Sunday, January 3, 2016

Backyard Project: Tom arrives with his excavator

Next on the Backyard Project schedule is the earthworks and garden bed building.
Tom Mann, Pioneer Excavating, arrived with his huge excavator.

Ron and I made up a flow chart to synchronise the order the jobs needed to be done. It was a useful exercise for us because we had to make lots of decisions and it clarified what needed to be done. We took Tom around the site to explain each of the tasks and that was all he needed. He knew the task order because he understands the capability and size of his machine so well and he has had a lot of experience with this type of project.

Task 1: Move the piles of wood.
I was amazed when Tom moved the 2 piles in 4 scoops after it had taken Ron and me many hours to collect up and stack the wood.

Task 2: Remove 2 Cryptomeria trees.
These trees would continue to grow much larger causing long shadows across the sunniest areas where we want to grow food. They are a Japanese mountain tree and don't fit within our ecosystem. According to permaculture philosophy, they are not multifunctional enough in this location.
Tom's machine made short work pulling them out and crunching them up (see the above image).

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Task 3: Getting the logs out of the pile.
Tom's excavator has a hand-like attachment he manoeuvres with great skill and delicacy.
We didn't want compaction around the sensitive root areas of the trees. Tom's huge excavator has a very long reach so he didn't have to go far before he was able to reach in between the tree trunks and carefully pick up a number of logs.


Ron and Tom inspect what is left after the solid logs have been removed. The rotten pieces will be invaluable when added to topsoil to make the new garden beds. Tom went back in and cleared out most of this material as well, leaving some as food for the standing trees.

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