Sunday, October 23, 2005

Like the Trenches without the Gunfire.

After and before photos. Before the mud, there was six inches of water in the hole, but, sadly neither ducks nor fish. After wrestling with a rented 2" 'trash pump' for five hours, the hole looked very much as it does here. Except this picture was taken nine days and 1/2" of rain later. To dig past the now one inch of fine muck and reach the clay, hard, and dry enough to pour concrete on, took ten and one half hours. Where the footings are now, I dug, scooped, pushed, scraped and swore at goo and clay from 9:00AM to 6:30 PM last Tuesday, and 6:00 to 7:30 AM the following Wednesday. The footings crew arrived at about 8:15. The inspector for the City of St. Paul signed his OK at noon, and the forms were fillled and leveled by about 1:15. Amazing speed! I think the the block for the walls was delivered yesterday. Two men came back Thursday morning to pull the forms clear. When I returned to the site after ferrying my wife to an appointment, the excavators were there busily bobcatting a ramp down into the foundation. Two giant dumptrucks filled with rock, waited like seige engines. A small excavator tracked his way down the ramp and scooped out the piles of clay. The clay I'd taken all day clearing away to make room for the concrete forms was easily thrown aside, as if it were sand in a teacup. Revenge served up sticky. The dumptrucks spilled rock into the ramp, the bobcat breached into it, piling it inside the footings,and the little Komatsu dumped small piles outside the perimeter. Thesse noisy, roaring, growling machines, moving in starts and stutters, gracefully spread rock like they were sprinkling cinnamon onto toast. I take pictures later today of the rock . God it's been a slog. More clay stuck to the shovel than it held. My boots grew a ring of clay around the sole, that had it been balsa wood or poly foam, I could have walked on water. Scraping clay and mud off my boots and the shovel with a putty knife took most of the time. Paul, if you do this, watch the weather.

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