January 4, 2008—Awash!

I left for the job at 10:30 am in the teeth of a terrific storm. Out on the freeway, I found out that the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was closed because of tipped-over big rigs. Taking a much longer alternate route to the site involved driving over a pitted and waterlogged causeway along the Bay in the driving rain. At least, I thought, the site is on a hill and I will be above from sea level.

Alas, hills have their hazards as well—such as mudslides. When I arrived at the cottage, I could see that the steepest part of the bank behind the cottage had failed. I was so glad we had put up the little retaining wall because without that, this would have been a real disaster. With the wall, it is a small clean-up job and another couple of courses on that corner.


Mud from the slide has covered up a drain in the back of the cottage, leading to drainage problems. Water which should drain down the rear drain is now flowing toward the front of the cottage and down the driveway carrying with it a lot of expensive DG. The substrate of compacted road base seems to be holding up.

I learned of a new technique with DG which is to mix a bag of portland cement to each yard of DG, lay it down, water it, then roll it with a lawn roller. It then sets up pretty much like concrete. I would like to try it when we repair the damage here—maybe in one patch to see how it holds up. The DG looks terrific in the summer, but in the wet, it erodes and sticks to your shoes to be tracked into buildings.

Here you see water swirling around the two front roof drains and flowing toward where I am standing.

This shot makes me very glad we have a sturdy slab!
Following the stream around the building to look at the back . . .
. . . we come upon twin ponds, one behind the barn . . .
. . . and one behind the cottage.
Once again, I realize that putting in the retaining wall was worth every penny I paid my assistant and more! He and I had discussed putting on an extra course or two around that vulnerable corner. It was too late to do it before the storm, but we will definitely be doing it now, just as soon as the mud is cleaned up.

One reason I braved the rain today was to bring up our new rug. We had looked at this rug before Christmas, but were too busy to buy it, and on the internet, they only had a very large one for sale.

Jim got into the store last week and bought the last one of this size, which arrived Thursday wrapped up in heavy plastic. We thought if we undid it, we wouldn’t be able to get it wrapped up like that again, so rather than undoing it, I decided to wait until I got it into the cottage.

I am very happy with it. One of the colors in it is the same as the couch color, so it will help to pull the colors of the room together.

You can see by how much water is in the wheelbarrow—which was empty before the storm—how much rain we have had in one day.
The cardboard is still in its tarp, hopefully not too wet to use.
For more disaster shots from January 4, click here  
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