Friday, August 19, 2011

Down In A Hole

Well, we are making progress. Still a ways to go but things are going fairly well and we've not been sucked down into a quagmire yet. To look on the bright side, the water is at least so cold that it keeps us cool while we are working. It is so cool, in fact, that a light fog is almost always present when we are in the hole; a mist formed from the heat of our bodies meeting the cold air rising off the water. I keep meaning to take a thermometer down there and check the actual water temp.

We take turns going down in the hole to dig. One goes down and the other hoists the buckets of mud up and empties them. Works pretty good. After having it firmly implanted in my brain that we were just going to widen a round hole and somehow stack block, I realized that nothing said the hole had to be round...It's funny how you get stuff stuck in your head and don't see alternatives. So, we squared the hole up, which will make setting block in a square much easier. DUH! Note how muddy the water is in this photo. We had stirred up quite a bit of silt and such by this point. Also, note the large rock behind Jack. You can't tell here but under that rock is where the inlet is.

Jack rigged up a cable with a pulley and such for the bucket, which helps greatly, but it is still pretty rough work. Last night my left shoulder was so sore I could barely move it. I either worked it out or something because today it is better.

Here you can see the water flowing in, somewhat. It has been hard for me to get many good pictures because we are usually both either in water or covered in mud. Not really when I want to have a camera in my hand. This crack between the rocks is about 8 inches at the widest point. I would guess this spring puts out about 5 gallons a minute, maybe. In the winter it flows heavier. This large rock threw a little kink in my block laying plans so I had to form a shelf over it.

As you can see here. At this point we have basically finished excavating the walls (it's about a 5 x 5 foot hole). We scooped out all the loose stuff on the bottom until we were below the elevation at which the water comes in. I crammed a 6 inch diameter piece of PVC into the inlet and ran it out to about the middle of the hole and turned it up with a 90. That's what you see with the bucket over it. This will protect the opening of the spring. We then filled the bottom with about a 6 inch layer of crushed stone. This hardened up the bottom remarkably well. Before we would sink several inches into the muck while we were working but now you can walk around just fine. I was very surprised that little bit of stone worked so well. You can even see how much that stone layer helped clear up the water. I mean, it's not clear yet but it's better than it was. So, I then threw this form up so that it was tight against the face of that rock, squared it up best I could, staked it in place and kicked it off. We used stone rubble to fill up most of the space behind the form and over the PVC inlet but used big enough chunks that the water can flow freely. I am not trying to force the water to come in through the PVC pipe only but rather to simply block out a space were it always could if the areas around the pipe become clogged. I then used smaller stones to kinda seal the top on the rubble so that the concrete would not seep down into the inlet and seal it off. As an added insurance, we mixed the concrete fairly stiff so it would not ooze much. I used a High/ Early mix so that it would set quickly. We kept the water pumped down for a while but then let the spring fill back up. Keep in mind, concrete does not dry; it sets by a chemical reaction so water being on it does not hurt it. I also threw a few pieces of rebar in the shelf to help it and had stacked 3 layers of block on the outside to get a grade by, which I marked in the inside of the form. This, hopefully, will work out so that the blocks laid on this shelf will lay in with the other walls with nothing needing to be cut down. Since I can manipulate the gravel on the floor of the spring I can adjust the blocks to meet correctly but this should make it very close as it is now.
One other note about this photo: we take the foot valve and all out of the spring every morning as we begin work so nothing is in the way. This was taken towards the end of the day, after we had replaced the foot valve and reconnected the water. Fortunately, the spring cleans itself well enough that we can use the water by the time it refills. Now, we don't use it for drinking or cooking yet but it is fine for bathing etc. and it is filtered before it comes in the house. We do keep buckets of water on the deck though, to dump over ourselves at the end of the day in order to get clean enough to come in the house in order to take a shower. Heh.

If you look close enough you can see the little peepers that were staring at me most of the day. He is not happy that we have invaded his spring. I tossed him out twice and he is right back in there as soon as I turn my back. I was hoping that he would hop down to the creek, which is not 20 feet away, but he likes this hole.

In the afternoon the chickens come down to inspect things. Big 'Un, on the right, gave us his approval. Chigger thinks it's all great fun because it gives her an excuse to go play in the creek and mud while we are working. She won't go down there unless we are nearby.

This was taken at the end of the first day. Today was not much better. I suspect my clothes are ruined so we have been wearing the same ones over and over! Yeck! What a mess! Hopefully, I will start stacking block tomorrow and will be finished by the end of the weekend.


Ron said...

Wow, Annie. You amaze me.

Hopefully, noone minds if I say you are a heck of a woman, purty and ambitious. I'm sure you guys will get it done because you are just that determined. You impress the snot out of me. :)

Anonymous said...

There's just something about women and mud that I find...uh... entertaining.:)
Great job, Annie.

Island Rider said...

In that last picture, you look like an Amazon warrior! I am always amazed at how much you know how to do!

Sissy said...

What a job! Now what if this had happened and that construction job had come through when you thought it was going to? See, there is a reason and timing for everything. I still envy you your youth and strength and miss mine. I use to get mucked up and loved every minute of it...after it was past! So glad you have Jack! I bet you won't have any future water problems. You are one hell of a REAL WOMAN!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Well I admire you grit. You certainly are not among the best dressed.

This is a real nasty task which you both seen to be into. When finished You will have much reason to feel satisfied.

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

The bandanna, blue eyes and dirty work clothes in that first shot remind me of my wife when we first met. I was project manager for a company that specialized in fire and flood restorations. I usually ended up doing a little of everything to move the jobs along and she worked right along side of me.

She wasn't the only woman working on my crew. I usually had several and not just for site cleanup; they all did punch lists. Some of the subs would ask why I had so many women on my crew and I told them that except for the most physical construction jobs women were just as capable and actually paid more attention to detail than men.

Using rock in the bottom of the hole was a trick an old timer showed me to set posts. Concrete is porous and sets up harder under water than exposed to air but compacted gravel sets up hard and lets water flow through more freely without shifting or frost heaving and, as you say, provides filtration to boot.

Jenn said...

Big mucky job. It'll be so great when you are done!

Floridacracker said...

Good golly! This is so interesting... and not just because you are wet and muddy.
I hardly noticed that.

Can't wait to see how the block laying goes and eventually the finished project.
Really impressive work!

edifice rex said...

Hey Ron! Awww, thanks! well, it's just a matter of no other choice really, to me. Things like this are not so bad once you start. Like we say at work, it's just a thang.

Hey Furt! HA!! yeah, I bet! ;)

Hey IR! Well, I feel like something from the Amazon after being up to my butt in water for 3 days but I don't know if it's a warrior! lol!
But, hey, I don't know what I'm doing! I'm just winging it half the time!
Hey, I hope you got that reply I sent to your menopausal email. I changed my email address and was wanting to make sure it got to you.

Hey Sissy! Yeah, it seems the timing on stuff has worked out fine. Thanks! I am very thankful to have Jack to help too. He works very hard.

Hey Philip! It has been nasty beyond imagination but I already feel glad for doing it.

Hey Chip! Ha! I was surprised how blue my eyes showed up in that photo! You are right; women do certainly have more attention to detail.
Right about the gravel; it has worked fantastic!

Hey Jenn! Yep! it is already MUCH better and we are not even finished yet.

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! uh-huh. I started not to put up that photo of me with the 2 big muddy spots on my chest but then I said, oh, what the heck, it's just mud! lol!
I'm about to put up a little more progress photos. It has gone well.

Curmudgeon said...

Wow you look hot!! and tired. lol (I tried to refrain from that after all the other comments but I couldn't)

edifice rex said...

Hey Dan! Ha!! don't feel bad; hardly anyone refrains from saying most anything around here! lol!