October-November 2012

After bringing the VW van back to Ontario, I had lots of stuff to do on the house with a tight timeline since I was going to be heading back to Newfoundland for the Christmas holidays. My initial activities were split between finishing up the trim on window frames in the main part of the house, and staining and varnishing them. I then alternated to fabricating more patio blocks to surface the area between screen porch platform and the workshop wall.

The first task in preparation for the patio blocks was to cut some of the interlocking bricks down the middle with my wet diamond saw. Putting them together on the boundary gave me a nice straight edge for the transition to the patio blocks. I also was working at installing the plywood frames for the windows in the workshop/garage.

On my agenda was getting the landscaping done with the removal of what Elena called “Hoekman Mountain” in the back yard to make the topsoil grading around the house. This included filling the low spot in the back corner which periodically became “Lake Hoekman”. After discussion with my dirt moving contractor and measurement of the actual grade differences around the lot, and initial plan to install a drainage tile, was replaced with production of a drainage swale which would lead the precipitation runoff to the storm drain at the front of my property.

One of the first tasks when the earth moving equipment arrived was to move the interlocking paving bricks which I had acquired earlier for the driveway, to a location nearer the driveway. These were “walk-on” supplies, A guy drove by one day and asked if I was interested in paving bricks, and I replied if they match the house and the price is right. So he brought me a couple samples, and after a bit of dickering, for $500 I had them and he delivered them to me on pallets.

Then it was on to the big job, distributing the stockpiled topsoil which was in two piles on the south side of the house and garage/workshop. There were two machine at it, and mini digger and a skid steerer. The following gallery shows the progress as they moved dirt to taper the landscape from the house out into the back yard. Some was moved around to the front yard to even out the landscape there tapering to the driveway. The rest went into evening out the low spot in the back corner referred to by some as Lake Hoekman, when there was big rain or big snow melt.

The next day they finished the job and created the drainage swale to take the water away from the low spot in the back to the storm sewer drain in front of the garage. After everything had been leveled out and some rain fallen, I found another bit of archeology, the broken bowl of a clay pipe which I believe was a 19th century artefact.

When this was finished, and I had sung another years version of Messiah with London Pro Musica and Symphony London, it was off to Newfoundland for the holidays on December 7.


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