Last Saturday was Concrete Day around the Stiller Compound. The long-awaited deck/patio is getting started. First step of the day is to fill up these holes with cement. Amazing Digger Marc used a pick to dig out the clay and rock,they're about 3 feet deep, he also made the wood forms, bent steel rebar and got the right tie-downs to use. Of course it hasn't rained in months, and when does it rain? The night before the cement is due to arrive. Cement of course needs to be kept damp for a while as it dries, but lots of rain would be a big problem (like filling up the holes with water as we try to fill them up with cement). A race with nature. I awoke to large clay footprints in the kitchen, followed them out into the backyard and there is the pit, awash in wet clay that has been tracked all over. Spike is here smelling it to make sure it is authorized. Zelda the wonder dog was locked up on the deck so she couldn't "help" as we struggled around with wheelbarrows full of wet cement.
We hung around drinking coffee waiting for the cement truck to arrive. We could hear a big truck driving around down the mountain (sound travels well early in the morning), and of course the driver was lost. Marc went down to town to lead him back home. Finally we heard the sounds of a big truck coming...The cement truck is here, the cement truck is here, joy in Whoville...
The two wheelbarrows stand at the ready, along with the worker bees. It is nice to have a big strapping teenager around to help out (costs in groceries though letmetellya). Once the cement is mixed, there are about two hours before it sets, as it took the guy an hour to get to our house, we were now racing against time.
Zach couldn't believe how excited his dad was about the cement truck. "Mom he is acting like a little kid." a little embarrassed, but still appreciating that it is nice to have a father that is both fun and funny.So here is one of the holes filled in with the cement (I was on shoveling duty), pieces of rebar are put into the hole for additional strength, the wood form is placed over the hole, filled up with cement, then the bent rebar is inserted through the steel tie-down and all the way down to the bottom of the hole. The upright posts for the deck will be attached there(eventually). Some people enjoyed getting down and dirty with the cement, using fingers to get it smoothed out on top.
At one point Zach ended up with one of his feet down in one of the holes. Unfortunately the hole was also filled with cement at that point. After lots of hollering, he washed it all off quickly. Not as much fun as stepping in mud, much grittier!
Here is what Marc's shoes looked like in the morning, absolutely coated in the incredibly sticky mud from our backyard. These are one of the pairs of shoes he wears to work. Why he doesn't change into sneakers when he works outside is well, one of the mysteries of the universe. I guess they were handy when he got going in the morning. And I hadn't gotten up yet to bug him to change. sigh. Well, the mud eventually came off. I spent about an hour washing off the driveway so it wouldn't get tracked into the house.
Pretty fun huh? Next up, laying down drain rock and rebar in the space where the patio will be
poured. Guess we better get going before the rain really starts and fills in the excavation Marc has worked so hard on.