New Troll Bridge

New Troll Bridge

Our son Will is building a tractor road from our central driveway out across the north home field to the north field. This will allow us to setup a better wintering space for the north herd boar, Spitz, and his ladies. This road will also let us easily deliver hay during the marginal seasons as well as fencing rolls and apple trees to the north field – an upcoming project.

When not a truck or tractor path the road will be used by the north herd to come in from their distant pastures to the whey trough which is near the driveway. Just uphill is the shoat and small grower paddocks. These pigs graduate from the ten weaner paddocks and then after they finish their rotation through the north home field they move on to the larger herds in the north, upper and south herds. Being a central point in the hubs this area is also where we sort north herd pigs for the weekly trip to butcher so it is a convient gathering spot for counting, measuring and inspecting pigs.

In the spring snow melt the north home field dumps water down through this area so Will built a stone culvert. The melt water can flow under the road rather than digging and softening the road. From there it goes through a culvert into our east field. Controlling water flows, especially in the spring, is important.

To keep the bridge strong the sides of the culvert are large stones and the bridge is capped with large slabs of granite supported by thick granite beams making it strong enough to support big trucks for deliveries of hay, wood chips, stone and such.

While the culvert is carefully shaped so it is more open on the lower side to make it as self-cleaning as possible it may need cleaning out of brush and dirt that settles underneath, managing the mosses and lichens, planting flowers, taking tolls and other routine maintenance. What this means is there will soon be a position opening up here for a well mannered Troll – Room and board included, such as it is.

Outdoors: 74°F/48°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/62°F

Daily Spark: The excess above the ratio of the stock market’s total valuation of companies vs the actual assets of companies is the “Percent of Hope” represented by the symbol PH not to be be confused with pH or PhD. This value of PH represents optimism for the future and directly correlates the height of skirts above women’s knees, shoe heal length and the color of men’s ties to how well the economy is performing based historical data since 1867.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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13 Responses to New Troll Bridge

  1. am in the pm says:

    Is that a whey tank in the background ?

  2. Farmerbob1 says:

    While a great many things that your family builds on the farm are quite amazing, and building walls with stone is certainly something that you are good at, I must admit to being hesitant on a loose stone bridge like this one appears to be. I can’t see all the construction, but I don’t see a clean arch here, or a keystone.

    It’s not the strength of granite that I’m worried about, it’s the vibration. Shifting and settling will happen over time. Of course I can’t see everything here, but I’ll say I’d be nervous.

    Have you already set up something to take measurements regularly to see if the bridge stones shift over time? My first thought is a few nails epoxied in place on the larger stones, connected by some thin electrical wire. If wires pop or nails break loose, you know something has shifted? Perhaps some leftover pieces of that basalt rebar directly epoxied between large slabs, and watch for any of them breaking loose?

    Sorry to be something of a downer here, but I’m a worry-wart at times :)

    • Don’t worry. The road is still in construction and the rocks used here were very large, you can’t see them in the photo, just the edges of the large slabs. It is very solid and it tips back up into the hill such that as it tightens it strengthens. It wasn’t meant to be pretty, just functional.

    • Jamie says:

      It looks like an arch to me. Looking at it very closely I see a stone on stone the one on two leading up to the top very big slap and it looks like there is a long thick beam in the middle too. How thick are those slabs? How wide is the gap of the trolls house the culvert part? Looks solid. I take it youre driving the tractor over it.

      • The foundation of the troll bridge is very large boulders in the six to ten ton range which are set into a ditch with more smaller boulders filled in between and behind them to create a ramp for strength on either side. Then large beams (you can see one on the edge under the slabs) went across. Next slabs about four to six feet by six to ten feet spanned half way across meeting in the middle and these were topped by the upper decking of even bigger slabs. The slabs are six to ten inches thick making them at the upper weight limit of what the tractor can drag around. Between layers there is sand and smaller rocks which will drain well and helps eliminate problems of point contact vis-a-vis pressure points. It feels very solid driving and walking over. The sand and good drainage prevents frost action. The troll bridge is about 12′ wide side to side so there is plenty of driving room. I’ll post more photos in a future article. I think the troll will be quite happy with the solidity and it can always do pretty work on the end of the culvert later. :)

  3. dHfarm says:

    Walter, do I understand correctly that there is a ‘home base’ for each herd? I’m trying to visualize how your paddocks are designed.

    • Yes, there is a north herd and a south herd right now (spring 2015) as well as sometimes having east and west herds. The herds are centered primarily around boar territories. Each territory is divided into fields which are sub-divided into paddocks. Adult boars have territories with a no-boar’s land, a blank area, between them to help keep the peace. Up to a point boars can be kept together but above about 600 lbs or so they may become too aggressive with each other and need separation. The sows are moved between the boar herds for control of breeding between our genetic lines. Lanes lead from the grazing paddocks in to the central area of the farm for whey, sorting and moving animals between sections. Since our land is very uneven this is not the regular grid pattern you see in the flat lands. There is some discussion of this in the article Vet Visit.

  4. Peter says:

    “Troll bridge,” heh. I’m sure that Boots and Dora will be able to answer the puns appropriately when necessary. :-)

  5. Tim says:

    “…this area is also where we sort north herd pigs from for the weekly trip…” I would recommend removing the word “from”.
    “…digging and and softening the road.” I would remove one “AND”

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