Filling seven 24 inch high raised beds with a hugelkultur mix of deadwood, compost materials, plus native soil had the additional benefit of preparing for my partially buried cabin-in-dreaming.
I have also been digging footings for the slab foundation, and that larger gravel has softened the steep, sharp, right-angle corner of my driveway that I could not negotiate after our 40 inch snowfall last winter. Not even after shoveling! I hope my softened corner is easier to navigate this winter.
I creep forward in digging my footings, but still have a problem. Smack in the middle of my cabin-in-dreaming location is a dump truck load of crusher fines (gravel).
Three years ago I started making a curved pathway using rocks from uphill as edgers, slices of trashy carpet from my trailerstead as a weed base, and crusher fines for the pathway. I can now see this curvy path that winds around my evergreen trees from Google Earth. One time Google Earth caught me walking out there. A weird feeling to be caught in my yard by a spy in the sky.
Behind the big gravel pile still left, you can see that I have dug the walls out pretty clean. Part is sandy but part is mostly calcium carbonate that is harder to dig. To the right is where the cabin will end and the terracing begins. I bring rocks down from uphill and nearly have the lowest terrace finished. These rocks require a utility dolly and the hill is steep. Here is another view:
This view is to the right of the previous photo, the rocks stack 20 inches high. These are as big as I can move. I have already started digging the hill behind to fill in behind the rocks, and terrace one will be just over 3 feet wide. Today I brought one rock downhill to mark terrace two.
This photo shows a little more clearly where I have dug for terrace 2. This level will be 2 stones high just like terrace 1. I have always admired the mountain terraces in China, where simple folks terraced entire mountains for their gardens. I never intended to try it myself!
Now that I have finished digging out my cabin-in-dreaming and 8×12 root cellar, I have to remove that pile of gravel to finish my footings. Back to making pathways! Plus I need more edging rocks from uphill. Those I put in my Homer bucket and carry a few down at a time.
This may be the slowest home building project ever, but the entire space is small. The cabin will be about 14×36 feet tucked into the hill and the root cellar will be about 8×14 feet. The space including sunken garden is around 36×48 feet.
Few have encouraged me on this project and few are positive about my food forest. I hear their concerns about a woman alone in the mountains; however, I never found a partner that wanted to live in the boonies and create anything like my life dream. Shoulda coulda woulda stepped out 20+ years ago. If you have a dream, get on the stick before you are sixty!
I didn’t manage to get back to the wilds of Alaska or the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest, but a food forest in the mountains of New Mexico is pretty awesome. More digging to come!