November 5th, 2015

wayside cross

Back at it

I took advantage of a hole in my schedule today to drive over to Wilderstead and see where we stand. I hadn't been over there since my injury and I didn't know what I'd find. I put everything away and locked up before heading for the hospital last month, but the condition of the concrete I poured was a big question mark (concrete needs moisture to cure or it loses its strength). Also, up till now I hadn't driven anywhere more than an hour away, and I didn't know how my ankles and feet would handle that, not to mention walking around on rough surfaces without adequate support.

I took it easy on the drive, stopping several times to walk around and keep the blood flowing in my legs. I reached the holler after about three hours on the road. When I opened up the cabin, I discovered that we had experienced a mass die-off of ladybugs. They were all over the floor. That would take extra time to clean up before I leave, I thought.

I checked out the building site, and my concern over the concrete was somewhat alleviated. There was standing water in the trenches, so God watered my concrete while I couldn't be there to see after its curing. (What the condition of the parts were that were higher and peeking through the water, I'd have to wait until the drill hit them to see.) Anyway, the first thing to do was to get my borrowed pump and extract the water. Then, I could see what I was dealing with.

Last month's storms had washed a fair amount of mud down into the trenches in some spots; this is what you get for having to stretch a job out that ought to be done all at once. I figured I could easily clean off much of it, but there was one spot -- where the concrete didn't reach last time, still bare earth and rebar -- where a lot of mud had fallen in. That would have to be painstakingly excavated by hand, down in the mud. And all I had to wear was loose sandals over my stockinged and bandaged feet. (They act like wicks if there is the slightest moisture on the surface I'm crossing.) So, before trying to do anything down in the trenches, I went to the cabin and got some ziploc bags and put them over my feet, then put my sandals back on. Good enough for now.

Well, I cleaned up the surfaces and built up the inside corners with forms, so as not to waste the new concrete to be poured. Then, I decided the time had come to drill some holes. The basic situation I left after last month was that I didn't get the concrete spread enough or leveled well enough, so I'm going to have to pour a cap of new concrete over the old, tying it together with rebar. My goal today was to drill holes in all the old concrete and insert vertical rebar rods, which would be leveled at the tops and tied together with a band of rebar all around; then I can pour about four more yards of concrete over the whole mess and level it properly (gonnna need help; we'll see how many friends I've got).

Well, I put the masonry bit in the drill I'd borrowed and hoped that the concrete would prove strong and cured. I was not disappointed. In fact, I couldn't drill as deeply as I needed; I feared burning out the borrowed drill. The concrete was well and truly set. So, at this point it was bucking three o'clock and I needed a bigger drill. Some gumboots to go over my stocking feet to muck out the back end of the trench would help, too. I could go into town and get them, but I'd waste an hour or even an hour and a half, and by then getting the job done would be iffy. Plus, I'd been working hard on my injured feet for several hours, and I still had a long drive home before I could clean up and change my bandages.

So, I opted to bug out. Cleaned everything up and hit the road. Tomorrow, I've got things to do in town here, but Saturday looks good for an early morning boogie over to Wilderstead. In the meantime, I'll see about renting a hammer drill with enough power to get 'er done, plus some other supplies I'll need. My hope is to be ready to order some more concrete next week and get this fershlugginer job done before the snow flies!

The holler was beautiful, the day was pleasant, and my feet are healing nicely and supporting me in all my plans. God is very good to me. (Though after I got home and cleaned up, I immediately fell asleep in the recliner, so I'm not 100% quite yet.)