Monday 7 August 2017

Building the road

Part of creating Mt Chocolate has been constructing a private access way in from Severn St to the future house and art studio. This road is 100m long, is built on clay and includes a turning circle.

A lot of time was spent in the last 24 months, scraping off the top soil for use elsewhere. This soil is a kind of peat and is not suitable under roads but great under trees. The clay however is quite hard and packs down well.

During the rainy months, especially winter, the clay gets very wet and goes puggy making use of heavy machinery difficult. All I had to use was a 1.5 Tonne digger (Back Hoe).

I went and talked to road construction workers in the area and watched while they worked to get an idea on how to do the job. I also asked 2 civil engineers for advice.

The common suggestion was to use "Base Course" from Edendale. This is basically big round river boulders and stones. It packs down very hard, but requires a bulldozer to shift and compact. It has to be delivered by very large twin axle trucks which would chew up the wet and now softened clay.

The solution I came up with was to use AP65 Dunite, an Olivine rock from a Greenhills quarry near Bluff. A 200mm layer of AP65 would need to be laid on top of Bidim Geotextile roading fabric which would lie on the clay. Another 50mm layer of AP40 Dunite would be laid on top of the AP65. Finally a layer of "Top Course" which is fine Dunite.

The small digger bucket could handle the quarried Dunite because of it's jagged shape.

All of these layers needed to be carefully laid using a small truck that carries 3 cubic meters, or 5.4 metric Tonnes. The truck driver had to back in and tip the aggregate without driving on the fabric. The small digger was placed on sheets of plywood on top of the Geotextile on top of the wet clay. The digger bucket was then used to pull the aggregate back over the roading fabric.

Everything was compacted as it was laid, first using the digger, then our 2 ton Toyota Prado, and finally the fully loaded delivery truck. The road will be compacted even more when the clay dries out in Summer.

The road is 4.5 meters wide and is 80% completed.

The whole job has gone really well. Not bad for a total beginner.

A big thank you to Chris the truck driver who delivered the aggregate, and Dave for the loan of the digger.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

An Exhibition Thank You

I would like to thank all the family, friends and neighbours who visited the recent Mt Chocolate exhibition to have a look, showed a lot of curiosity and got Mike thinking even more. 150 visited the exhibition during the week which was a good turnout given the location. In addition 20 attended (child and a parent together) a creative workshop by Mike for dyslexic minds.

Thanks are also given to;
  • Ari Edgecombe, Jan Ormsby, Frazer Murdoch, Steve Solomon and Elaine Matheson from the South Alive Arts Group for help with arranging and setting up the exhibition.
  • Nikki Aaron and Cress Evans from the office, Peggy Peek and Margaret Cook and the other South Alive Trustees for making the gallery available. Peggy for her wonderful welcome to guests at the opening.
  • Chris Cole of Dyslexia Support Southland for organising the creative workshop for dyslexic children with their parents.
  • Chris Dawson from Lego Users Group South (SouthLUG) for the loan of a big bucket of 20Kg of Lego bricks.
  • Chris and Brian Rance from Southland Community Nursery for the loan of 30 native plants.
  • David Fallow for heavy lifting, Steve Woller for a whole lot of heavy lifting and for being a wise sounding board about graphic design.
  • Ross Nicoll from Southland Woodworkers Guild (SWG) for the loan of a scroll saw used to make the 1:25 scale model buildings.
  • And finally Tracy Peters of Bodkin fame for keeping Mike to task, Chocolate catering, guiding visitors, driving, invitations and everything else that happens behind the scenes.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Mt Chocolate - The Exhibition A4 Poster

Here is the poster for Mt Chocolate - The Exhibition

The poster can be downloaded as a PDF for printing
Mt Chocolate: The Exhibition A4 Poster

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Sunday 4 June 2017

1865 maps of Southland

This is a small part of a larger sketch map of the Province of Southland, New Zealand, from official surveys till June 1865. This picture shows the area covered in native bush near Invercargill.

Source Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 3817


This is a small part of a larger cadestral or liand title map of the Province of Southland, New Zealand, from official surveys till June 1865. This picture shows the early land sections near Invercargill.

Source Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 3842

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Mt Chocolate - The Exhibition

Discover the hidden story behind a nature conservation project and the building of a home and art studio in Clifton, Invercargill.

An exhibition by Filmmaker and Sculptor Mike Peters

Sunday 16 - Sunday 23 July, 10am - 4pm
South Alive Art Gallery
South City Mall, Elles Rd, Invercargill

 Architectural Models + Landscape & Botanical Photography + Handmade Book + Design & Construction Drawings

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Mountain Tauhinu

This afternoon I got this photo of a Ozothamnus vauvilliersii  plant growing beside the Waituna Wetland near Bluff.

This plant is also known as Mountain Tauhinu or Mountain Cottonwood. It grows quite low down in the far south and likes dry sites. It will be a great native species to propagate and plant out on the north facing slopes of Mt Chocolate.

There is more information available about this native plant.