Monthly Archives: September 2009

September 8

My Dad’s 60th birthday, but that isn’t what this post is about.  This post is about the abundance of productivity accomplished at my house on this Tuesday after a holiday!

The photos show Wentz Construction as they put the forms together for an Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) wall.  The ICF wall will be 2 inches of styrofoam on each side of an 8-inch-thick concrete wall.  These forms make pouring a basement wall incredibly fast, easy, cheap, and even better, because it is insulated.

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You only get one pre-pour picture today.  There is a limit to how many pictures of holes in the ground with rebar in them I can post.  I know, I know, what’s my excuse for all the other photos?  Bah.


The first concrete of our new addition.  Isn’t it special looking?


Here you have the crew working to pour the footings:  Kenny holding the chute, Kevin and the kid smoothing it out.  Oh, and Caleb supervising.


Okay, so it really isn’t that much different from the last one.  But at least it has people in it.  And now that I went to all the trouble of loading it, I’m not going to delete it.


Now these are some fascinating pictures, huh?


At least this one has a better shot of the greenhouse in the background.


And the tire treadmarks make it look like someone has already been using the garage.


And have I talked about this yet?  I’m not sure I have, so I will just leave the picture and no commentary.

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Lagoons — They’re Full of … Dirty Water

In our case, gray water.  One of the wonderful things I bought when I moved to Nebraska was a dysfunctional wastewater plan.  The septic system carries the really bad water (“blackwater”) out through the septic tank, but there is no leach field.  The septic tank just has a straight pipe that runs out over the ground 200′ south of the house.

The graywater system for the house (graywater is all wastewater that isn’t blackwater) just ran out through a pipe to a ditch along the side of the road.  The ditch is fine for graywater, but that isn’t exactly legal.  I wasn’t too happy about the graywater system, and was happy that the two systems were handled separately — it gave me the option of recycling the graywater at some time in the future.

So we were digging out this addition to my house, and we knew we would hit the graywater line, because we knew it was down there.  We found it, but it smelled foul.



A house’s wastewater line is supposed to use gravity in order to move its contents from one place to another.  What we found here is evidence that gravity is not working for us.  Rather, we have at least a section of this pipe that isn’t falling.  The filth from the graywater is accumulating in this section of pipe and you can see how it is taking up at least 30% of the pipe’s size.  When it was still in the ground, it was closer to 50%.

So, I made the executive decision to put in a lagoon.  A lagoon is a legitimate way to handle wastewater in Nebraska and is relatively inexpensive (relative to a septic tank and leach field).  It is basically an open pond that wastewater drains into and nature does its job of decomposing the various nasties.


This is my new drain line as it exits the house.  The old drain pipe was too high to start, so Gary had this new pipe drop down several inches before it starts its run towards freedom, er, I mean, the lagoon.


The pipe is now running further away from the house.  Just for perspective, the 2×4 laying on the ground is a 12′ board, so the end of that board is where the wall for the addition will be.


You can see the lagoon now (this picture was taken from atop that mountain of dirt we created).


The goats are really enjoying lounging and watching the big machines.  I would have figured them to run and hide.


Here is Gary working (talking on the phone) while Randall digs.  Really though, what a great crew of guys those three were.


Same caption as last one, only different angle.

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Digging It

Digging finally began!  Only 8 weeks behind (my) schedule, but it has finally begun!  On Thursday, August 27, a traxcavator and backhoe started tearing up my yard to the East and South of the house.  On Tuesday the backhoe was dropped off and on Wednesday, Gary Kuhl showed up to use a demolition saw to cut the concrete to the Southwest of the house.  So we knew it was coming.  But the fun really started on Thursday as Gary & Don started moving dirt.  What fun it was, too.


Above, you can see Don preparing to work with the traxcavator.


I guess a ‘before’ picture would be nice.  It won’t look like this ever again…


This is Gary removing the cement on the South side of the house.


And Don starting to dig out the new driveway.


At the end of day one, still some more digging to go.


But obviously they moved tons of dirt on that first day.  We are just so happy to finally have started.

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