There are few things as primal, as childlike, as digging big holes in the dirt, and building things with rock.

The excavation has been less junk-filled as our work last summer.  Our yard backs up to the original farmhouse from the area, so we've been known to find odd stuff.  Like the bell-housing of a model-A Ford (did I not mentioned that last year?).  A canning jar lid (serendipitous).  Toys.  Lots of bottles and broken glass. 

But except for a bunch of nails and a plastic squirt gun, this run of digging has led mostly to just ROCKS.  The irony of digging up rocks to build a retaining wall is not lost on us.  We're not sure if it's an old wall that was buried, or if our yard was a receptacle for a lot of field stone over the years?  Most likely the landscaping methods of the 1950s were a little sketchy.

The rocks also explain the highly effective tunnel system of the chipmunks.  We expected to find this, as the "chippie" population in our yard is quite high, and we find their holes everywhere.  We joked that the hill would be an epic prairie dog burrow, and we weren't wrong. The dog has now learned the phrase "hey, look at this one!" and has spent a lot of time poking his head into holes and snuffing.

Food storage, or just slobs?  Thankfully, we have seen ZERO living creatures in the bunker: they have taken the hint and moved on.
What I didn't realize is that the large quantity of stone created the base for all these tunnels, which wound around the rocks.  I also felt a small amount of guilt when I realized that the chipmunks, like the humans that shared their land, had a propensity for food storage.  Every burrow is stuffed with maple and sunflower seeds.  And they are sprouting!  (Tiny rodent farmers!). 

But, these critters are also known for eating every last decent strawberry, and have the dubious habit of sampling the first ripe tomatoes of the year, so I am not going to feel too guilty.  I'm pretty sure over the years we have created more habitat than we've destroyed, and I know for sure there's a lot more to eat with us around.

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  1. That is an amazing project! We fund lots of interesting buried treasure, too. Mostly marbles and broken glass/bottles.

    Great job!

  2. That looks like a tremendous amount of digging. I'm so impressed! And that wall looks fantastic!

    Oh... and I hate chipmunks. They may be cute but I think I'm going to declare war!

  3. Wow, Sara, that is a serious project. I can see why Donn was not unhappy to take a little bike ride into town on Saturday. Great to meet you both. Happy digging!


  4. Ali: Thanks! Finding treasure does make the digging more fun

    Judy: Thanks! The digging goes faster than you think, but we're pretty amazed at the end of the day.

    Brett: It was such a pleasure to meet you, we had a nice relaxed morning and got a lot done after--a perfect day :)

  5. We wait: what am I saying? *I* hit a buried water line with my tiller on Sunday. A stub-up, apparently. That was a racket, and it was buried down of course 48" or so...through trash. It was fun to pull up though because it just gushed with water. The kid thought it was fun, that's for sure. Treasure, you know.

    But you're doing hand-tool stuff; much more tough!

  6. El: Oh dear! That sounds like an event and a half.

    Yeah, doing it by hand has disadvantages, but then I think of hitting all those stones with a tiller! Plus it forces you to do everything in small measures, which means you don't get in over your head too easily--it kind of forces you to be deliberate about things (theoretically).


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