Muddy Mess Again

Day #32

August 3, 2018 – Got to the Cot-Taj-Mahal around mid-day.  The backyard was flooded, the side yard was flooded and the front yard was flooded. Once again, the rain from the previous week left a muddy mess.

The last concrete pier was filled to the brim with ground water. There were three of four frogs sunbathing along the edge. When I approached they all dove in for a swim.

After exposing some more of the existing floor beams along the kitchen, I decided to just chill out and enjoy the day without slopping around in the muddy mess.

Later in the evening, I had dinner and a few drinks at Wingman Brew N Que. That seems to be our new Friday night haunt. I tried a new beer, Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brew House from McClure, Pa. It was pretty good.

On the way back to the cottage I made a stop at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant. Chris who works there makes wonderful Whoopie Pies in all sorts of flavors. He gave me a a few of his new Blueberry-Banana to take with me and that was it for the day.

Muddy Mess
Rain, rain go away, please come back another day!
Muddy Mess - Last Concrete Pier
The last concrete pier filled with ground water.
Existing Floor Beams
Solid Oak double 2 inch by 6 inch rough cut floor beams with 1 inch rough cut floor planking.
Short Bus Brewhouse
Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brewhouse, McClure, Pa. at Wingman Brew N Que.

Concrete Work Is All Done!


Day #31

July 29, 2018 – It is my great pleasure to report that all of the concrete work is done! The family really pulled together this weekend and killed it!

Today we dewatered and poured the last three concrete piers.  All of the piers were striped and all of the footings except for one in the back corner are backfilled. Next weekend, after the last footing is backfilled, we will officially start the floor framing.

Once again, I want to thank my hard working construction crew. Without their help we would not have been able to get the concrete work done this weekend.  So, in no particular order (but different than the last time), Hank, Henry, Ryan, Angelie, Megan, Troy,  Jessie, Phil, Lance you guys are the best crew ever! Thank you all for your hard work this weekend. 

We’ll see what the weather has in store for us next weekend.

Here are some interesting statistics.

  1. Placing 19 footings we poured 2.75 cubic yards of ready mix concrete.
  2. Constructing 19 piers we hand mixed and placed 1.94 cubic yards of bagged concrete mix.
  3. Each bag of concrete mix weighes 80 lbs.
  4. We mixed 88 bags of concrete for a total of 7040 lbs.
  5. To keep the footings dry we pumped, bucketed and dipped close to 10 cubic yards of water and muck.

With that in mind I need a volunteer to count nails. Any takers…?

Concrete Work - Dewatering
Angelie dewatering the last footing with a water canon.
Concrete Work - Mixing Concrete
Phil getting ready to mix up some bagged concrete.
Concrete Work Last Pier
Gyeem shoveling concrete into the last pier form.
Concrete Work - Last Pier
Ryan consolidating the concrete pour.
Concrete Work Complete
View of concrete piers at the end of the day.
Concrete Work Complete
View of concrete piers at the end of the day.
Concrete Work Complete
Celebration Corona at the end of a long weekend.

8 More Piers Poured


Day #30

July 28, 2018 – Today we spent the day dewatering, sump pumping, frog removing, de-mucking, forming and pouring. With a lot of hard work from my construction crew, we managed to get 8 more piers poured. We accomplished much more than I than I had hoped for.  At the end of the day only three more piers remained. With some luck these will be completed tomorrow.

I want to thank my hard working construction crew. Without them we would not have been able to get all this work done.  So, in no particular order, Robrandi, Lance, Ryan, Angelie, Megan, Troy, Hank, Jessie, Phil and Henry you guys are the best crew ever! Thank you all for your hard work today. We will get this done and it will be awesome! It’s a promise!

As a way to kick off the Celebration portion of this blog I will admit that today I turned 60 years young

DeWatering, De-Mucking, Sump Pumping
Phil, Lance and Jessie de-watering, de-mucking and sump pumping the excavations.
8 More Piers Poured - Dewatering
Lance dewatering an excavation with a water canon.
8 More Piers Poured - Muck
Get Her Done
Forming, pouring, dewatering, get’er done!
8 More Piers Poured - Uplift Straps
Gyeem placing uplift straps in a freshly poured pier.
Last Form of the Day.
The last plywood form of the day is in place.
8 More Piers Poured
At the end of the day we had 8 more piers poured!

Frog Pools

Day #28

July 22, 2018 – Last night it rained hard all night long. All the excavated holes were filled with water. It was a giant muddy mess. While the neighborhood frogs enjoyed their new Frog Pools we contemplated our next move. 

I ran out and purchased a sump pump and we basically dewatered all day. Between the sump pump, Fanny’s old green plastic cups and several buckets we managed to get the water levels down a bit. 

In the process we realized the ground water levels were running at about 18 to 20 inches below the surface level. In this situation the holes quickly filled back up even though the rain had subsided. 

One of the holes, between the drain pipe laterals, seemed to fill much more slowly than the others. After deliberating we made a decision to dewater this hole, place a Quik-Tube form, backfill  and pour. As it turned out it was the only pier we were able to pour.

We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up and covering the excavations for the coming monsoon. 

I’m really hoping that the weather is better next weekend!

Muddy Mess
Rain all night created a muddy mess.
Frog Pools
Excavations filled with ground water.
Frog Pools
Neighborhood frogs enjoying their new Frog Pools.
Sump Pump
Inexpensive sump pump ready to drop in the hole.
Sump Pump In Place
Pump lowered into the excavation.
Sump Pump Discharge Piping
Discharge piping.
Sump Pump Discharge
Covered Excavations
Excavations covered for the week.

Quik-Tube Forms

Day #26

July 21, 2018 – To speed up the construction process I decided to use round Quik-Tube forms at the interior piers.  These are essentially cardboard tubes with a wax like coating. The tubes are placed in the excavated hole, backfilled and then filled with concrete. The trick with this type of form is to keep them as dry as possible during the installation and backfill. Once they encounter water they become soggy and begin to break down.

We placed, backfilled  and poured three Quik-Tube forms and one square plywood form with bagged concrete. This makes a total of seven (7) concrete piers and thirty-five (35) bags of concrete.

The piers that were poured yesterday were also stripped and backfilled. 

The weather is forecast to rain tomorrow. It’s going to be a mess!

Quik-Tube Form
Quik-Tube form is ready to be marked at the proper elevation and cut to length.
Quik-Tube Forms - Mixing Concrete
Hand mixing bagged concrete for a Quik-Tube pour.
Stripping Forms
Stripping plywood pier forms.
Backfilling Piers
Backfilling concrete piers.

Three Piers Submerged In Muck

Day #26

July 20, 2018 – This morning I discovered the three piers that I set last week are submerged in water and muck.  My original plan was to set all nineteen forms in place and pour them with one concrete delivery. Realizing that this would not work I decided to pour the three I had in place with bagged concrete. 

I  calculated five #80 lb. bags of concrete for each pier, a total of 15 bags.  After dewatering and de-mucking each one I set off to Lowe’s to get the concrete. Because of the weight of the concrete I had to make two trips. Each trip was 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. Uggghhhh!

We are now coming out of the ground!

Towards the end of the day I set in place another square form. We will pour that one tomorrow. I’m now considering Sonotube forms for some of the piers. Gotta speed up this process.

Three Piers - Pier #1

#1 braced and poured in place.

Three Piers - Pier #2
Uplift strapping.
Three Piers - Corner Pier #3
Corner pier #3 braced and poured in place.
First three concrete piers poured in place.
Pier Form #4
Square plywood form set in the hole.

Building Pier Forms

Building Pier Forms

Day #25

July 15, 2018 – Today was building pier forms day.  I decided to change my tactic on the concrete pier forms. Rather than building and setting them as I go, I decided to concentrate only on building the remaining forms. I will have to set them in place when I have more help.

I made two trips out to Lowe’s and back today. On the first trip I got seven 12 inch diameter Sonotube cardboard forms for the piers along the cottage. On the second trip I got enough 2 × 4’s to complete the remaining eight square pier forms. Just to summarize there are a total of nineteen (19) piers. Seven formed with Sonotube, eleven formed with square plywood forms and one formed in place with whatever we need to use.

I was putting the finishing touches on the last form when an afternoon thunderstorm blew in. We hurriedly covered everything with tarps and called it a day. Next weekend, weather permitting,  we will continue setting the forms in place.

Pier Forms Continued

Day #24

July 14, 2018 – Building and setting of the concrete pier forms continued today. It was just as slow as yesterday. Footing holes two and three along the kitchen addition had to be widened to accommodate the forms, however the holes were dry. As it turns out the old adage it true, you cannot place a square peg into a round hole. 

I have decided to change up the design a bit to help speed up the pier construction. For the seven (7) piers along the cottage I can use a round Sonotube form with instead of a  square form. We will bury these in place right before the pour. 

I am thankful for the use of Troy’s building level. It has worked out perfectly in establishing the tops of the piers in relation to the finished floor. Tomorrow the pier form building day continues.

Pier Forms 1 & 2
Concrete pier forms and and two set in place.


Pier Forms 1, 2 & 3
Concrete pier forms one, two and three.


Building Level
Building level used to establish the pier elevation relative to the finished floor.

Concrete Pier Forms

Day #23

July 13, 2018 – I started the afternoon with high hopes of placing a bunch of concrete pier forms. The first hole that I uncovered was by the pump house. It had partially caved in due to the wet soil conditions at this location. 

On two sides of the hole I noticed terracotta piping. One side is an abandoned downspout system and the other, the kitchen sink drain piping.  The kitchen sink side had a hole in it.  It appears that we have been draining water into the ground at this location for quite a long time. That is most likely the reason that this area is so wet.

I dug up two pieces of the terracotta pipe and cleaned out the hole. In half a day I managed to get only one pier form in place. Tomorrow I will continue building and placing pier forms. It’s going to be a long weekend!

Terracotta Pipe
Existing terracotta drain pipe uncovered at the fist pier location.

Concrete Pier Forms
First concrete pier form set in place. Two sections of terracotta pipe dug up and removed from this hole.

Clean Up Day

Day #22

July 8, 2018 – Today after the clean up from the concrete pour we covered all the footings for the week, packed up and headed home. 

Next weekend we will begin forming up the piers.

Decided to celebrate a very good weekend with a sushi dinner at Sapporo East on the Carlisle Pike.

Clean Up - Wheel Barrows
Wheel barrows cleaned up and parked by the shed.

Expanded Parking
Seven loads of 2A modified limestone spread and leveled for the new expanded parking area.

Footer Holes Concrete Pour
All concrete footers are poured.

Footer Holes
Freshly poured footers covered from the weather.

Sushi Rolls
Sushi celebration diner at Sapporo East.

Spicy Scallop Sushi
Spicy Scallop Sushi