Friday, October 27, 2017

You're doing WHAT?

This Fall has brought a very rare stretch of beautiful, dry weather.  I'm not sure if it is this weather or just a lingering sense of frustration on many fronts that has pushed me into tackling some big projects that I have been putting off for some time.  Most of those, I have already written about, like the new shed, the gravel and the flooring projects. 

There was one other big project that has been nagging at me for several years now.  I've tried to hire someone to do this project, but every contractor I've talked to about it has taken one look and then disappeared off the planet.  I can only assume that either there is a voracious black hole that only eats contractors or they just don't want any part of my projects.  I suppose I should try to be understanding as I have gotten dubious looks from just about everybody on this one...

"Seriously Ma, you're gonna do WHAT?"

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't think this is crazy.  I'm afraid to think about what that means. 

Honestly though, it's not that crazy.  All I had to do was cut off the posts holding up the side of my barn, dig some deeper holes under them and put some new posts in their place without letting the roof fall on my head.

No big deal.

OK, so it was kind of a big deal and there were some dark moments.  You may ask why I would do such a crazy thing?  The answer is that these post, like those on my deck, heaved badly a few years ago and they get worse every winter since then.  The only way to keep the whole shed roof from tearing itself apart was to fix it.  I rented the big digger machine again to help with the holes...

I did have some willing volunteers, at least until the real work started and then they remembered some crucial sunbathing they absolutely needed to get to.
Everything went well at first.  However, I dug down about three feet (which was about how deep the old posts were) and I hit a layer of impenetrable hardpan that the excavator WOULD. NOT. DIG THROUGH..

Most people stop when they hit hardpan and just set the posts on top of it.  That's what happened the first time and it seems reasonable.  Hardpan is REALLY hard and should not move.  Setting posts on it even works in most places.  But not here.

That is how I found myself, with a badly pulled chest muscle, after hours of hard labor, crouched in the bottom of a deep, dank trench at 11:30 at night with a hammer and bar literally chiseling holes for my posts.  I actually ran out of swear words.  Can you believe it? 

Eventually, a little brown nose poked its way into the hole and whuffled at my hair.  I took a few minutes to rub that silky, soft muzzle from this novel angle and try to remind myself exactly why I have a barn in the first place.

It helped.

I will spare you the rest of the gory details, they are mostly a blur anyway.  Suffice it to say that the posts are now 5 feet deep - buried in the hardpan.  The roof-line and the wall are level again and the windows function once more.  The building did not fall down, I managed to get out of the holes and the new posts are set. 

The only real casualty of this endeavor seems to be the camera.  I forgot I had it in my pocket and all the dirt that got into it when I slither/fell into the holes seems to have done it in, which is why you don't get any pictures of this mess. 

I have some gutter to put up to get the water away from the posts and the barn and I still have to finish filling in the holes (there is another odd phenomena up here - you can dig a hole, which will be mostly rock, and then not have enough dirt or rock to fill the hole back in.  I have no idea where the original contents of the hole disappear to, but it happens all the time.  Come to think of it, the soil probably goes down the same black hole that contractors get swallowed into).  Otherwise, I am calling it a success (for now, we'll see how it fares over the winter). 

I also made a decision while I was chiseling hardpan at the bottom of a hole:  when one of these crazy projects finally does me in, I do not want to be buried.  I do not want all my bodily fluids sucked out and replaced with toxic chemicals so I can be crammed into a nasty little box and buried in the cold, dank ground.  A nice quick incineration would be much better thank you.  Spread my ashes on the wind and let them go where they may.

Farm Buddy gets my dog, the cat and my tractor.  Riding Buddy gets Tessa and the donkeys.  My sister gets the toy trucks and the three of you can sell everything else and split the proceeds. 


  1. I find it hilarious that after all that work you were compelled to write a will on a blog post. :) I am impressed with your work. I too want to be cremated and scattered in a forest.

    1. Hahahaha! That was my exact reaction, too!

      Chiseling away at hardpan can do that to a person, apparently. ;)

  2. Honestly I think I'm fine not seeing photos of you chiseling at hard pan. The description is harrowing enough. The upside .is you saved a bundle of money. But how's that pulled muscle coming along? You are amazing.

    1. The muscle is doing OK. The super crazy thing is that I didn't pull the muscle doing any hard work. I sneezed and the damn thing tore itself apart.

  3. You amazing me, once again; ran out of swear words, did you? I think you should send a letter to each of those contractors telling them you did it yourself. Big chickens.

  4. You are the hardest working person I `know`. Well done! Now get some rest. You deserve it!

  5. Mr Shoes has the kind of tenacity that you do - if he says he's doing it, it's getting done. Period. Nice job!
    p.s. I have never run out of swear words.

  6. You are one tough, smart, ambitious cookie! I could not be more impressed.

  7. Amen to cremation, taking care of the animals, and liquidating nearly everything else.

  8. Seriously impressed, Kris! You could probably put every one of those contractors out of business with your skills, and especially your tenacity! I wish I had just a speck of your sheer determination.

  9. Just call me impressed! Your ingenuity is really quite amazing and that stubborn streak of yours may get you in trouble some day, lol.

  10. If we dig down, we may find sandstone as we did when putting on the addition. I hope this holds for you! Now come on out here and lets look at my drainage problem! LOL!