have to build a very big even less aesthetic post and wire fence. I am hoping that eventually we can grow a stock-proof hedge but that is going to take time. Even thought of a willow hedge too but again it will take time.

  3. This could be one of my favorite posts. Your “intentions” are from the heart and don’t forget, we all go through a bit pain when growing. Not everything left to its own devices flourishes.

  4. Thanks, Lorijo.
    I’m feeling that pain this morning (lower back). I’m not going to lift any timbers today.
    Joking aside, thanks for the reminder.

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