Our 6 Holes

It's official. We've got holes! Six of 'em! It was quite a feat to dig them too. You don't think it's too hard - 6 holes, an auger - no problem, right? But don't forget, they have to be perfectly level, perfectly centered on their measurements, perfectly straight, perfectly lined up with all the rest of the holes.... or else the entire porch will be messed up. And by messed up I mean crooked, off center, off level, off off off.

So Saturday morning's dig session was pretty stressful. First, we spray painted big x's on each marker post so we could see where the heck we were digging and to keep us on center. Then we fired up the auger and dug down as far as we could with it. This wasn't too hard, except when you get the auger all the way down in the hole as far as it goes and you have to then pull it up - then, it's a little tough. Mike, being stronger than me, of course was able to pull up harder and faster - so our holes tended to be off center because of it.

After the auger had done all it could do, Mike and I dug with the post hole digger and shovel.

Here's me, doing some digging on hole #2.

After the hole seemed close to size, we test fit the sonotube, making sure it was level (with a level), on center with the other holes (using a string), and exactly 7.5' away from the last sonotube (using the 'ol tape measure.) If it didn't match up to any of these exacting specifications, we dug more or in another direction.

Four of the holes we dug pretty much no problem. No trees or plants in the way, sandy soil - relatively easy job. But the last two were nearly right on top of where that tree was - you know, the one we took down a couple weeks ago? And Mike knew that we were going to be running into some roots.

So he came up with an ingenious plan, which I knew would either work brilliantly or get us an stoopid award from country fried home videos....

We attached the auger to the forks of the skid steere.

The plan was simple - Mike would run the skid steere and I would run the auger. The forks would help move the auger up and down as I steadied it and we'd chew through the roots without exhausting ourselves or getting off center.

I have to admit, I was damn nervous. But the idea worked perfectly. We dug the first hole fairly quickly and easily and managed to tear through a couple roots. The second hole wasn't as cooperative. We made it pretty far down, but hit a huge root that we just couldn't dig through.

We took the auger off of the forks and then used the machine's forks to stab and pull at the root until it gave way.

After he had done all he could with the machine, Mike used the sawzall to break through more of the roots and then we just kept digging. Finally we were able to get in that last sonotube and fill in everything.
Despite the hard work, we really made good time. We were pretty much done by 2, after getting a late start around 10:30am. After that we took a lunch break then cleaned up the excess dirt and put down some grass seed.

And that was it for the day. The footings need to be inspected before we can do anything else. I left a message for the inspector later that afternoon. Hopefully they'll be able to come out in the next few days. Then we'll fill these tubes with concrete and begin construction.

Plus, with rain predicted all this week - it was a great time to overseed the lawn!


Rebe said...

I'm happy to see you have one of the old fashioned post hole diggers. My dad swears by his and it looks like it's 100 years old (and it might just be!). I have one of the new PHD's and it can't make a nice hole over a foot deep. Then I 'borrow' my dads.

Keep an eye on yours. Now that people know you have the good kind, it might just disappear!

kitrainia said...

Yeah - that PHD came with the auger and honestly, I think it might be near to 100 years old too. It broke on the first hole and Mike had to weld it back together! It worked beautifully after that though.

The boat yard we borrowed both items from uses them for digging deck post holes and the like in salt water - hence the excessive wear 'n tear.