We broke ground for our new extension yesterday. Our buddy Tim P came with an almost new John Deere and dug us a big hole. It took only five or six hours total.
Here he is just getting going.
Here's the new pressure treated carrying beam/ledger board set up on the old building. This is two two-by-twelve boards thick, all tied together with nails and screws, and tied into the sill and studs. If you go back a post or two, you'll see that this tidies up what was one heck of a mess. This and the new sill section that was scarfed in underneath.
Getting deeper. Unfortunately, we already hit ledge. ("Ledge" is what Mainers call bedrock.)
No chance for that new, cleaner, drier root cellar, I'm afraid. But we adjusted our expectations quickly. We had a pretty good idea we'd hit ledge, just not quite as much of it as we did. I thought we might get a small section of cellar.
No such luck.
Tim is a dab hand with the loader. he did most of his digging facing forward. The back hoe was used for the worst stuff.
Here's the deepest section of the hole, in the shade. Five feet to bedrock, but only two feet wide. At the shallowest point, bedrock was just below the soil surface.
For an idea of the scale of the hole, here's the little Kubota tractor.
The only serious problem was that we hit the water line. The backhoe found it at only a foot and half below the surface, not nearly protected enough from the frost. That meant I had to scurry around until very late trying to get parts to repair it, and even then it didn't work. We went to bed without serious bathing. I put my shorts on and used the hose outside. A bit nipply, as they say in Wales. Aimee used the hose to fill pots which she heated on the stove, then filled her bath a couple inches deep, no more..
Before I gave up trying to get it running, I began to realize that debris from the dig had plugged the line. It took half of the next day to get it all clear and I had to dismantle almost all the water appliances in the house. Each time I dismantled a hose, I'd point it to a bucket and turned on the stopcock and watch the muddy, gravel filled water fly.
But we are now back to normal, and the only concern I have is making a serious start tomorrow on fitting an awkward, multi-level concrete grade beam around that huge slab o' rock that lives in that hole.
A serious piece of Maine, that.
But we'll be the people that built their house on the rock.