As the weather began to break we began thinking, hoping and praying that we would sell our home and be able to start building. We also knew that even if we didn't sell our house we would want to spend more time there, so we wanted to make part of the barn a place we could stay overnight without dealing with the tents. So we decided to make part of the barn into living space. The first thing to do was to finish cleaning out the north half of the barn and set some support posts. Todd started this work in early April.
The following is from an email I sent on April 5.
"We now have a moving water feature at the property.
I spent the majority of today digging ditches. If I did it for a living I'd be in much better shape--right now everything hurts.
It was so wet --not as wet as we had been warned, but lots of places that we completely dry in the fall were under water now-- in the normal parking area that Todd got the red van stuck this morning. We had talked about some drainage and today seemed to be a good day to work outside. It couldn't have been nicer weather.
The spring thaw and some rain made property wet While Todd worked in the barn and the children explored I tried to get some of the wet places to drain into the existing drainage ditches. The main one flowed north almost to the barn then turned west northwest toward the front edge of the property. There is a river just north of the property that it finally drains into.
I started at the garage door bridge where the ditch turns and using a spade dug a 8-18" wide trench or drainage ditch to where the big oil drums that are soldered together sit. It is about a foot deep in most places. I have a few branch lines (per Daniel), but tried to keep the main ditch along the tree line.
Sophie (neighbor dog) was very interested in what I was digging up and even helped a bit. I have some roots that need cut out of the "river" but we didn't have the appropriate tools with us.
Daniel is responsible for these pictures. He loved the project, although didn't help much. He said it was like "a railroad track only for boats."
Before we left the waterline on the barrels had dropped almost 2 inches. We are going back tomorrow with more concrete for setting the rest of the center posts. (Todd didn't get the holes dug for the north wall posts because the ground is still frozen.) I am very interested to see how much the water drains. If I can move tomorrow I will work draining on the fire pit area which is also underwater.
We got home bathed everyone--not everyone got bathed in warm water-- and I ran off to Wal-mart to buy myself some boots like the children all have so my feet won't be wet again all day like they were today.
The children went to sleep with amazing ease tonight. They all had fun splashing in puddles and enjoying the warm sun, finally. Natalie didn't whine too much and found things to occupy herself better than ever. Tabitha loved the puddles and wondered away from me to go see what the older children were doing more than I liked, but it shows how she is growing up. Josie would wander off and I could see her just sitting in the sun in. The big hit was finding frogs in the "pond" (aka the double wide site). Mary kept up with the big kids until the late afternoon and then she was just too tired. She rested in Josie's "apartment" (aka chicken stall of the barn) on the bed Josie had made out of scraps.
I hope everyone else enjoyed the first beautiful day of the spring.
(end of email)
Sunday we went back and water marks showed that the water level had dropped more than 2 inches. I continued my ditch, with sore muscles from the previous days work, north past the drive. I got stuck in an area where there used to be a corn crib--the roots were thicker and there was not an obvious path for the water to drain. My drain remains even though the area is dry how. Hopefully next spring that area won't get so wet.
I hope that was coherent. I cut and pasted a couple things together. I just was telling Natalie, go to bed if you try to work on your project this late you will make more mistakes. Guess I'd better heed my own advice. We are starting to move things out tomorrow so I will need my energy.