Monday, July 14, 2008

And So It Begins

Another home project.

You didn't think we would last that long did you? I think the basement has been done since February (okay we still need a backsplash in the bar area, but that is more of a winter project anyways), and we've done a few little things here and there (adopted a puppy, bred baby fish, traveled to NYC), but now it's time to move onto another big project ... this time it's building a patio that will sit next to our deck ... right here:

It all started early Saturday morning...

As soon as we thought we were ready to go at 8:30AM, our project was already stalled on two counts: 1) The sod cutter we rented was broken (the blade didn't vibrate back and forth which is what allows it to "cut" through the sod) and 2) it started raining like a mofo. Luckily we got a refund since the machine was broken. I don't think it would have mattered much if the sod cutter had worked because our hard-as-rock clay "soil" is impossible to dig through, and because of the rain.

We decided to take a nap to pass the time and to re-energize for our new job as manual sod cutters. We woke up around 3PM to some really nice, cool weather, and got to it. We used 2 shovels, big muscles, a sturdy wheelbarrow and a borrowed trailer to haul away all of the sod and clay. Luckily our neighborhood comes complete with a phase of empty housing lots where we can dump all of our unwanted sod. I don't know what other people do when they want to build a patio and have to get rid of their sod; I guess that's why you hire someone else, it becomes their problem.

We had to dig out the hole by filling up the wheelbarrow,

scooping that out onto the trailer,

and then driving the trailer to phase three to be shoveled out (each trailer load holds four full wheelbarrows).

This went on for 5 trailer loads and then we were done for the day. It took 3 hours to dug out 3/4 of the sod. We finished up around 7pm, cleaned up, and went to BW3 for dinner, beer and NASCAR.

On Sunday we started around 9:30AM so we could get a lot of digging in before the sun stole all of our shade. We finished digging up the rest of the sod around 12PM (which was 2 more full trailer loads).

We felt victorious having conquered the layer of sod, so we celebrated by grabbing lunch at Senor Tequilas and sharing a pitcher of margaritas. We also went next door to a landscaping place called Malone's to scope out the filler rock and sand that will be delivered once we get the hole completely excavated.

We then came home and I was ready for a nap (Brian claimed he was too). But while I was sleeping Brian decided he wanted to get back to work digging out the clay. I eventually woke up just as Brian had filled up one trailer load of clay and was getting ready to go dump it.

After Brian got back I got my shit together and started helping him dig. We ended up getting two more trailer fulls of loose clay that removing the sod had left behind.

We were finally too tired to do any more digging so we quit for the night and went to Hy-Vee to make giant salads from the salad bar.

Doesn't it sound like we should be just about done excavating? If you think yes, you are wrong. We still have a long way to go. I bet we have another 8-10 trailer loads. The hole needs to be 8" deep so we can put in a 4" rock bed, a 2" sand bed and then the stones. Brian is going to spend a few days this week creating some system that allows for us to level the massive hole. Hopefully it will be completely excavated next week so we can get the rocks delivered and compacted into the hole the following weekend.

So that was weekend number one of the patio project. The whole project seemed overwhelming at first, due to the fact that we had to be our own manual sod cutters ... but I think it's going to turn out great!

Until next weekend...


  1. I hadn't heard Buffalo Wild Wings called BW3 until a couple of years ago. The third "W" comes from when the chain was called Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, for anyone interested. Or maybe I'm just a loser for not knowing that sooner.

  2. You were way ahead of the game on us our friend ... I didn't know that until two months ago, and it was this weekend for Chutney.

  3. We didn't know the Weck think until some guy in Ohio told us the "BW3's across the street has wi-fi." I thought he was retarded - turns out we were the clueless ones.

    The patio project looks like it will be amazing when it's done. You Andersons are far more industrious than my kind.

  4. Now that the hole has been dug there is no turning back. At this point it's just a matter of how long it will take to actually get it done (complete with a new grill since ours, as of Monday, is probably fooked).

  5. Your grill is fooked? How sad... but that's what happens when you grill that much. It was used well, may it rest in peace.

    Seems like your weekend project went a lot better than mine did.

    Can't wait to see this finished.