Excavation

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mtngun
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Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Excavation

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:51 pm

from the old forum:

After several days of dry weather, the excavation was picking up speed and was about 80% done. But then came a good soaking rain, turning the building site into a mud bog. Even a wheelbarrow can't get around now, so the excavation has to wait.

There is no shortage of rainy day chores, though.

First up was fixing the 3/4 ton, with the bad tranny that wouldn\'t go into reverse or nuetral. Before ripping the tranny out, it seemed prudent to check for simple things. I adjusted the kickdown cable, and verified that the vacuum line to the modulator was connected. I pulled the flywheel cover and found that one of the three flywheel bolts had backed out and had been hammering on the engine block. Ooops !!

Then I pulled the tranny pan. The oil looked and smelled normal, and there were no metal chips in the pan. The detent lever seemed awfully wobbly, though, and the detent roller was off to one side of the lever. While I was wiggling the lever, the "S" hook that connects the lever to the manual valve fell out. That didn't seem right.

It turned out that the nut holding the manual shaft had wiggled loose and allowed the shift mechanism to get out of sorts. After tighening the nut and putting things back together, the tranny runs fine.

What a relief !!! I had been concerned that I would have to either shell out big bucks for a store-bought tranny (the local auto parts monopoly wanted $1130) or else rebuild the transmission in the mud and rain. Hmmm, maybe I can afford a coyote rifle after all ???? :lol:

Then I checked out the lights on the trailer. One bulb was bad, but fortunately I had a spare in my toolbox. I'd already welded the trailer's broken spring shackles, so now the trailer is ready for business.

I lay the conduit for the electrical service entrance in the trench, sliding each section of conduit over the cable so that I wouldn't have to pull the 70' of service entrance cable through the conduit later. Then I covered the conduit with 6" of dirt. The PVC air line should go on top of that, but the local building supply monopoly didn't have all the fittings needed for the air line, and it seems prudent to test the line for leaks before covering it with dirt, so that project is on hold again.

I ordered (online, of course) 30-something pounds of various seeds to sow on all the dirt that I have been digging up and scattering around. Nature abhors a vacuum, and weeds will take control of the disturbed soil if I don't get something planted quickly.

I have been planting a few trees as time and money allows. I've planted a bunch of native willow along my seasonal creek. It's easy to plant willow -- just cut a section of a branch from a willow tree, and stick it in the ground.

Funny, I haven't seen a single aspen tree in this area, even though our wet meadows should be aspen-friendly So I bought an aspen at a store. Two days after it was planted, deer or something ate it to the ground. Maybe that's why there aren\'t any aspen around ????? I may try again later.

I've "borrowed" a few ponderosa pine seedlings that I found along the back roads. These trees have a deep tap root that almost always gets damaged when you dig them up, so maybe half of them will survive, if I'm lucky. Ponderosa seems to do well in our high meadows, even in poor soil, and it's a handsome tree.

If the rainy weather persists, then I'll use the 3/4 ton and the trailer to haul in gravel. There doesn't seem to be a source of clean gravel on the mountain, so it will have to be hauled in from the Salmon River. That'll keep me busy for a while.

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mtngun
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Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Excavation

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:04 pm

The excavation looks almost done -- but it still needs to be leveled, drains installed, pipes, etc. Since this picture was taken, we've received over an inch of rain, and the excavation work has ground to a halt until the pit dries out. It's fair to say that the excavation is definitely behind schedule, due to the rain. It's very frustrating, but you can't do anything about the weather.
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When it is too muddy to excavate, I haul gravel or other supplies. The gravel was supposed to be for the shop foundation, but after the trailer got stuck in the muddy driveway, suddenly it seemed like a good idea to put the gravel on the driveway instead.
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Supplies have to be hauled up the one lane switchback road called the Doumecq. The ancient 3/4 ton huffs and puffs at 5 mph pulling the heavy trailer up in 4 Low. That's the Salmon River at the bottom, and the town of Whitebird.
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I've nearly recovered from the lightening damage. The external hard drive got a new box and fortunately the drive's contents were unharmed. The GFCI's have been replaced, and the new satellite transceiver (luckily still under warranty) works fine. I miss my electric blanket though, since night temperatures routinely hit 40° or less.

The 3/4 ton was treated to a new radiator and a tranny cooler, and it's running pretty decent considering its age.

The utility trailer is currently grounded because the clamp-on wheel rims keep working loose and damaging or losing fasteners, and I didn't have any spares. Parts are on order. It's always something.

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mtngun
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Posts: 1626
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Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Excavation

Postby mtngun » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:40 am

If washing your car seems to make it rain, then how do you make it stop raining? In my case, I planted several hundred dollars worth of trees and seeds. Then I purchased a space heater to keep the shoot'n shack warm. Immediately, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

So it's back to excavating for the shop foundation. I figure three more days of digging, if the weather cooperates.

The heavy rains washed out my new dam. The dam's dirt was still soft and unsettled, and had no vegetation, and no provision for controlled overflow. It didn't have a chance. There still is a lot of excavation dirt to dispose of, so it's going in the dam. This time I am reinforcing it with rocks, and plan to build a rock spillway. It'll need time for the dirt to settle, and for grass and trees to grow on it, before it will be strong enough. Hopefully, it won't fill up again until next spring.
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The blue flowers are camas, which used to grow in profusely in these cool, boggy meadows. The camas root was an important food source for the Nez Perce.
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mtngun
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Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Excavation

Postby mtngun » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:46 am

The excavation is nearly done, except for a little trenching for pipes. The first concrete pour is scheduled for Monday the 26th. I will be handling 6 yards per pour, all by myself, and the concrete will already be 2 hours old by the time the truck gets here, so things may get crazy.

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As I was driving to town this morning, I saw a black bear cub -- the first bear I've seen up here. Yesterday I saw a tiny coyote pup. The pup was so cute, I couldn't bring myself to shoot it. A whitetail doe and fawn have been hanging around in my pasture. You can barely see the fawn in this picture, just behind mama's leg.

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User avatar
mtngun
Site Admin
Posts: 1626
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:45 pm
Location: Where the Salmon joins the Snake

Re: Excavation

Postby mtngun » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:47 am

I'm not setting any speed records, for sure, but there is visible progress now that the weather is cooperating.
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