The weather for our Week Four field day was beautiful. It was not too hot or too cold, so we left to head for the site excited for our first full day of work without rain. Once on the property however, we soon discovered that the road to the site was flooded, making it impassable for our trucks. It was decided that we would try to walk upstream to a dam that had been put in in the hopes that we could cross the stream there and make it to the site. After a walk down train tracks, through some woods, and across a little stream of water, we were able to walk across the dam and make our way to the site.
It had rained considerably the day before, so the main unit was filled with water, so we worked together to empty the units and then removed the tarp which was them placed in a nearby field to dry. After this, our work could really begin for the day.
My day consisted of working to level out the southeast quadrant of Unit 15, the unit that I helped to lay out in Week 2. We worked to lower it to 40 cm below the datum (cmbd). The way that we measure elevation is by using a laser level. We use the sensor and a foldable ruler and then find out how much distance is between the ground and the laser. The datum stays on a cinder block that does not move so that it can be sensed all over the site by the sensors and it does not change heights from day to day. As we scraped the dirt using the shovels and then our trowels, we collected it in buckets, which we then take to screen in our ¼” screen. So far, in our removal of Level 1, which is the plowzone, we have found one rock, a walnut, and a lot of roots. We were able to get most of our 1x1 unit level and at the right depth, but the outer sides of the 1x1 still need to be evened out since they will be the actual sides of Unit 15 when it is completely opened and lowered.
Elsewhere other units were being worked on in a similar method. In Unit 15, the northwest quadrant diagonal to the quadrant I was working on is also being opened up. They are facing a challenge with that quadrant because there was a tree growing halfway in the unit, so there are a lot of roots in the 1x1, which they are having to contend with. Over next to the wall, a 1x3 unit (Unit 14) was measured out and then started getting opened up in an attempt to stop any more loss of the wall from the collapsing that has been happening.
Unfortunately, we did have to start packing up a little bit early because of the long walk back to the trucks, but overall it was a productive day and things are really starting to get moving. When we were tarping the open units (which we do to prevent rain from getting into them) the wind proved to be tough to contend with and the giant tarp did not want to flatten itself down into the units, but eventually we were able to get the tarp into the units and weigh it down with buckets of back dirt. The tarp has to be placed into the block, and not just over it, because we don’t want to fight with the water, we want the water to collect in the tarp to protect the block.
We put our tools away in the toolbox and made our way back to the trucks, the day over.