Today marked the first official weekend of our paltry five month building season. We've got a lot of work to do: building a bathroom, renovating the kitchen, finishing the living room, and making the house comfortable for two. Since getting an indoor bathroom is our top priority, we kicked off our construction with digging. A whole lot of digging. We spent two solid days excavating an extremely large area which we'll fill with cement to support all of our wildest bathroom dreams.
First thing's first, we had deconstruct a mostly decomposed cinderblock stoop nightmare, and rip a rock facade off the side of the house. The facade initially looked pretty good and we debated whether or not to tear the whole thing down. However, we discovered it was built against plywood, apparently by monkeys of below-average intelligence, so we tore it out and we're glad we did. Common sense dictates that plywood doesn't hold up well over time with rock and dirt piled against it.
After removing the stoop and rock wall, we began to lay out our footer area by leveling out a 12x12' area which unfortunately included a pretty severe tree stump.
But we took care of it. Luckily for us, we recently acquired a cherry 1977 F-150 flatbed we lovingly call Gerdy, and our lovely lady was totally up for the challenge. We cut away as many of the huge roots as we could find, chained the stump to the truck, and ripped it out like the loose-tooth-doorknob trick. Thank you Gerdy.
After all the excitement, the real fun began: digging. Digging, digging, digging, and trying to figure out convenient locations to pile dirt before you dig some more. We decided to go with a footer that is 18" below ground level on the shallow side, and about 36 inches on the deeper side (since the house sits on a slight incline). This foundation will also reinforce the house's existing pole-frame construction, also undoubtably built by the aforementioned monkeys.
With about about 30% of the trench fully dug out, it was time to call it a weekend. We secured tarps over our excavation zone, weighted them down with cinderblocks, secured additional tarps to create run-off paths for any possible rain, and both almost broke our legs only once. All these extra precautions are totally necessary when you're leaving your work unattended for a week and realize how quickly mother nature would like to undo what you spent all weekend doing. With extreme exhaustion, we officially closed our first work weekend and headed back to Boulder to carry on our real, hammockless lives.