Sunday and Monday was spent finishing the trenches. We needed to dig them a bit deeper so that when the pipe was in the ground and covered, it would be deep enough to go over with the car on a daily basis without risking the pipe cracking.
The trenching wouldn’t have been so bad except that our entire yard (and pretty much all of Provence) is entirely made of rock. We ran into rocks continuously and it really slowed our process. Both Dude and I couldn’t believe the size of rocks that were coming out of the ground. By the time we were done digging, we found enough rock to build a whole new house!
The good rocks were transported to the back of our lot and we now have a rock garden. We also found asphalt, dishes, roof tiles, a fossil and some bones. Man, the crazy stuff you find in your yard when you’re digging around!
Once the trench was to the depth that Dude thought was good, 25 centimeters on the down side by the gate, we put the pipe together and checked to see if it was level. We had to check, trench, check, trench and check and trench some more before we finally got the pipe to lie correctly so the water would flow properly. Then we wrapped the pipe is some weed barrier to stop the dirt from getting into the holes and only allow the water in.
Then we proceeded to start covering everything back up.
On Monday, Dude connected the pipes together at the entrance of the gate. Since we have two pipes running parallel the length of the drive way, we needed some way to connect them so that they would eventually hook up in one spot with the pipe the city would put in.
After spending some time on that, and a few runs to the material store, the connection was complete and we proceeded to cover the remaining pipe and start to level out the terrain.
Around 3pm, two men from the building department arrived at our house. I had gone to the building department last week to have someone come out to the house from the service technique so they could see the street leading to our house. I mentioned in my last post that one of our problems was that the water can’t exit our property. There was never any drainage put into the street by the city when they made the street and also, the street is now so old and bad that all the water runs into our property instead of away from it.
We showed all of our pictures to the city workers. The ones of the flooding and the ones of the work we had done. They were very nice and surprisingly said that someone would be out to survey the street and to evaluate what needs to be done for proper drainage and water runoff. They made no promises of when the work would be done, but at least we got the ball rolling with them (that’s what Dude said).
Once they left it was back to fixing the terrain so the water would flow properly (as much as possible) in the correct directions and down the drain pipes. Dude also cemented in the drive over drain box that we put in next to where the rain gutter ends.
Now it looks like we were ready for the 10 tons of gravel to arrive!
Today was the day we really got down to business digging the trenches in the yard.
First stop was to the local material store to pick up some drainage pipe. Benoit had to tough it out and help us along with getting the stuff home. Our poor car has been through the ringer since we moved to this house. He’s had to do more than Renault ever expected him to do. As always he was a trooper and we made it home, materials and all and didn’t even get a ticket for illegal use of a car :). Good thing we only needed 4 tubes or we would have had to go back for another pickup.
Once home, Dude and I got to work digging the trenches. We are running two of them down the sides of the yard and they are going to tie into each other and then tie into the drainage pipe that the city comes to put in.
Who knew you could do so much with these three little tools.
Dude’s job was to use the pick to break up the top layer of the drive way, turn the dirt up and get the rocks out. Then my job was taking the trenching shovel and getting all the dirt out.
While Dude was busy doing his part of the job, I went to work picking the delicious cherries off of our tree. We have so many that there is no way I will be able to get them all. Lately the birds have been stopping by to feast so I figured that we should try to get our fair share before they’re gone. I ended up picking almost half of a bucket today and that was only off of 4 branches!
Then it was back to scooping dirt for me.
We were able to get all the trenching done today and tomorrow we just have to fine tune it and then level the driveway out. I’d say we were pretty successful. Let’s hope tomorrow our luck holds out.
Oh, and by the end of the day, Dude was done in.
Dude and I have been taking a bit of a break when it comes to the renovation of our house. We wanted to enjoy the spring weather, save a bit of money and plus, we were just plain sick of working on the house!
It’s been a nice couple of months and we would have taken a few more weeks off but this past weekend we were forced by nature to start up the work again.
Last weekend it decided to rain every evening in our village for four evenings straight. I’m not talking a few raindrops here and there, I’m talking a torrential downpour for about 45 minutes and then it would clear out like it never happened. Then the next morning we would wake to a beautiful blue sky and sunny day. Come 7pm though, look out, the storm would show up again. It was crazy! There would be thunder, lightning and we even had hail one evening!
After the third day of this, guess what??! Our brand new roof that we just had done in February started to leak around the roof window and the leak was running down to the far edge of the house and water was seeping through one of the bedroom walls! We called out the company who did the roof and they came out on Tuesday morning to assess the damage. They are suppose to come back sometime in June to fix the leak. Good thing we didn’t paint the top floor, yet!
Another big surprise was this.
Now, I didn’t buy a house with a pool, but voila, I now had one in my yard over the weekend. Dude and I took the photos to the Maire and they are sending someone out to the house because even though part of the problem is that our lot is flat with no proper drainage, the other problem we encountered is that even if we did have proper drainage, all the water would pool high at the front gate because the city never put in a brow ditch or drainage system in the street.
So, sometime next week the service technique of our town is going to show up so they can survey the street and put in a drainage system and fix the street since it is at a higher level than our terrain. This is also a contributing factor in the water pooling. In the meantime, Dude and I are digging some trenches in the yard to put in proper drainage. That’s a job! Confession time-he is doing most of the work, I am only the helper.
Tomorrow we are off to the store to go buy drainage pipe to lie in the trenches and at least start getting the drainage system in place before the service technique shows up. The Maire said we had to show that we were in the process of fixing the area within our property line before the city will do their part.
The other thing we did on Wednesday morning was to go and visit a rock query that is near our village. Once the drainage system is in place we are going to re-gravel the garden and entire entry way to our property. We found some red marble rock and ordered 3 tons of that for the garden area and then ordered some cheaper gravel for the entry way. In all we have 10 tons of gravel coming to our house next Wednesday!
So between trench digging, laying drainage pipe and re-graveling our terrain, it’s going to be a busy week.
This evening we met our new neighbor who bought the house to us on the right. She happened to drive up as we were trench digging and I wanted to let her know that a truck was coming next week to drop the 10 tons of gravel and it was going to block her gate for a day or two. It turns out she speaks English! Apparently she was married to an Englishman so she speaks it very well. Dude and I ended up chatting with her for about an hour. She just got the keys to her house yesterday and came by to drop stuff off. She gave us the tour of the house and guess what??!! She has a crumbling fixer-upper like us! Big surprise!!! We will both be crying on each other’s shoulders throughout all the work 🙂
She also happens to be an artist and showed us a few of her paintings. She has some gorgeous ones of the region with villages off in the distance and surrounded by lavender fields. Dude and I were very impressed.
After show and tell of her house, we showed and telled ours and guess what??!! She said she almost bought our house when it was for sale! Yup! Can you believe it!! Her kids told her it was too big for one person so she declined, but she did say that she had loved it when she first saw it. 🙂
Seeing that she got her own fixer upper (one half the size) with a large garden, she made out and she can see our garden from some of her windows so she seemed happy. We told her she could come and visit any time.
Dude was super happy cuz he kept thinking that some developer would buy that house and make a huge ugly group of apartments and then we would up and die. Seems that our lives have been spared and we now have a nice neighbor, which is always a plus.
Well, time to hit the hay. I have to get to some ditch digging manana!