Two Blondes on a Build Story #5: The Long & Winding Driveway part 1

Hello friends!

Greetings from Ontario, Canada. I am writing this post, while sitting in the living room of Brett’s mum’s house in Kenora, where we are staying for couple of weeks to spend some quality time with her. We drove here from Salt Spring Island in our electric vehicle, a Nissan Leaf in the last three days or so. I will post up an ’electric road trip’ video soon.

It has been quite a while since I posted up a new video or wrote a blog post. Thanks for your patience. Our eco house build has been pretty much all consuming over the summer months and each day we can see the results of our labours, which are exciting and encouraging!

I am gradually catching up on sifting through and editing oodles of photos and video clips we have collected over the past 18 months or so into short video blog posts. I am a very slow film maker! This video is part one of a two parter. In this story we show you how we got started on carving out a driveway on a steep hillside in the forest on a side of a mountain. You can watch this by clicking on the embedded video below.

Transcript of the video narrative

Sarah: ‟Hello everyone! Welcome to episode one of a two parter called The Long and Winding Driveway. In this episode we are going to show you how we got started in carving out our driveway on a hillside in a forest on the side of a mountain. Some of you may remember this clip from episode one of our Two Blondes on a Build Series. Take a look.“

Clip of walking up the trail from the road to the top of the grassy knoll.

Sarah: ‟Well that was a blast from the past. A lot of things have changed since then… And here is Captain Excavator moving some gravel around on the first part of our driveway. Look at that graceful technique as he manoeuvres into position. And this is what the driveway looks like at the moment. It’s the first bit and we have had to cut a zig zag trail as our lot is quite steep so we are trying to get the shallowest gradient possible but it does mean our driveway is going to be quite long to get up to the hill. I think Brett has done remarkably well as he only started this a few days ago.

That is the second level, but it levels out at a ridge and then we have to go around a rock bluff and then it levels out somewhat at the back to get up to the back of the lot behind the hill. So there you have it. He is doing really well, isn’t he?

…And of course, I moved those boulders with my bare hands. Not.

Here’s Captain Excavator…

In addition to finding a shallow gradient as possible, we wanted to go around as many trees as we could, but of course, and sadly, there were some casualties.

Our Yanmar Excavator is great for digging, moving earth, gravel and boulders around as you have seen. It can also be used for breaking rock using the rock hammer. We bought it second hand and already the tracks were a little bit worn through but by putting it through its paces the last few weeks, unfortunately one of the tracks snapped and we needed to wait for a few weeks for the replacements to arrive.”

Brett: ‟Well folks, the new tracks are here finally, good to see them but it‘s going to be a bit of work though. That track laying on the ground weighs 350 pounds and I’m here. Sarah is going to come and help in a little bit but I can’t expect her to lift very much, let us see what we can do.

The star in the seat up there has just helped me get the first of the two tracks on and look at that. It is in place, everything done. It took less than probably twenty minutes, she’s a star! And she cooks folks! That’s two tracks on in less than an hour, she is hot!” (note, I think Brett was talking about the Yanmar).

Brett: “Just a wee small rock I picked out of the ground, it was in the way, we’ll use it for a wall.‟

Sarah: “It is a beautiful Sunday morning here on Salt Spring Island and as you can see there’s Captain Excavator. He has finally been able to get the driveway right the way up to hear now. We are almost near our build site and this is a phenomenal achievement in the last seven months or so.”

Brett: ‟Hi folks! Well as you can see we are pretty close to the shed now with the excavator. We still have to come up this ramp here and get into our yard to build the house but we are putting a parking pad down here for our parking and we will have stairs coming up and our house is going to be on the knoll right up here so we will have a very short walk and we are getting there slowly and surely. Albert, the well witcher will be here some time next week and he is going to do one more witching of the property to see if he can find a spot closer to the top, if not we have a place down at the bottom that he has already witched and it is not at the bottom, it is about a quarter of the way down. So everything is looking well. I would think probably in two weeks we will be ready to have the well drilled and perhaps start working on the area where the building will go, cleaning it up and breaking rock if we have to to get ready for the footings.‟

The music

This short film uses the following royalty free pieces of music from the YouTube audio library:

1. Eternal Garden – by Dan Henig

2. Barrel Full of Sea Monkeys – by The Whole Other

3. Arkansas Traveler – by Nat Keefe and Hot Buttered Rum

4. Royal Mountain Breakdown – by The Mini Vandals

I hope you enjoyed the video!

It would be great if you could consider subscribing to my free YouTube channel and share the Two Blondes on a Build playlist so that we can reach more people and encourage others, who may wish to build their own eco home or explore life off grid in a beautiful forest.

Thanks for watching the video and reading this blog post. I appreciate your support and encouragement.

Stay tuned for another exciting episode of Two Blondes on a Build, which is coming soon.

Peace, love and light,

Sarah x

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