Stone and rock
Oohhh, I remember so well how I put some plants in the garden in the Netherlands ….. I grabbed a small garden shovel, dug a hole, put a plant in it, and that was it. Well, things are a little different here. I take a shovel, say a little prayer, put the shovel in the ground for a whole 2 centimeters, hit a rock, try half a meter to the left, hit a rock, try half a meter to the right, hit a rock, call my husband, get a pickaxe, my hubby is hacking away for half an hour to break the rock, then I put soil in the hole, put a plant in it, and THEN I’m done :).
Yes, that’s the way it is here. We live on one big rock. Dig out a hole for a cellar? You need an excavator with breaker, digging and hacking for a whole week. It hammers all day long so you can still hear the »boom boom boom« in your head at night, lying in bed. Luckily we have two excavators in the village so we don’t need to call any company to bring one over ;).
My parents bought a plot against the hill in our village, to build their house on. The excavator started very enthusiastically, but that did not last long. Ultimately, a company had to deploy 30 bars of dynamite to blow up the rock. We were all excited that we would see an explosion like that ….. what a disappointment :(. A large piece of special cloth was placed over the area and in the end, we only heard a »pouf« and the canvas went up 20 centimeters, haha. That was it. Not really spectacular, but then they could finally start the construction of their house.
The ground here really consists almost entirely of stone and rock, which also has its advantages of course. Our house barely has a foundation because it has nowhere to go, haha. But there are also openings between all that stone. We have already found 3 »sinkholes« on our plot, holes between the rocks. I found that to be pretty scary at first.
Under the old shed, opposite our house, there’s a huge hole of at least 3 meters deep and a circumference of one and a half meters. In the past, this was used in a handy way, as a drain for the »poop shed« ;). Everything disappears in that hole, unbelievable. We have now run a concrete gutter from the road to the hole for the rainwater so that, when it rains very hard, all the water runs into that hole. Not a drop of water remains, while it flows in with liters at a time! We live on a sand path and when it rains heavily, all that water washes away half the road. Now that the water drains into the hole, the road remains a lot better.
Last week, Bine was busy building the new cellar. He does all this with boulders because that is also an advantage of living on a rock; we always have enough rocks to build with! For free :). He has already built a lot with those rocks, such as the fence of my vegetable garden, our terrace, various stairs, the water well …. etc.
And now the cellar. He had to dig out a little bit more in order to finish the stairs, but when he took out a piece of stone, he suddenly looked into a hole of a few meters deep. So weird. And who knows how far that hole continues down there. Of course, we cannot see that, because it does not go straight down. He thought to fill the hole with sand. After three wheelbarrows, it was clear that was not going to work. It was like a drop of water in the desert. Then he started throwing pieces of stone into it. First smaller ones, to drop them as far down as possible, then bigger ones. Slowly but surely the gap started to fill up. He spent at least 3 hours on it. He filled the last part with concrete so that he could then build on it again.
Bine has become quite handy in bricklaying with stone and rock. It is really like doing a puzzle, because those stones, naturally, have all kinds of shapes and sizes. It is not just bricking stones together. It is looking for just the right block of stone that fits, turning and trying and measuring….. In addition, it is of course also very heavy work, because those things weigh a ton! And he really doesn’t just use those little chunks!
I think it is incredible what he has already done in this way. And it also looks very beautiful and natural. We love it. The cellar is already starting to come together. He even managed to get an original (antique?), typical, oak door frame with a round top that he is now building in. It will be beautiful!
When the bricklaying is finished, a concrete ceiling is poured on top and then half a meter of soil is being placed on there so that the cellar will be completely underground, exactly as it should be. Then I can start to pickle all of my own, home-grown, fruit and vegetables so that I can store the pots in the new cellar where they will be preserved, dark and cool :).