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Progress - Finally!

Well I had a couple of people contact me advising that the silence was deafening and wondering if I was really busy or just fed up again.  I am afraid it has generally been the later but today finally was a semi-productive day.

But first lets back up a few days to catch everyone up.  As I had last left you, we had repaired the tarp, partially raised it, and were hashing out the requirements for bank stabilization. I finished Thursday fairly upbeat but then 3:00 AM happened.

True to form the advertized ‘showers’ were more like a tropical downpour I experienced many years ago when in the Whitsunday Passage of Australia.  I had woken up from the rain and got up to check on the tarp as it had not been fully raised yet and there was a danger of puddling.  Sure enough there was about 100 or so gallons pooled in one spot but all was intact.  So I was going to let down one of the ropes at the front and let everything drain.  Just then the water switched position and went further north.  So I instead went to the most northern front rope and let it out.  This turned out to be a mistake and I immediately heard the sound I have come to dread – ripping tarp.  The end result was that I lost a foot off the front of the tarp and then when the tarp edge fell down into the pit, it caught a pallet of ICF and ripped another big gash in it.  At this point I just went home to try to get more sleep.

I tossed and turned all night wondering what to do and decided I would give the tarp one final chance.  This was mainly because of the fact that the back half of the tarp had never sustained any damage and so I was going to mimic its attachment points on the front side as well.  I figured the front had too many competing pull angles that must be creating stress risers, where the back is just tightly attached at each corner and then only has light attachment point in the middle to prevent flapping.  The front two ropes had also been tensioned by attaching to the truck, so they were probably way too tight.  I finally fell asleep around 6 AM with a plan.

Of course this was turned upside down with a daylight inspection of the tarp showing the back north corner had also ripped during the night. Talk about a torpedo to my plan.  But then I figured out the rip probably occurred when the water switched positions as I heard something at that point but thought it was just a rope slipping.  And the water did represent a LOT of weight that the tarp was never designed to carry and should be able to be prevented on a fully raised and attached tarp.

I was pretty fed up by now and decided to give the tarp a time out.  I would secure it to Alfie in the pit at the end of each day (so the wind would not catch it and drag it over more ICF blocks further tearing it) and have just been ignoring it for a few days.

Friday was spent attaching plywood bulkheads to the ends of the blocks to prevent the gravel from sloughing out once back filled. The rest of Friday and also Saturday was spent ensuring the north footing was dug to the right depth, moving a pallet of ICF block out of the way (hand bomb), and then scrapping away any mud and road base back fill from the footing area, and also the mud away from the first 10ft or so of slab area from the north side. The final task Saturday was to dig out all the back-fill Diamond and I had put behind the sump as it had become saturated and was like pea soup.  This was quite a bit of work and took several hours as there was a large volume to remove and the soup went about 3ft below the bottom of the pit, which was due to the mini pit we dug for the part of the sump basin that extended even lower.  I did not fully excavate the north side of the sump as it does not represent bearing for the pit wall or any of the house.  It was the south side that really mattered as the garage footing will sit in this area, so I made sure to go down to solid unsaturated native soil in this area.

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All of the open ends of the lock blocks were bulk-headed by plywood hiltied into the block.


Sunday was another 12 hour marathon on rebuilding the company QuickBooks file.  Probably 2 more long days will be needed before I can start prepping for this years taxes.  So I will have to hustle to finish before the end of the month.

This morning, things finally started going in the right direction.  Superior Stone Slinger showed up just after 7:30 and by 8:15, they had finished back-filling all the voids behind the lock block wall.  My neighbors house is now fully supported relieving a huge stress contributor for me. I then made one of my better decisions and asked them to bring a second load which they were able to fit into their morning schedule.  With the second load, we were able to fill in the north footing trench and partially cover about 15% of the slab in a strip along the north footing.  This was great for two reasons, it handled the area of the pit having the most problems with water and mud build-up, and it really was a moral booster as this area is now, with some light raking, ready to layout footings.  It was not cheap, but the boosted progress and the fact I will not need to work in mud anymore was well worth it.

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The back side of the sump was re-excavated down to bearing soil and then backfilled with 3/4″ crushed rock.


The Stone Slinger is an amazing invention that turns hours of work into mere minutes.
Layer of 3/4" crushed rock provides a nice blanket over the north side of the excavation.
Layer of 3/4″ crushed rock provides a nice blanket over the north side of the excavation.

Thanks for visiting.

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