Wednesday, April 3

Busy day

To put in our solar power system we have to build a support structure to hold the 15 big panels. We were instructed by the engineers to dig 10 holes to hold the uprights, two-inch galvanized water pipe. Nine of the holes were easy; the tenth couldn’t happen without either dynamite or a bulldozer. I sent an email to the county plan checker in the engineering department and he wrote back saying to put some foot-long pieces of reinforcing bar into some six-inch-deep holes in the rock, then pour concrete on the whole thing to hold up the pipe.
Four pieces of rebar will anchor one of our solar array legs. I hope the banana taffy I used to glue them in holds.
Today I drilled four holes in the rock with our rotary hammer drill. The drill bit had put many holes in many rocks before, and was a teensy bit dull. So that means it takes longer. Way longer. So here I am, leaning on this chattering machine, watching as not chips, but powder, emerges from the holes. Oddly, neither my hands nor my arms got sore and tired. But my gluteus maximus sure did. All of ’em.
Pure dance. The shovel handler tosses wet stucco up to the platform, while the plasterers spread it on the wall. This is the garage—the house is finished.
Meanwhile the stucco guys slapped another ten thousand pounds of concrete onto the house. Those guys work in a way that would make a Broadway choreographer jealous. Not a wasted motion, just smooth coordination between the guy who tosses sand and cement into the mixer, dumps it into a wheelbarrow, and tosses the mixture with a flat shovel onto the big flat boards on the platforms way up in the air where more guys are slathering it onto the walls. It’s quite a show.

Not to be slighted work-wise, Karla used her favorite chainsaw to clear up a whole bunch of brushy messy wood from a gorgeous oak tree down the hill from the garage. So it was work, work, work today. We went home tired and satisfied. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. Yay.

Cell phone pix: Tom

Tuesday, April 2

Such a deal!

I can’t believe those women just walked past such an opportunity to save.

Cell phone pix: Tom Hurley

Monday, April 1

Make a hole…

Tim directs as Luke eases the Bobcat onto our temporary platform
…times ten. Well, nine. When we started the project, we discovered that the little Bobcat hole digger can’t be used on too steep a slope without tipping forward. So we built a temporary platform out of a bunch of lumber and drove the Bobcat onto it. Worked like a charm.
A very nice hole, one foot in diameter by three feet deep was the result
One of the places where we have to put a leg of the solar panel support structure has a huge rock in it. There’s no way the auger could cut through it, so we are going to propose to the county building department that we put some little holes in the rock, stick bolts in them, then anchor a support for the solar panels to the rock.
We'll tell the inspector that this rock goes all the way to China
It took only a little over an hour to put in nine holes. Try that with a shovel!
As an aside, we discovered that the square tubing we have to use as part of the structure is over-long by almost double. It seems odd that the supplier, which supposedly cut everything according to their own engineering drawings, would be so far off. Waste of money, methinks.

Cell phone pix: Tom Hurley