Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 64...Pouring A Concrete Patio & Angled Walls

Off Grid...Chapter 64

Mike and I have been really busy and we have gotten a lot done. This is going to take me quite awhile to type so I better get started.

Thursday 5-21-09
Today the concrete crew is scheduled to show up and do the footers for our new walls. They show up and everyone is ready to work.

First Jim uses the Bobcat to finish cleaning up for the footers.

After the ground is cleared the crew starts to set up the wood and the rebar. This time we don't have a pumper truck so the concrete has to be hauled down to the front of the house. We use the tractor to do this.

The concrete is being poured into the tractor bucket.

Then Jim brings it down and dumps it.

After multiple trips back and forth and my trip to get diesel we finally got all the concrete down and the footers are done. At least the tractor bucket was better than the guys using 5 gallon buckets and hauling by hand, lol.

The footers are poured.

Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day. While we were inside tonight Mike told me to grab a camera and show all of you our sky tonight.

Friday 5-22-09
Today will be very hectic. The concrete crew will be here first thing to put up rebar and the forms for our walls. They are also prepping the patio. The concrete pumper truck is supposed to be here by 2:00pm. Mike, Niki, and I have to stay in the motorhome tonight so the patio has time to cure. I spent the morning packing up all of our supplies and running back and forth from the coach to the house. It's a great workout just going up and down our little drive.

Here is the crew putting up the rebar for one of the walls.

The form boards for one wall are done. There is an angled piece of wood inside for the angled walls.

After the crew gets the form boards up for both of our walls they start working on the patio.

They are almost done and ready for the pumper truck. Woo hoo the pumper truck is here. Something is wrong so I go to see what happened. Uh oh this does not look good. I'm at the top looking down the driveway and it looks like he is off the road. He didn't even make it to the rough part. Mike is already down there so I walk down. Ok I have no clue how this happened. The truck isn't even close to being on the road and he is in the ditch.

Apparently the driver thought it was more important to answer his phone than to pay attention to the road and he drove into the ditch.

This is how far off our road he was when he drove into the ditch.

Once again we have to call Jimmy and see if he can help us out. Mike makes sure he will get paid first and calls him. Sure enough Jimmy loads up his backhoe, brings it over here, and helps us out. We were very lucky Jimmy came over considering this is late Friday afternoon an a Holiday weekend.

He pulls this guy up the driveway. The pumper driver is such a nervous wreck that he almost runs Jimmy over a few times before they get to the top.

Back up to the patio and wall prep. Here is the wall on the other side of the house.

The crew tells mike they need more dirt in the patio so Mike starts hauling and dumping dirt for them.

Meanwhile the pumper guy is running his lines out and getting ready to pump. The first concrete truck shows up and he gets set up.

The patio is ready for concrete.

They start loading the concrete into the pumper truck so he can pump it through the lines and to the crew. Unfortunately he is having trouble. He can't get the primer working and it won't pump. Meanwhile the second concrete truck shows up and they didn't leave him enough room so he is stuck in the driveway close to the top. The concrete is hardening in the pumper lines and he has to start beating it out. Oh this is going to be fun.
After messing with the lines for awhile he says he needs to try and get the primer working. After about a half an hour with everyone waiting he can't get it fixed. I go over to the driver who is stuck in the driveway and tell him what happened. He tells me the concrete can't wait. Once it runs it's cycle it won't be any good to use. I ask how long and he says you need to pour within an hour of us getting here. Uh oh.

The pumper guy says he called his boss and another pumper is on the way. So we wait, and wait, and add water to the concrete because it is getting too hard. We wait some more and add more water. Now I'm worried that the concrete mix will be bad and we shouldn't use it. Our concrete company foreman already left and we can't get in touch with him. If Mike and I send all these guys home without his OK we will have to pay for this mess up today.

Finally 2 hours later the pumper's boss shows up but not with another pumper. He comes with tools. Well now it's too late. Finally Mike talks to Jim and tells him what's going on. He says "the concrete is too old send everyone home". An entire day wasted, crews getting paid to stand around, concrete gone bad that will cost the contractor, and a towing bill for the pumper company all because one person had to answer a phone and not pay attention. What a disaster.

Now we have to tell everyone to leave. The concrete truck are full and they have to go back "down" our driveway. It's kind of spooky because with all that weight they can easily be pushed down the driveway. They slowly and carefully make it out. The other crew heads out and now we just have the pumper truck here and his boss. I start unpacking the coach to move back into the house.

Finally they are all gone. But now we are stuck with a huge tore up mess and it's Friday night of a Holiday weekend. Now we can't get cleaned up for days. Hopefully it doesn't rain.

Saturday 5-23
After yesterday's aggravation I told Mike let's just get out of here today. So we load everything up and head over to the other property to mow and work on the fencing.

I finish all the weed eating before Mike is done so I start to work on the fence. We need to add a small border fence at the back of the property by the big creek in case we sell. We have some extra wire on the front fence which has 6 strands of barbed wire. So I go up with the tools and start un clipping the wire and rolling up the bottom strand of barbed wire. After I finish with that I grab the T-post remover and take out 3 extra T-posts from around the property.

By that tome Mike is finished and he meets me by the creek to put up a quickie fence.

Here is Mike putting up the fence.

Our small fence is done.

All done for now. Now we are just waiting to close and than we can close off the pother fence that keeps our 2 properties separated.

On our way out Mike says "I have to show you our crazy birds". Every year we have these little birds(?) that make their nest with their eggs in the gravel right in the middle of the driveway. They are very lucky we haven't run them over yet. Anyway, as soon as you get close to them the parents try to get you away. They split up, start making a lot of noise, and then they lay on their sides and start flapping one wing like it is broken. I guess that is their defense mechanism for keeping their eggs safe. I think they would be safer if they didn't lay their eggs in the middle of the road. This year they picked a different spot. They moved the gravel onto the grass and laid their eggs there. Now we have to be careful not to mow over them.

Here are the birds with their eggs in the gravel.

Tonight we had rain come in and what a big mess it made.

Sunday 5-24-09
The rain is back. Yuk!! We made a run to Lowe's to pick up wire for the solar panels and concrete sealer for the corners of our walls. It was still raining when we got home so we just cleaned up the gray building some more.

Monday 5-25
It rained on and off most of the day. Mike and I are not patient with bad weather. It puts a halt to everything.

Tuesday 5-26
Mike called Jim to see when he was coming to finish the concrete. Mike also told him he would like him to bring the site level and re check the form boards for the walls because they don't look straight and level.

Jim said he would be out with a crew first thing in the morning and he would make sure everything was right.

The remainder of the day it threatened to rain which really messed us up. Mike wanted to repaint the roof of the gray building but he couldn't risk it raining.

Wednesday 5-27
Today is the big day. We are going to try and get the concrete poured again. Hopefully all goes well this time. It does look like rain so that is not too good.

A new crew showed up with Jim first thing and they started checking the work that had been done. Sure enough there were some problems with the walls. The main problem was the walls were very crooked. It took this crew a few hours to fix the mistakes from the last crew. Who knows, Mike always says "things happen for a reason" and maybe this is why we had so much trouble last week Friday getting the concrete poured. They also used the site level on the patio and that looks good.

The crew is adding some 2x4's to the sides of the form boards so the concrete doesn't ooze out the sides.

Next they use a compactor on the dirt in the patio. It needs to be packed down before they pour the concrete on top.

The pumper truck is supposed to be here at 2:00pm. I spend the morning, once again, running back and forth to the motorhome so we can spend the night. Hopefully I won't have to "unload" everything before the patio and walls get done.

The pumper truck is here and this time the owner is driving. He makes it up with no trouble. Woo hoo. Next he calls the concrete company to tell them to send the trucks. Apparently because of last week's fiasco they want to confirm that they will be paid for the lost concrete from last week. This all gets squared away and they send out 2 concrete trucks. The pumper guy starts to set up his lines and gets ready.

Meanwhile the crew in front starts spraying the form boards so that the concrete won't stick when they pull the boards off.

The concrete trucks are here and we are all ready to go. The truck starts pouring the concrete into the pumper but now the pumper truck is having trouble sending it through the lines. Oh no, here we go again. They went with a dry mix today because of the rain so it is very hard to get it to flow through the lines. The rest of the crew is also getting frustrated because they are holding the line up in the air and waiting for the concrete so they can guide it into the forms. Finally after trying to bang the concrete through and adding some water the owner from the pumper company decides to change his line form 3" lines to 4" lines so that it will pump. I asked Jim why he didn't use the 4" lines to begin with since they are working with a thick mix. He said "It's too much work". No he didn't just say that to me. You've got to be kidding. So the mess with clogging the lines, un doing the lines to beat the concrete out multiple times because it was stuck,and making a whole crew and 2 drivers wait is worth it? I didn't say this out loud, By that point I had to walk away. I figure I must be the crazy one. Here we are letting the "professionals" do their jobs and it is a mess. Last year this company and crew were great. This year things have changed.

Finally they get the concrete flowing but it still isn't going easy. Here they are pouring the first wall.

The angled board for our wall.

Concrete being pured into the pumper truck.

Pouring our 2nd wall.

Trying to pour the patio but they are having trouble again with the pumper truck.

Also during the middle of all of this it is raining out. Thankfully it isn't a hard rain.

Spreading the concrete around the patio.

Smoothing it out.

Brushing it.

Putting on the expansion cuts.

Giving it a picture framed edge.

Yeah the concrete is finally poured and they are done. We are only a week behind of schedule, lol. They put plastic over it to protect it from the rain. Jim will be back in a couple of days to take the form boards off.

After everyone leaves we take a ride into town to pick up some landscaping trees. We can't wait to get our front yard finished.

This goes to show you why Mike and I like to be just "Mike and Lisa". Life is so much calmer and in our control when it is just us. Unfortunately we can't do the really big jobs. I am very thankful for us to be back t normal for the next couple of weeks.

I hope you all enjoyed the "adventures" of Mike and Lisa this week.



  1. Those are killdee eggs!! Very cool!

    1. Killdeer. Missed the 'r'!

    2. I thought so but what a dangerous place to have your eggs.

  2. What a mess the concrete situation turned out to be. Same problem here, IF you can even get a contractor out to do a job, It is brutal around here to get people to do things ... and here I thought people were looking for work. Silly me. :)

    1. Many times we will hire whoever calls back. A sign of the times???