Frustrated with living in a bog, we finally went Medieval and started trenching. Let me tell you how totally thrilling it is to dig a trench with a pickaxe and spade when you're shin-deep in muck and your gloves are sopping wet! First we use the blade side of the pickaxe and the shovel to cut the vegetation mat. Then use the pick side to hook the mat up, using the spade to help lever it off the clay subsoil. Then we use the spade to break off and lift out almost perfect slabs of semi-frozen clay until we hit the ice and permafrost. Which lets us get a trench about 24" deep. And it starts filling up with water (at a rate of about a gallon a minute) while you're still digging... JOY.
We dug a wider pit and tried running the trenches into that, but there's just so much water in and on the surface that it fills up almost immediately and really doesn't drain an awful lot off the surface. The trenches help a little to give the water somewhere to go before they fill up completely, but it's nothing significant (maybe 1/16"). Unless we cleared out a pit something the size of a pond, or dug a mile-long trench, there's just not enough room for all the water swamping out yard to go somewhere else. That's just not feasible by hand... we'd need a backhoe to make that work given our time schedule.
On a positive note, we made boardwalks out of leftover lumber from last year, so we can at least get off the deck and get to the 4-wheeler without walking in too much muck. We might get desperate and make more boardwalks out of some of the logs we had slated for firewood so we can actually get to the shed. But there is no way that we could drive the truck out front, especially not loaded with gravel. We can drive the 4-wheeler only because it's much lighter and narrower; and we take a slightly different route each time, which seems to help the ruts self-level now that we've started laying down mulch from our chipped-shredded brush piles.
The main trail is starting to dry out and drain, and should be reasonably drivable by truck once we fill the worst of the ruts with gravel. Which should be loads of fun... hand-shoveling the gravel out of the pit into the pickup 1 yard load at a time, backing the truck slowly down the trail as we shovel the gravel from the bed into ruts. But, hey, it's only 1/2 mile (a full mile if you count both ruts) so that's only, like, 200 trips. Which is, coincidentally, all we could buy from the state on a "residential" permit.
Then it's back to the pit (if we still have any left on the permit) to grab another 3-5 loads of gravel, bring it back to our driveway in the pickup, shovel it into the sled, then drag it back to the build site with the 4-wheeler so we can put it right under our footings so we can finally start building... that might be sometime in August the way things are going unless we get help. We'll just have to fill in everything else some other time as conditions and finances allow.
After the trail gets reasonably filled in, we might be able to find someone who is willing to drive a dump truck down to our property to put in gravel for our driveway and/or building pad... we'll see. Trick with the gravel is that it goes down best when the ground is starting to freeze, so you have to work fast before the gravel pit freezes up, too. Plus, anyone with a backhoe would probably want a half-way decent road, too, if we want to excavate trenches and a pond at the build site to make sure we don't run into this bog nonsense there (which we shouldn't, since it's higher and not on an ice lens). Hell, we wanted a pond for ducks & geese and emergency water for fire control anyway... just weren't planning on doing it immediately.
All I know is that if it doesn't quite raining, I'm going to need a vacation in a white padded room for a few weeks!
Oh, yeah, did I happen to mention that this water and muck is only about 35F... such a treat! At least the dog likes it. She wallows in the cold mud holes to cool down and then comes and jumps on the bed... and people wonder why I bought an ugly brown bedspread! It is ever so pleasant to sleep in a cold damp bed... everyone should try it!!