Monday, February 20, 2012

The Hole: A Pond Story part 2B

"The Hole" project began late last summer.  I didn't blog about it and am catching up now.  Here is part 2B.  Part 1 starts here.

Prior to excavating a pond that is deeper than a foot or so, it is prudent to put some assurances in place if you are going very deep.  Assurances that the walls won't collapse.  When I first started this journey, I thought that the water pressure on the walls was enough to prevent that from happening.  Not so I learned after reading about disastrous collapse after collapse on various pond forums.  This is why I decided to put in a concrete collar.  The collar serves a couple of purposes.  It helps with the whole collapse issue, it gives a level surface for putting boulders or edging on and it helps make sure your water level is level (if done right.) And it provides a fun catwalk for your daughter and pooch to prance on.

Now that I had dug out the collar, the next step was to remove the concrete posts that were in the collar.  Brilliant me had dug a drench that landed smack center on two old fenceposts.  If I had wanted to do this, never in a million years would it have happened.  So how do you remove a 4 foot deep concrete post that circles a wood post?  You don't...mostly.  Oh I whacked at it for a good few hours.  The chips flew, (and cut my forehead).  I took an ax to the wood part and whittled it away bit by bit.  I played some tunes and whacked whacked whacked away at it. Eventually I got it down to just below the level of the soil by about 1/2". This is when I covered the rest with a little clay and pretended like I have never seen it before. I have no idea if covering the rest of it was bad. I refuse to think about it. 

The next step was to dig out the trench again because by this day, the dog had destroyed enough of it that I had to dig part out all over again. Oh and go deeper. My spousal unit helpfully pointed out where our frost line really was and said since I was doing it, I should definitely go deeper {insert dark mutterings}  .  Here are a few of my notes about the whole concrete collar business:

Today's excuses for not more dirt moved.
1. Mom taxi services required x 2.
2. &^$&^$^& maple roots.
3. &^*&% yellow clay.
4. Not recognizing the miracle of the pick ax until hour six.
5. Shape not set in stone. <---this was the main one since I kept changing it.

Lessons learned today.
1. The Pick axe rocks at yellow clay removal.
2. I STINK at guesstimating distances. My planned 15x11 pond is now 20x12.
3. Spazzy McDrool LOVES playing jump the trench. He is also horrible at it, which means sides getting messed up when he misses.
4. Spaazy McDrool would much rather play jump the trench then cross the bridge I stopped to make for him to get him to stop playing jump the trench.

Then came the mysterious bender board.  No one in Illinois sells it that I was able to discover. After finally discovering that bender board is Masonite and finding a box store guy that knew what Masonite was, I was off to begin form building.  Here are the first two board forms which took pretty much a whole day to get done.  Once completed I proudly posted a picture on a koi forum and was told within a couple of minutes that I did it wrong.  WAH!

I really really wanted to do this myself but you have to know your limitations and I eventually figured out that to have success with concrete.  So I paid someone a decent chunk of change to do it for me.  It seemed like it went OK on the initial inspection.  We excitedly carved our names in it and carefully covered it with plastic to get it to cure properly.    It looks so nice and smooth right?

Sigh.  They didn't do a good job tamping it down or setting the interior forms.  There were gaps, and holes and boy or boy was the spousal unit PO'd!  My main concern was all the sharp edges.  They don't mix very well with rubber liners.  Oh and I forgot to have them put in the overflow pipe-drat.  At this point we were getting well into fall and I started toying with the idea of bagging the rest of this project until spring.  I didn't but I can't remember what my logic was for it.  
I think it was that I wanted them to fix the problems before winter so I didn't have to worry about it for months.

Part 3 continues here.


NHGarden said...

Wow...this is quite the saga. I am going to read more of this later. Thanks for visiting NHGarden Notes :)

Unknown said...

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