Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rainy Saturday

Ok, I won't complain about the rain. The well is getting desperately low, even though we are very conservative with water. All that rain in June and July I thought we would be fine this year...and then heat and drought in August. After all that cold and rain I didn't complain about the heat and drought though!

We did get a bank and dump run in this am. I discovered it was a skunk getting into the trash. I saw it on the deck this week. And it has a penchant for yogurt and the plastic spoons used to eat it-every yogurt container and plastic spoon was strewn out of the ripped open bags. What a mess!

I didn't make my goal of two more post holes this week. I picked up 8 - 60 pound sacks of concrete and put four in one hole on Thursday, and left it for the post and collar and opted to dig around one of the bad posts to use the rest of the cement I had.

Even though I have braced that beam with two whomping posts and a massive foundation of concrete, I was very nervous when I started digging around the bad post. I expected that the rot would be limited to ground level-no, it chased the post down into the ground.

Originally a 10" diameter cedar post, at least an inch all around was gone. The posts have been in 11 years nearly to the day. It was easy to see why that row had deteriorated so much faster-it was backfilled in clay. I swear we had backfilled in sand, but not that post. Plus, the water from that side of the house drains there, and the ground was not graded so there was a trough where the posts go in the ground.

Clay and wet=rot. And tough digging!!!

The other holes have taken me 1 to 1-1/2hours to dig out. This one took 3 hours. I start with a spade and then move on to a garden fork, stabbing it ferociously around the post to loosen the clay. Once it gets more than a foot deep, I start bailing with a coffee can. By the end I am flat on the ground reaching in as far as I can and scooping up handfuls into the can and then backing out of the hole and dumping it. I felt like I was in the Great Escape digging a tunnel.

I thought, what woman in her right mind undertakes a task like this? I should be prettying myself up and seducing some strong guy into the job, or at least offering to cook dinners in exchange for the labor. As far as hiring someone-I don't have the cash flow to part with it.

So I scrabble clay under my broken fingernails, finish the hole, and start mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow. Another four bags and a bunch of rocks. I get concrete dust in my hair and my arms -no-everything- starts to ache with the effort.

I barely crawl away after cleaning the tools and discover I am at least three bags short to finish that hole-and another two for the hole I started on Thursday. I do a quick estimate and figure I need to mix 17 more bags just to finish the North beam, and dig around two more posts.

The center beam needs two more holes and four more posts dug out. The south beam will have to wait until next year. Those posts seem to be in better shape anyhow.

I can't believe those three posts-toothpicks really-were holding up the north beam!

I took a couple photos of the process, but haven't downloaded them yet. I do, however, have a few more foliage shots of my drive to the farm every morning. I love the fiery early maple color!!!

1 comment:

~Tonia said...

Yikes! On the concrete stuff!! Clay is tough to deal with! I am glad I have a jack of all trades guy!lol If I had to do it I would but I dont!!Shoooooo...
Love the pictures We dont have much color yet but its coming slowly but surely..