Thursday 2 December 2010

Snow fosse

Today we woke up to find it was snowing again. Not heavily, but enough to put a further thin layer onto what was already there. We are at the top of a ridge and north of us is the valley of the Aigronne, a trout stream. Looking across to the other side of the valley from my study window, everything is most definitely white.

looking NE over the filter bed to Eric's field
and the other side of the valley

This unusual cold spell kicked in just as the fosse septique project started so we were worried that it would interfere with the digging out of the filter bed and hole for the tank. Amazingly, until now it hasn't stopped the work though today the dumper truck and digger are silent--they won't start--to do with the cold.

Nevertheless, so far this week Ken has dug out the fosse hole--large enough for the 3 cubic meter tank near the house, and then the 4 by 5 meter filter bed. Niall and I made sure there was a steady stream of mugs of hot tea while he battled with the very stroppy calcaire. So good news: the septic tank is in, embedded in sand and the filter bed is 1/2 filled with its layers. The next stage will be connecting the tank to the house and laying a pipe from the tank to the filter bed.

calcaire chunks next to
embedded septic tank
 As a result of all this digging we have some huge mounds of spoil. Prep work had shown that our property sits on a pretty impressive slab of calcaire which is only covered by about 60/70cm of clay and top soil so we knew that what would have to be dug out wouldn't be pretty.

And it wasn't..... we seem to have enough calcaire to set up in business as a mini quarry. Some of the chunks are huge. A rockery anyone?? For now, the covering of snow has, however softened everything.

Apart from the unexpected winter weather the challenge is what to do with this amount of spoil. Believe me when I say it is a lot; you can't just hide it under a bush! So after a fair bit of discussion we decided the spoil will form a low sloped bank on our side of the boundary with the neighbouring parcel of woodland, which is owned by people in the village.  Our house does not sit on 'un terrain clos' (visibly enclosed by fencing or similar); but rather the property has more natural boundaries of adjoining fields and copses with 'bornes' (boundary markers) at strategic points in the ground. This setting is one of the things which appealed to us when we first saw the house back in April.

looking towards the back
of the house over calcaire spoil heap
So with the work outside on 'pause' we decided to clean the snow off the car and see if we could get out to our local supermarket. The 'chemin rual' (country lane)  which leads to the 'lieu-dit' (a small group of houses) where we live, dead-ends at our house and isn't properly paved. Thankfully we have 4x4 and it wasn't a problem as long as we were careful.

As we passed through Preuilly our nearest small town -- or large village --we aren't sure which, we saw that they were putting the finishing touches to the Christmas decorations in the main streets and readying the Christmas tree outside of the post office.

Evidently there is more snow forecast for this evening so we'll see how things pan out tomorrow.


Susan said...

Technically Preuilly is a small town. And the decos went up to quite a bit of muttering from residents about the commune's priorities when there were roads to be ploughed or gritted.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Susan: I'm not suprised at the mutterings. We saw very little gritting or ploughing done when we were out. They'd gritted the hill bit past the new chateau on the Azay le Feron to Charnizay road which we take into the village but nothing else that we could see. It looked quite odd a sudden 'patch' of clear road. But we have no decorations (so far)either in our village.