Sunday, August 12, 2007


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...




Five men were scheduled to show up Saturday morning and two did. Well it was going to be damn hot work, so that may have been sufficient reason to stay in bed. Work began at 6am to avoid the heat and Dave was ready with a freezer full of pizzas, as well as plenty of ice water and beer.


The first task was to separate the remaining timbers from each other. Dave had been working on doing this manually with a pry bar earlier in the week. Some of them wouldn't budge, as they were partially covered in earth and each movement made them dig deeper into the clay. So the tractor was employed to finish the separating. It scooped up the timbers and then dropped them down again to jossle loose the pinning. It looks like that worked out just fine.


Our hero, the tractor.


It turns out that there was another reason why the wall tumbled down in the first place. At the base of the hill was a super large stone outcropping a few inches below the surface. The iron rods couldn't pierce this rock and therefore couldn't secure the foundation. The only solution was to break up and remove this rock. Sledgehammers had to be used.


Hours of slamming the hammers and finally the rock was broken and removed.


A base of crushed rock was added to the hole for drainage and then the base timbers were secured with iron rods going way down. The clay behind the wall was also dug out and piled up, to be returned later when the wall was erected.


We had discussed fitting in deadmen (timbers at a 90 degree angle) to secure this wall as directed by several experts on the subject. I knew this had not been done on the other part of the wall and now I can see it was not done on this part either.




To drive these rebars in, a hole was drilled slightly less in diameter than the rod. Still it must be hard work to get them in place. These timbers were set back from the first wall which corresponds to the shape of the wall it will support.
During the process of separating the timbers from the rebar several timbers disintegrated and became unusable. Still the earth was sloping at this point and the timbers did follow that slope. Since I was not there for any of this I don't know what became of the timbers that broke, but I do know we have loads of backwoods where other downed trees are piled up, and my guess is that the tractor took them away.

Supervising chickens

The earth behind the wall is very hard clay and at this time is dry as ceramic. With the next hard rain we shall see how this wall holds.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:41 AM

    How about getting some expert advice on planting the area and what type of plants to use so as to stop or reduce the erosion.
    Maybe flowering schrubs with roots that will go deep. That soil looks good for roses though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous10:53 AM

    So nice to see Dave able to do all this heavy work. Looks like he's doing well medically and that's soooo good!
    cgn

    ReplyDelete
  3. Plantings would be nice. Effective against erosion and pretty to boot! I can't believe they got all this done in one "hot" day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We had that same stubborn clay soil in SW Virginia. It's a beast to plant in, you need a ditch witch or one of them hand held or motorized reamers. We tried to plant peonies and it was totally nuts. I'm finally caught up on reading your blog. Looks like Dave did really great! Cool beer and pizza is always a good plan when workers come to fix stuff!
    Loving the Popeye photo of him checking out the hens.

    ReplyDelete
  5. so, who are the helpers? Are they hired men or -gasp- brothers?

    Nice this is going on whilst you are away.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can see that this new home is going to give Dave a whole new outlook on life. I think it is just grand that he has this little farm to take his mind off the Parkinson's, if only for brief times.

    ReplyDelete
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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com