Sunday Homestead Update: Big Digging

Another full week on the farm.  We have continued to harvest and can or freeze the garden produce.  We continue to enjoy fresh salads from the garden.  The baby rabbits and chicks continue to grow.  The grown animals are all doing good.  All is well around here.

The “new-and-different” news is that we are borrowing a tractor that has a back-hoe for the next couple weeks.  So we are working on all our big digging projects.

The first one was to put in the culvert that our driveway has so desperately needed since the flooding of 2013.  We all had fun using the back-hoe to dig the ditch and get that put in place.  The little ones sat on husband’s lap, but oldest boy was able to do it himself.  I even took a turn – those things are a lot harder to manipulate than they look! – although I bet with some practice they become like an extension of one’s own arm and hand.

The next three big digging projects are homestead dreams: a root cellar, a smokehouse, and a greenhouse.

There are pros and cons to digging these things in the Rockies….mostly cons.  The biggest con is obvious – they don’t call them the Rockies for nothing!  It is really hard to dig around here because everywhere you try to dig you hit rocks.  Not your run-of-the-mill big rocks…BIG rocks.  Like a “boulder as big as a car” type rocks.  And when you hit rock, there is really nothing that can be done short of blasting, which is not really an option.  Most houses built here require some amount of blasting for the foundation – the rocks are everywhere.

SO…when one wants to dig a root cellar, this can be a problem.  However, the one pro of being in the mountains is that pretty much everywhere you look is a slope to dig into.  You don’t have to seek out a hill to dig your root cellar into – everything is a hill, or really a mountainside.  And if you get lucky enough to find a rock-free spot you can dig a nice root cellar into the slope.

I think we have found such an area on our property, and it isn’t too far from the house either.  We have begun the digging process for the root cellar and will continue to work on it this week.  It doesn’t look like much yet, but I will keep you posted as we build it.  We are planning to use pallets, some spare beam wood we have, plus an old barn door to make the root cellar.

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We will also be using the back-hoe to dig the hole and ditch for a smoke house, and if we have time we will dig the hole for the greenhouse as well.

A lot of digging to do!  And the start of some of the projects we have been dreaming about for years.  Very fun!

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