I came home on Friday with hope in my heart and a smile on my face, eagerly expecting to see the slabs getting poured. instead I found this.
Apparently when the 2nd driver of the day showed up, no one was out at the road waiting to guide him back to where the pour was happening. He says that he sat at the end of the driveway for a few minutes waiting for someone and was thinking of going back down the street to another “farm” he had seen and was in the process of calling his dispatcher when Al and his brother appeared from the back yard waving him on. Not thinking(I guess) the driver just put his rig into drive and went straight ahead, ignoring the fact that the southern edge of the driveway (where it splits) doesn’t go in a straight line, instead it follows a graceful sweeping curve as the driveway divides.
I don’t really know how long he sat there slowly sinking into my yard, but it was at least a couple of hours. Anyone who has ever worked with cement will begin to feel uneasy at this notion. 9 yards of cement slowly setting up in a rotating tank is a terrifying proposition. Granted, the tank was rotating VERY VERY slowly so that the curing process was delayed, but this only slows the process, it doesn’t stop it altogether. Rather than resort to external help (Kingsville Towing, truly magicians at lifting and moving large things) these guys decided to send back the 1st truck with a steel cable to pull the 2nd truck out. Angry words were exchanged between drivers. To the point that Al thought they were going to come to blows, but cooler heads prevailed and the truck was pulled out without issue. Which simply moved the project back to square one. Watching him drive his rig into the backyard was terrifying. Made all the worse by the fact that the truck tire’s treads were now filled completely with the mud from the soft spot he had buried the truck into. All the while we were screwing around getting the 2nd truck out of the yard, the 2 slabs were curing in the back yard as well.
I don’t know if this 2nd driver was new to the job or what, but he seemed to have only a tentative grasp on how things normally progress. Getting stuck and exchanging angry words with his co-worker did nothing to ease the process along, to be sure, but of the 100’s of other yards of cement I have been around watching or helping being poured, these 9 yards were the most nerve wracking I have ever witnessed.
Now, mind you that I don’t generally get home from work till 6:00 pm, and this time of year (less than a week after fall Equinox) the sun sets at around 7:00. Needless to say, it got dark while they were pouring. Black dark back by the barn. Zero light. When Al asked if I had any light of any kind that I could bring out, I was again reminded of how much I had lost in the fire. Almost every single work light, shop light, and hand light had been in the barn when it burned. Luckily I had to buy a new clip light when I raised a batch of meat birds over the summer that I used as a brooder light. They got that and the tall brass pole light that usually sits in our living room. Not a lot of light, but it was enough.
Unfortunately for the driver, his problem only got worse. Al and his brother were pretty fed up with the guy by the time they had enough cement in the form to so what they needed. And because the cement had been in the tank so long, it was setting up pretty quickly once it got into the open air and stopped moving. This led to one of the worst things that can happen to a cement truck. As the driver was cleaning out his chute, he quickly realized that there was an awful lot of cement sitting at the top of his chute. By the time he got the chute sections cleaned out, and I walked up with my flash light, the upper most section was already set up and showed exactly no interest in coming clean without a small jack hammer. That, compounded by his needing to add so much water to the mix in order to keep it from curing in his tank, he ran out of water, too. I could feel the guy seething. The way he was pacing back and forth, making a clicking sound with his mouth, reminded me of other men I’ve seen who are on the verge of causing extreme violence. The only problem was, there was exactly no one to blame but himself. He couldn’t exactly blame the driveway for not being straight, but I think he tried.
Once we got him turned around and back out to Furnace Road, Al and his brother were able to focus on getting the slabs finished before the were totally set up. Which they did.
They were here till just after 10:00 pm which is when I had to go to bed as I worked on Saturday as well. When I left them to finish up, the wind had begun to pick up, causing an unappreciated cascade of acorns to come raining down on their work (that is what all the dots are on the pictures above). And let me tell you, the trees that the acorns are coming from are quite tall, so that by they time they reach the ground, they’re moving pretty fast and really pack a punch.
So that’s that. Now the work can really begin. Now I get to figure out how to build these things (without instructions of course). Some day soon, I’ll be reaching out to anyone interested and willing to come over and help me tighten almost 4000 bolts (3582 in just the walls and roof panels of the 2 bins). So stay tuned.