We walked the cleared area on The Mountain early Thursday morning with our site contractor, before the heavy equipment got moving, to establish the formal and final boundaries of the driveway. He marked the ground with orange spray paint.
As we came ’round the bend near the north end of the site, I was distracted by a red cedar seedling. Tied to its slender trunk was a length of flagging tape, once bright yellow but now bleached gray-white by the sun. I paused briefly to snap a picture.
That tattered piece of plastic represented something special to Deb and me.
It was one year ago today that we parked Mercy by the side of the road, armed ourselves with a machete and pruning shears and plunged into those woods. Over several hours we tied dozens of strips of flagging tape around trees, laying out our dream on The Mountain.
We chose the spot for the house, which at the time we thought would be a 16′-by-50′ pre-assembled “shed.” (That changed, of course — it’ll be a stick-built “kit” house.) Yes, we traced the driveway, too, and that ended up being pretty damned close to what was built two days ago.
The marker I found fluttering in the breeze on Thursday survived this latest round of construction, perhaps accidentally, falling just outside a stripe of orange paint.
When the work was finished yesterday, the base laid for the driveway elevated the downhill side by almost four feet. The “structural clay,” as our site guy calls it, was put down in several layers or “lifts,” each of which was compacted before the next was laid. The result is more solid than most people imagine that clay could be.
And considering that it all was done in a single day — 400 feet long and 15 feet wide (20 feet wide where it curves toward the road) — it’s clear that we chose the right people for the job.
I’ve included a video (below) showing what the homesite looked like before (in March) and after.
It’s hard not to smile as we look back at what’s unfolded since we set those flags 12 months ago. We’ve had our share of frustration, that’s for sure, and it’s safe to say that we expected to be farther along by now. We’re making real progress, though. It looks like we’ll see more next week — stay tuned.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.