Shop & carport containers moved

Friday was a big day.  The shop and carport containers got moved onto their slabs.  We had to empty the contents prior to moving them – and then put everything back inside before it rained.  My BigBlu power hammer, which weighs 2,000 pounds, also got moved onto the slab.  I can move it into its final position by rolling it around on steel pipes.

The pile of debris is a packrat nest that was under the shop container that was just moved.  Recovered 10 of my socks, a BBQ lighter and a knife the rats had previously “borrowed”.

Jaime & Matt helping guide the carport storage container into place.

Looking forward to having my power hammer running again soon.

Dirt & concrete

What a busy week!  The hole for the septic tank and part of the leach field were excavated so we could use the dirt to back fill the shop and carport stem walls.  Today we poured 40 yards of concrete for the shop and carport floors.  Progress!

Septic tank being lower into its hole.

Spreading the dirt from the septic tank and leach field holes.

Using a “jumping jack” to pack the dirt.  This 200lb machine literally jumps up and down to pack the dirt.  4 inches of aggregate base was then pack on top of this.  Followed by a grid of 1/2 inch rebar.

Took a quick break from construction to forge a branding iron for a client.  This is how you work when a proper anvil is not available.  I sure do miss banging on hot iron.

5:30 this morning waiting for the concrete and pump to arrive.

These guys make it look easy.

40 yards of finished concrete.   I will keep it wet for a few days so it cures harder faster.  Next week we will be craning the last two containers in place.  One for each slab.


Spent yesterday schlepping 7,500 pounds of floor tile from where the 5 pallets got dropped off to the “office” container – a distance of about 150 feet.   Three boxes at a time using my heavy duty hand cart.  They were in the way of where the electrical trench will be dug.  We have spent a fair amount of time moving stuff (usually heavy stuff) from one spot to another.  The challenges of a small building site.

The challenges of a small building envelope

We have kept the building envelope as small as possible to minimize disturbing our beautiful desert.  This means we have to do some projects in a specific order.   We needed dirt to backfill the stem walls of the shop and carport.  We had an excavator dig the hole for the septic tank and part of the leach field and put the dirt inside the stem walls.  They couldn’t dig the entire leach field (12 by 45 feet) because there is not enough room to store the dirt and still allow room for the concrete truck and pump that we need to pour the floors of the shop and carport.  Once the floors are poured we can move the two containers and our trailer on to the floors.  This will give us room to dig the trench for the electrical conduit so we can get APS power.  Then we can go back to the septic system and finish it.

Stem Walls

Got the stem wall forms up for the shop and carport.  Needed to back fill the trenches.  No room for a bobcat to haul the dirt to the back side so I used my ancient wheelbarrow.  The easiest way to shovel the very rocky soil is to use the trail rake to pull the dirt/rocks into a loose pile and then shovel it into the wheelbarrow.

Total of 16 yards of concrete.  The first truckload (10 yards) went perfect.  The concrete in the second truck was a tad runnier than the first.  All was going well until the excess moisture caused the OSB forms to split and partially give way.  Some fast reinforcement with scrap 2in square tubing and we finished the pour.  The back side of the carport will have an “organic” look to it.  I will do some creative stone work to make it artistic.

More concrete and a big pole

Last Tuesday we poured 15 yards of concrete for the shop and carport footers.  Now we start work on the stem wall forms which range in height from 1 to 4 feet.  We have poured just over 42 yards of concrete so far.

Today APS delivered a new steel power pole to replace the ancient wood pole.  We had to move two truck loads of iron wood and a bunch or other stuff to make room.  Getting power is still aways off.   Once the shop and carport slabs are poured we can move the last two containers into place and move our travel trailer onto the carport slab – then we will have the room to dig the trench from the power pole to the house.   One of our primary goals is to minimize the amount of natural desert that we disturb.   This requires moving a lot of heavy stuff multiple times to make room for the current portion of the project.  Builds muscle and character!

The containers have landed

Big day!!!   George from Desert Foothills Gardens brought his crane over and we moved the 6 containers for the house onto the piers.  We will now focus our efforts on building the carport and the shop so we can get our trailer and my tools out of the dirt and under cover.

George – Super crane dude!

Moving dirt

A neighbor with a bobcat sure beats a shovel and a wheelbarrow.

More Concrete

What a busy couple of days.  We passed the rebar inspection for the columns on Thursday around noon.  I called to schedule the concrete and they said mid next week.  At 4pm George called and said they could do it tomorrow if we were ready.   We weren’t ready but I said yes.  Used a come-a-long and the oxy-propane torch to heat and straighten one of the columns.  Next – finish shoveling dirt around three of the columns to stabilize the cardboard tube concrete form.  Stayed up until 11pm welding the 24 steel plates and bolts that get inserted into the concrete in each of the columns.  Went to bed and got up at 4:30 to pump concrete.

Next step.  Craning the containers into place.