Saturday, November 8, 2014

Progress report...

Progress report...  Lots of things happened yesterday!

The roofers finished “drying in” our home's roof.  That means it's now covered with waterproof material – the “underlayment” that will end up beneath the steel roof.  The roofers actually got done early in the day.  They tidied up a bit, then left for their shop to start bending metal for our roof.  The installation of the steel will start on Monday.

Most of the day I worked alone on trenching, but in the afternoon my neighbor (Tim D.) joined me again for a couple of hours.  We made much faster progress with his help, and now the only thing left is the finishing work at the ends.  Today I'll be out trenching near the pole, where I have to worry about things like ripping out the natural gas main that feeds several dozen homes to our west, or the cable TV line that feeds our house :)  I'll be digging very carefully there, at times with a shovel instead of the backhoe!

In the afternoon, the fellow installing the septic tank (Eric) for our barn showed up.  He brought with him a backhoe that I couldn't help but envy.  For starters, it has a 240 HP diesel engine.  It's boom is extensible, so that his total reach is over 25' (or 20' deep!).  The bucket holds over a cubic yard of material (vs. less than one cubic foot on mine!) – about a 30x difference.  But most of all I envied the totally effortless way that his backhoe sliced through even the most compacted soil as if it were sand.  He had the hole dug for the 1,000 gallon concrete septic tank in very short order – 15 minutes at most.   Later a delivery truck arrived with the two halves (top and bottom) of the septic tank.  The bottom weighs 6,000 pounds, the top 5,000 pounds.  The delivery truck had a large crane attached to it, with a 30,000 pound lift capacity.  The septic tanks are made in a factory just 20 miles away, and this truck belongs to that factory.  The truck driver had the bottom offloaded and positioned roughly in the right place in about 5 minutes.  With the tank bottom hanging about a foot over the bottom of the hole, Eric and I swung it into the right place and the crane dropped it right down.  Then Eric installed some asphalt-based mastic (sticky soft sealant) in a groove molded around the top edge of the bottom half.  The top half of the septic tank has a matching “tongue” that fits into that groove, squeezing the mastic to make a perfect seal.  The crane then roughly positioned the top half of the tank right over the bottom half, and Eric and I moved it slightly to get it in exactly the right place.  The crane operator let it down gently, and ... that was it!  We could see the mastic squeezing out the side of the seam between the two halves – we got it on correctly.  The entire operation took less than a half hour.  With the right tools and machinery, a job that looks intimidatingly large and hard can actually be small and easy.  Eric will be back today to dig the gravel trench drainage field for the septic tank and fill it with gravel.  He'll put a straw “cap” over the gravel to keep soil from clogging the gravel, then backfill over the top with soil.

Finally, today we had the plumbers over to do the final installation work for the sink in our basement cattery.  We now have a beautiful custom cattery cabinet with an oversized stainless steel sink and a high-capacity faucet and sprayer.  Yay!

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