Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I have a footing!!!!!

July 5 - (Internet wasn't working, so posting a day late)
I called this morning for my concrete delivery, they said 9:30, I said, “sounds good!”. Eric, the driver, showed up right at 9:30 (love that!). I told him I haven’t poured concrete before and he said he’d help me out a bit and he used to do concrete. So first he set up the chute and poured a bit of concrete in to check the slump then he showed me out to “scree” it. That is where you take a board and slide it across the top of the formwork to smooth out the concrete. Because I will be laying block I didn’t want it to be too smooth so there is some grip for the mortar. So Eric got in the truck and I drove the chute- giving him hand signals to move the truck or stop letting the concrete come out. He was impressed with my formwork and said it is better than a contractor’s! Such a relief because I was pretty nervous about my formwork all last week having never built any before! First we poured the back then down the south wall, across the front (west) wall then poured the north wall. Right at the end there wasn’t any more concrete coming out of the truck, so that was it. He said that was good, most contractors end up short or with a yard and a half extra. I only had about a half a 5 gallon bucket extra! He asked if I calculated it myself and was impressed when I said that I did!

Katrina and the Concrete: I’m walking on sunshine!! Unfortunately there aren’t any actions shots because when he got here I was too excited to get started to worry about trying to track someone down to take some pictures.

Before he left he gave me some pointers on laying the block. He said the mortar should be like peanut butter and when I get it on my trowel and hold it upside down it should stick- an excellent and important tip! Also he said to start with the corners and build them up as high as the wall will be then you lay the block in the middle. I told him I was planning to keep a string across to make sure it stays level (learned that in Brazil). I also asked when I can start laying block and he said tomorrow or even tonight!

I love building things and seeing it come together and learning to do new things and having professionals tell me that I’m doing it right!!! Feeling good :)

After the footing was poured, I called the block company and had all my blocka n mortar delivered. The guy was clearly an expert at the claw arcade game. He manuvered skillfully around the powerlines, dropping the block right near the entrance to the site. The concrete guy, Eric, said I could start as soon as tonight, but I’m gonna give it til tomorrow.

So then… Brian, the neighbor at the end of the road, stopped by! Brian is a masonry union working so he knows his stuff. He was soooo helpful. he offered advice and lent me tools, some things i didn’t even know existed! He used his laser level thingy (no lasers, just super precise) to help me see how level my formwork was. I was only a 1/2 inch off from level from the front to back, and between 1/8 and 1/4 out from level across the front. Not bas considering I pretty much gave up on getting everything perfectly level and went for level enough :P He gave me suggestions of a few things to do as I go and a few things to get me started. He even offered to come by tomorrow evening and help me cut some blocks! I told him I’d make him whatever baked good he wants!

I think at the end of this project I’d like to have a root cellar party, and invite all the people who’ve helped me out and worked on it. I’m hoping to get a bit more help mainly cause those suckers are heavy, especially when they’ve absorbed some water. Tomorrow is going to be awesome, finally getting going on the walls. Only 3 weeks to finish… wish me luck (and cooperation from the weather!)! If it rains one of these days and I can’t work, I’ll be spending it making something tasty for the neighbors for sure :)

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