Tuesday, 26 August 2014

the high price of rain

Big week started bad and then went quickly downhill!

On the weekend I spent all day tidying up the piers ready for the concrete delivery this morning. On the way home my ute broke down and I had to wait 2.5 hours to be towed.

Monday I had to hire a car to meet the delivery of my tank sand and gravel. Also the excavators came to dig my septic tank hole, the absorption trench and levelled my tank pad and helped spread the sand to make it easier for me to level:

16 tonnes of washed river sand for the watertank base:

Septic tank hole being excavated:

tank pad sand levelled:

Then after lunch heavy clouds appeared and a thunderstorm threatened but passed by with just a lot of noise and very little rain.

Also I had my first Council inspection of the footings and passed. As the inspector left I warned him to drive carefully as there are a lot of kangaroos about this area.

That was the good bit!

Driving home to return the hire car I hit a kangaroo.

Then this morning I was out early to meet the concrete truck and didn't realise until I was at the land that a huge amount of rain had fallen overnight (over 45mm) in that region. More than twice as much as where I am currently living:

But the pier holes had remained fairly empty unlike the previous occasion, as the metal tubes stopped surface water draining into them.

Then the concrete truck and the pump operator arrived at the same time.

And both became stuck on my dam wall:

They weren't bogged but couldn't get enough traction to get up the gentle rise at the house site end.

Then they couldn't reverse back out the entrance.

Eventually they called a backup truck which they assured me was strong enough to drag them both up the rise so they could fill the piers and drag them out again.

So 45 minutes later it turned up and within 10 minutes:

Yup - it became seriously bogged.

They then called for a second backup truck.

By this time I envisaged an entire fleet of trucks bogged on my property.

And so...4 hours later the three stuck vehicles were towed out of the front gate and I was left with a $2,300 bill and nothing to show for it except a lot of mud and mess. (And that's providing they don't bill me for the back up trucks)

The concrete was taken back for disposal.

So I'm home and not feeling terribly happy!!

I've cancelled the watertank delivery on Thursday as I don't dare risk their truck getting bogged. Also had to cancel the 18,000 litres of water (it's needed in the tank soon after construction to stabilise it) and the septic tank delivery for much the same reason.

The flash storm proved an expensive experience for me!

You will, no doubt, fully understand why, when I finally arrived home, I consumed an entire packet of Tim Tams.

ps - no more updates until November as on Monday I am leaving on a 7 week backpacking trip starting in Kashgar in Western China, crossing the Torugart Pass into Kyrgyzstan, through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and finishing up with the last 3 weeks in Iran. If interested you can follow the adventure on my travel blog.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

wet wet wet

...and the rains came!

 We had over 60mm fall the day after I finished the last hole.

Tried bucketing out the water but the mud (clay) was so thick it became too difficult to walk around the site. Wellies collected so much clay on them they weighed a tonne.

So I hired a pump for the day.

Finally dried out the pier holes, placed all the metal tubes then levelled and backfilled them.

Unfortunately there are more wet days ahead which might stall progress.

One of the positives was that my dam has finally a decent amount of water in it!

3 weeks ago

Sunday, 17 August 2014

builders' equivalent of the rain dance....

...drill your foundations and the rain will come!

After an exceptionally dry first half of August as soon as I drill the 58 pier holes it decids to bucket it down.  (sigh....)

The day of the Dingo - just a big Tonka toy really.

Soil was so dry it wouldn't lift out with the auger.
 So it needed to be dug out by hand.
Getting there:

All done:
All the holes are between 300 and 400mm deep. I was fairly lucky as there were only 3 out of the 58 that I needed to get down and dirty with a crow bar to break up rock.

The weather stayed sunny and almost completely cloud free right up until I emptied the last hole yesterday afternoon.

Today's forecast? 20 -40mm rain.

Next week I need to set and level all the pier tubes and pour the concrete and embed the pier plates before the concrete sets. A few days later my water tank arrives, the septic hole and absorption bed are being excavated and the septic tank installed.