The Big Pour

The first Saturday in May, I awoke to quite a bit of commotion in the back yard. Yup, it was time to pout the concrete. Jeff and Doug were here bright and early to join in the mess fun. 

One of the most important and time sensitive parts of this job was making sure the the anchor bolts that will secure the columns to the foundations were properly located. Here, Greg is triangulating the location of the center bolt, with the help of Doug and Jeff at the other end of the tapes. At least he knew that the anchor bolts would be correctly spaced from each other because of the jog he built. Pardon the screen in this shot. I couldn't open the door or I would have hit Jeff (the yellow blob in the corner) in the head. 

With the anchor bolts properly set, it was time to fill in the rest of the slab. 

The guys took turns bringing the wheelbarrow to the concrete truck to for a load to dump in the slab. It took at least two people to move the wheelbarrow when it was full. The original intention was to have the truck much closer to the slab. But we'll get to that part of the story in a minute. 

Once the slab was full, they used a 2x4 to smooth the surface, and make sure it was nice and level.

So, we needed about 3 cubic yards of concrete to fill in our 4 foundations and our slab. We opted to have a concrete truck come deliver this, as opposed to having to mix dozens upon dozens of bags of concrete ourselves. 

As I mentioned, we had hoped that the truck would be able to make it into the back yard to pour directly into the slab. But, well, it had been raining for a few weeks, or so it felt, by that point. And, 3 yards of concrete plus the weigh of the truck carrying it isn't exactly light. 

So, the truck got stuck in the yard. Dangerously close to the edge of the house. 

And, it did a number on our path in the process. Good thing we plan to redo the driveway and this path later this fall. 

It also pretty much blocked access from the back side of the truck, where the concrete comes out, around the corner of the house. Which meant that the guys had to push the wheelbarrow all the way around the front of the house, around the red fence, and navigate the dirt and rock pile in our former patio to get the concrete where it needed to go. Not fun. 

And then there was the little matter of getting the truck out of the yard. The concrete guy called one of his employees, who showed up in a dump truck, with a really long chain. 

Greg held our drooping electrical wires out of the way during the tow. I would like to pretend I hadn't seen this!

Thankfully, it worked, and we didn't have to spend an extra $900 to have the truck towed out professionally. Then, all that was left was a lot of destruction, and some really deep ruts in our lawn. 

(Greg is 5'-10", Jeff is 6'-4)

Oh, and a fresh new concrete slab that was just dying for an inscription. 


Prepping for Concrete

The next major step in creating the deck was to pour the concrete for the foundations and the slab that will become the floor of our shed. But in order to do that, there was a lot of prep that needed to be done.

The holes needed to be protected for over a week from days upon days of April showers. Some of the many rocks that were unearthed came in very handy in holding down the plastic sheeting. 

We had a brief weekend getaway to DC for my friend Tracy's wedding, and then the clock started ticking down to our 8am Saturday morning concrete delivery last weekend. Which meant Greg was outside almost every night that week until dark, digging, and setting up the forms for the slab. 

He also created a jig to hold the three anchor bolts which will fasten the deck posts to the foundations so that they would be spaced exactly the right distance from each other, and all he would have to do after the concrete was poured was make sure they were the correct distance from the house. 

The next step was to lay a bed of sand to create a base for the concrete that would separate it from the earth below. This mean that Greg got to drive his truck into the back yard, one of his dreams come true!

Michael and and Bob came over for the final push to help spread and tamp the sand. (I take a lot of these pictures through the screen door, which you can see in the shot below)

It was definitely dark by the time they finished, but everything was finally ready for concrete!


Dirt, Dirt, and More Dirt

Greg has been making fast and steady progress on the deck. I'm being slow and falling behind in telling you about it. So how about a ridiculous amount of photos to make up for it?

A few weeks ago, we had a contractor come with a bobcat and an 18" auger to drill the 4 foot deep holes required for the deck footings. As usual, there was some prep work leading up to that. Greg started digging out the slab area so that the grade of the ground would be at the right depth for the footings. He also had to measure out the locations for the holes. 

Bright and early a few Saturday morning ago, this crazy vehicle showed up in front of our house. 

I caught a glimpse of it going by the office window into the back yard. 

This is what it looked like through the screen door that now goes to no where. 

I also caught a glimpse through the window in the basement. 

As I mentioned, the holes had to be 4 feet deep. And it turns out we have an extremely rocky yard. This meant a lot of in and out of the holes for Greg trying to get the rocks out of the way of the auger. 

Don't worry, it wasn't actually spinning at this point. 

It only took a few short hours for the bobcat to complete it work, and for our grass to disappear!

Sometime before the bobcat left, Doug arrived to help out for the afternoon. They got all the sonotubes placed in the holes in the correct place. For those who don't know, think giant toilet paper roll. This is what holds the concrete in the proper shape to create the footing. 

This was my vantage point, from the hammock, safely removed from the dirt!

Even Greg managed to take an occasional break. 

The last step of the day was to cover all the holes with plastic because of the several days of rain that were forecast following this beautiful sunny one. 

And yes, I was kidding when I said this day was about dirt, dirt and more dirt!