Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rolling Along in the Hills

Barb has a new friend! He is off limits when it come to hunting
Whenever we are faced with daunting and seemingly unachievable tasks we try and do the same thing; break it down into manageable parts and take it slow and easy. Eventually bit by bit you whittle away at it and you are closer to achieving your goal......then there are the times you have to jump right in with both feet work like crazy and hope for the best.  

We had a little bit of both this past week……
But let me back up. At the end of our last post I mentioned that my sister Carol was going to visit us. We had not seen her since she visited us in Ontario over a year ago so we were looking forward to seeing her again. It was a wonderful week, we loved having her out and showing her our little slice of heaven.
Sister Carol
We spent the week visiting and getting a few projects done. I was finally able to hang the shed doors, they turned out great!
Now I just need to do the other side!
One of the things I was looking forward to was taking her on a jeep ride on the wildlife loop in Custer State Park and then over to Mount Rushmore. 
Our nemesis!

Burro looking for a handout
Then one afternoon we got a message from one of Barb’s friends from Wisconsin who was vacationing in Colorado and was coming through the Black Hills on their way home. It had been years since we had seen Jim and Melanie and we spent the afternoon catching up and rehashing old adventures. We had a great time and it was fun afternoon.
Barb and I with Jim and Melanie
The next day Barb drove 1½ hours north up to Belle Fourche as another one of her Wisconsin friends was there for a barrel race. Barb and Lori used to go to a lot of barrel races together and again had not seen each other in several years.
Lori (on the right)
On the way back home she went through Deadwood where she again ran into Jim and Melanie. Coincidence?  I think not…..She stopped and had beer with them and watched a reenactment of the Wild Bill Hickcock gunfight. 

A few days later Kevin and Cheryl arrived and the work began. The plan was for Kevin to finish the concrete at his place and to get the house concrete and footings done at our place. But first he had two goals. The first was to take Cheryl on a balloon ride for her birthday.....
That looks like fun!
…. and the other was to get the new sign up at their ranch!
Last time Kevin came out to do concrete he brought his crew out to help. A total of 5 guys who were experienced in concrete work and one guy (me) who had never done it before. This time Kevin had his work cut out for him as it was him, me, Barb and Cheryl. It would be an understatement to say that Kevin was dreading this week but hey, you got to work with what you have! 

We spent one day getting his site prepped. The section we were to pour at Kevin's was 40' x 38' for his garage and horse stall area. The first step was to put some poly down, lay the rebar and set the leveling stakes. 
The weather was iffy on the pour day, it started out drizzling and overcast but it was supposed to clear up throughout the day. We called the concrete company to confirm our delivery and they said a lot of people were canceling due to weather. Well, we did not have a choice and just went for it.

Looks like a dream concrete crew to me!
When the truck arrived, the driver got out looked at the 4 of us and said "Where is the rest of your crew?" When we said, we are it, he had a skeptical look on his face and started putting the chute together. 

There are basically three jobs while pouring; running the chute, raking and screeding. Barb, Cheryl and I took turns with the chute and raking and Kevin did the screeding. 

During the pour it is an hour of backbreaking work, there is no slowing down, there is no time for conversation, just time to listen to Kevin and follow direction. There was barely enough time to stop and take pictures!
Looks like Barb is doing it all by herself!
Kevin screeding while I run the chute and Barb rakes
At the end of the pour the driver said he was impressed and that his wife would not even know what end of a shovel to use!
Last corner!

Once the concrete is down and the trucks gone the pressure is off..... a little bit. Kevin worked the bull float while the rest of us worked the edges with hand trowels.
Kevin floating the slab
The last step is to finish the concrete with a power trowel. There are several steps to this and takes over an hour to get it just right. 

Next up was our place! Our pour was going to be 30' x 38' plus footings for a 30' x 50' garage. We spent one day getting the rest of the forms down, using the laser level to make sure everything was level, laying the foam under the house section and installing the tubing for the in-floor heat. 

Setting foam in the house section
Foam down and heat tubing in!
Because of all the plumbing pipes we had to work around we decided to break the pour into two sections and two days so we ran a form board down the middle. 
Broken into two sections
Ready for concrete!
On pour day we again had our dream team along with the help of our neighbor Doug. Luckily there was enough room on both sides of the foundation so the truck was able to drive right down the sides and there was no wheel barrel work! Again, it was intense work but overall it went very smoothly.

Today I got a lesson on the power trowel. That helped speed things up so Kevin could move on to finishing around all the pipes.
The next day we did the other side as well as the footings around the garage. We again had help from our neighbor Doug as well as another friend, Richard from Hill City. The two extra hands really helped!
Here it comes!
Me, power troweling

Barb working on the footings for the garage
Before we knew it we were all done. Exhausted but all done!

Ready for framing!
What Kevin was dreading since the inception of the idea did not turn out bad at all. Although there were a few intense moments on each of our parts, he said it could not have gone much better; the weather cooperated, the pours went well and we all remained friends through the entire project. What more could you ask for?!?!?

Our goals for this year on our house was to get the concrete down and that in itself was a huge accomplishment. We will concrete the garage at a later date but for now we are just keeping it gravel.

Work done, visiting done, deer hunting done, it is time to move on. We are headed north to the farm in North Dakota where the 10 day forecast shows lows in the 20's!

Are we nuts? If you know us at all you already know the answer to that one!


  1. Well done! What a lot of work but you are ready to frame when you decide. Although we are ready for concrete we don't know exactly when it will come. Hopefully this week so we will be able to use our driveway sometime soon. This morning as I sit here at 7:40am the saws are running taking the last of the sundeck down as they have the gazebo supported with scafflolding. Can't wait to be able to get outside onto our sundeck. Freya certainly has not been impressed with being mostly housebound! Our new dock should be floated down the lake to us this morning. Stay warm going north. :)

    1. Isn't it exciting to make progress on your projects?!?!? We are looking forward to getting the framing started next year!

  2. Wow, that's some impressive work there, and even more impressive crew! Must be very rewarding to have that done. Any hand prints left behind? ;-)

    1. No hand prints. We were going to put some paw prints in there but by the time we remembered it was too late!

  3. You guys are hard workers! I'll bet you were sore the next day? It looks amazing. I love watching the progress! Nice visiting too. We've been in the low 20s at night this past week. Cold, but with the fleece sheets, we don't even notice. Once we leave Redfish Lake (ID) It'll get back into the 40s at night and, yay, 70s in the day! Enjoy your time up north!

    1. The next day? We were sore every morning we woke up last week. We are so glad it is over!

  4. I will keep my opinions to myself. I think I have discovered my super power. I seem to sense when there is going to be hard work and am able to disappear. I hope you had enough concrete for our pad.

    1. Your pad is surrounded by concrete but we are taking donations to finish it!

  5. Those barn doors are sweet! I love that you all aren’t afraid to tackle these projects. Looks like Kevin knows his way around a concrete job.

    1. We are really happy with how the doors turned out, just wish I would have had time to get the other set done. Kevin is a master when it comes to concrete and any other aspects of construction!

  6. So nice to see the progress! Well done

  7. Although I've never poured that much concrete in one go, I certainly understand the various emotions you go through. Anticipation waiting for the truck, the shear dread when it arrives and starts dumping, the agony of wanting to take a break mid-pour and you know you can't, the very slight decline in adrenaline when the pouring is done and the truck is gone, and finally the satisfaction of seeing the result of all that hard work. Well done you guys!!

  8. Wow, fantastic job! Must feel good to make such progress with limited time. It's good to have friends nearby! Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

    1. Thanks! Very rewarding and exciting to achieve this goal. Now we just wait until next spring to carry on!

  9. You've got your priorities set and that is good.
    Barb needed a break after all that bragging you did over your trophy.
    I'm certain warm showers helped ease a lot of aching Muscles.
    Good Job.
    Be Safe and Enjoy helping on the Farm.

    It's about time.

    1. The only thing that would have been better than a warm shower would have been a soak in a hot tub. Maybe next year......

  10. You guys sure picked an awesome area to have your little piece of paradise with so much to see and do around there. I did a concrete pad years ago and couldn’t imagine doing such a large job with only 4 people...well done everyone! Nice to have friends willing to help out too.

    1. We were not looking forward to it ourselves but now that it is done, it was not bad at all!

  11. You made my heart skip a beat when I saw Barb feeding the buck. I know how you and hunting are. I was so glad to see that you will spare him. Maybe you should consider hunting away from your property!? Now that was a job well done. The cement base looks great. You four were a hard working crew. Glad you had some time for fun in between:) Enjoy ND!

    1. I might just have to find a new hunting area if we start becoming attached to these guys. As of right now there are 6 deer that are off limits and the neighbors on both sides are on board as well!

    2. Jim and Barb check out our blog, I have some thoughts if you decide to head up to the Maritimes.

    3. Heard you were heading up that way, looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  12. Doing some catch up reading. Great job on both pours, things are moving along nicely.