To all of our friends, old and new, who helped us to clear the sites at Haven in preparation for grading, thank you!
To Matt, Randy, and all the others at Pihl Excavating whose skill, professionalism, devotion to the care of the earth, and kind consideration continue to move me, thank you!
To the engineers whose site design seemed to conserve as much of the natural and monetary resources as the county would let you, our thanks.
I had expected the final result to be structurally sound and functional. I had not expected it to be beautiful. I am delighted and amazed.
Let's go for a tour, shall we?
Here is a view of the entrance to our new driveway in the distance, from Scofield Road northbound:
And a closer look:
The approach is more hidden from the other direction on Scofield, just on the other side of a fairly blind curve -- the way we normally approach Haven:
From there, the driveway curves gracefully uphill...
.. going between two stands of maple that serve as a gateway to the dwelling site:
From there we can turn to look back downhill between the gateway trees toward Scofield Road (see below). It was a sunny fall day, and I was wishing for a leaf-blower to get the fallen leaves off the new drive. I didn't even have a rake with me!
The photo below was taken from the northeast corner of the dwelling pad, facing south. The entrance of the driveway onto the pad can be seen. The railroad runs about fifty-plus feet behind the row of trees in the south. The sacred grounds where we buried Galadriel (from whence I watched the grading), are reached by entering the woods at the far corner of the building pad in the upper left of the picture:
Turning to look behind me, we see the pile of long Maple and Cherry logs we sealed and saved for possible roundwood construction purposes (below):
Turning back, we see below the view from the same northeast corner vantage point, across the dwelling pad toward the far southwest corner. Our van is parked on the "hammerhead" turn-around, sufficient to allow access and turning by the large fire trucks, in case we ever have a fire. You can see the driveway as it goes westward through the dwelling pad toward the pad for the barn. Beyond and to the right of the van is a stand of remaining native woodland between the two building pads.
In the next picture, we see the dwelling pad from atop the bank on the northeastern corner, looking toward the corner from which the previous pictures were taken -- see the pile of roundwood? Here one can get a better idea of the size of the dwelling pad.
Both in the picture above and the one below, we can see that the south portion of the dwelling pad is faintly greener. The greener area will be the garden area, which we planted to clover seed for winter cover. The clover was just beginning to sprout, and it was rather late in the season to expect it to reach full growth before the cold enforced dormancy.
In the next photo, I looked up from the dwelling pad to show some of the very tall Douglas Fir trees to the north. There is a smaller, beautiful Western Red Cedar among the deciduous trees in front of them.
The potted clerodendrom below sits out of harm's way in the pronaeus of the sacred grounds, marked by a couple of old discarded railroad ties. Hopefully we will find a place for this tree and plant it this coming year.
A small bright green frog was hanging out on Galadriel's grave. In ancient Europe, frogs were seen as symbols of the fetus, and were symbols of one of the many life-giving aspects of the Goddess.
My view from the sacred grounds is much changed now from what it had been in the early parts of the grading process:
At the northwest of the dwelling pad, the driveway continues on past a copse of woodland toward the building pad for the barn/shop (see below). We also stacked logs of roundwood there, but they are unsealed, and so will likely be used for firewood, or other purposes requiring less structural strength. Off to the right of the driveway is a large pile of excellent topsoil, covered in plastic sheeting to keep it from washing away in the rains.
The huge old Maple tree (below) is one that made its considerable Presence known when we first came to see this land. It seems a very important spirit here at Haven, and I'm very glad that it was spared when the grading was done and driveway built.
The photo below shows the building pad as seen from the driveway entrance:
Crossing the building pad, I climbed the bank and snapped a shot of the view from above the far southwest corner. From here one can see the markers for a future 30'x40' structure...
...and beyond it, the tall trees north of the graded areas...
...and the alder grove between the two building pads:
Finally we made our way to the end of the driveway at the far northwest corner of the barn building pad, and looked back toward the dwelling pad:
Earlier in the season, before the leaves started to turn color, we celebrated the (near-)completion of the grading with some of the people who had helped us with the clearing, here in the barn/shop pad:
It is a good place.
Haven's foundation is laid well, and beautifully. Now we turn to building!