When the going gets tough...


The "dead men" arrive - each one weighs almost two tons

Then the excavator gets delivered.


A rhody bush had to be moved so
the machine could get through - sure beats digging it out by hand - just one big scoop! It got replanted at the end of the day.


The machine carried each block to the back of the house.

It barely fit! We had to trim all the fruit trees back and I moved the lavender and rosemary.


The blocks get placed in the six-foot deep hole.

The 3/4 inch cable is attached through the rebar, wrapped around the piling and tightened.

Making sure it's tight



Then it gets covered over.


Breaking up the old concrete patio.


Smoothing things out

The end of the day and it's a big sand box but the pilings are secure and we can now design a real patio!

When the going gets tough...
You get a bigger machine!
Which is what we did yesterday when we "remodeled" the patio area.

What a project that was. I was just about ready to kill the excavator operator, Charlie, who is Chris' friend! We think he has breathed too many paint fumes in the past! I had serious doubts about him and didn't really want him doing the job, but because it had to happen under the radar, he was the only one who we could have do it.

He was like a bull in a china shop and no finesse with the machine. Dan came down to help too, and he was going nuts as well. He is a super operator but because of his back, and liability problems (if he gets caught operating any machinery they can yank his benefits) he couldn't do it.
There were a couple of times when I yelled at Charlie to stop what he was doing. He must think I'm a real shrew! Specifically, when he wanted to use the bucket to pull the bulkhead piling in and you could hear it crack! He wanted to keep going and all I could see is us, trying to get permits and permission from god knows how many beaurocrats to do any work that might affect the fish/eel grass/spiders/owls/whales ...

Anyway, Charlie stopped and I removed myself or I would have killed him, I'm sure! Trying to concentrate on an article for Dockside while that was going on was almost impossible. It helped that we had boarded up the windows to protect them from flying rocks, so I couldn't see out!

Anyway, it got done and the place is sort of smooth. I had to remove a rhody and a big lavender plant and a rosemary bush so the machine could get in. The excavator dug the rhody and replaced that but I will have to do the other two plants today. The kitties made themselves scarce too as Charlie brought his dog, Coby who is absolutely harmless but big!

So today, it's back to work at the office.