21 Pier Salute!

Actually, the house will have 22 piers, but that didn’t make such a good title. πŸ™‚ Why do all the homes in my neighborhood have to be built on piers? I asked Jim to give me the Cliff’s Notes version, so here goes…

The prairie soil here is like clay, and if you built a house on a conventional slab, the foundation would crack because the ground contracts and swells with moisture. They figured out how to dig way down to get to stable soil.Β  They drill 15 ft. deep holes and then fill them with rebar and concrete to make “feet” for the house to sit on. My house is small in comparison to most (about 1400 sq. ft.) so I can’t imagine how many piers the big mansions have. So the day they drilled the holes I made a huge pest out of myself asking lots of questions and taking pictures. MichaelΒ  was patient with me and explained everything since I was so interested.


First, he used the bobcat (Jim wants to drive one of these for fun) to dig out the holes for the concrete.

Pink suede boots aren’t really the best footwear for this kind of thing.

I held on to my phone very tightly when I took this photo!

Now for the fun part. This weird truck/monster/machine came and parked on the street in front of the lot. It has “crab feet” that extend down so the truck won’t tip over when the big arm comes out.

Don’t you love my technical jargon?

The concrete truck parks behind it and feeds cement into the “arm” so it can fill the holes. Normally you wouldn’t need one of these, but my lot is very hard to access, so the arm has to reach over the sidewalk and all the way to the back of the lot to fill the holes. It was amazing to watch, but I am easily amused.


My neighbor took this one from her vantage point.

Am I the only one who thinks this this is awesome?

When they finished, the holes were filled and ready for the cinder block columns to be constructed over the rebar.

This will be fun to watch as well and I’m sure Michael is looking forward to my “company” while he does his work. He’s a very patient guy. πŸ™‚

Woah Nelly!

That’s a big tank!

So after they dug the giant hole for the septic tank, THIS shows up on a truck.Β  Honestly…I cannot see how they’re going to get this puppy on our tiny, hard-to-access lot. I’m a little curious about why it has to be so huge. I mean can two Burlingame humans generate THAT much poop? I guess they know us too well.

Jim IS always telling me I’m fulla ****.


WALL: The Sequel

Part two of the retaining wall began with delivery of cinder blocks and cement mix.

I tried not to be a pest, but it was fun to watch and I hung around while it took shape.

CINDER-ella Story!

In order to make the area level, Michael also dug in the back corner of the lot.

And while we’re at it, let’s put in a couple of drains to handle water from the yard and the gutters!

He dug a trench in the sidewalk so the water will go out into the street.

After he was finished, Michael poured cement on top of the drain and mended the sidewalk. I took an opportunity to profess my devotion to my better half when no one was looking.

Jim’s gonna kill me.

So at the end of the day, we have a lovely, level lot covered in red dirt and gravel. I can’t stop looking at it. πŸ™‚ This project was complicated and difficult to plan and execute, but with the help of our builders Gary and G.T., our contractor Michael and a bunch of very nice, hard-working guys Jim’s plan turned out even better than we had hoped.


The groundwork is laid to begin building the Barbie Dream House! Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s about to get very fun!


It’s a WALL Y’all!

Things got pretty quiet at 67 Boardwalk after we broke ground. After a few days though, activity began in earnest. This week I got to watch the retaining wall take shape! Although this stuff is exciting to me, you may want to take this opportunity to read a book or take a nap. But if you’re still with me, here are some pictures of the process…

Michael Belcher is our contractor for the wall and the eventual piers that our house will sit on. He needed to drill piers for the wall too so the first step is to move some dirt and make trenches.

Although most of the dirt moving and digging was done by a back hoe, some man-power was required to make corners and straight sides.

He said he digs his job!

The back right corner of our lot had some utility lines crossing the wall location, so all of this had to be hand dug! This was a hard day for the guys with the shovel, but they did a great job and no lines were cut.

Gas or cable-I can’t remember which

These black foam mats were delivered to go in the bottom of the trench before the concrete is poured.

When the trench is complete, Michael came to drill the piers for the wall. It needed fourteen. Somehow I didn’t get a picture of this, but there will be plenty of these once the house gets started.Β  Then he puts the rebar in and concrete is poured in the hole.

Fun to watch.

Two more concrete trucks idle at the end of the block to finish the job.

This is what it looked like at the end of the day. The concrete has to dry some before they begin stacking the cinder blocks.


Stay tuned for the next installment of…ADVENTURES IN DIRT! It’s currently my favorite program and playing in living color from my front porch. πŸ™‚