Home Improvement 101

August 10, 2011

Today Philip, John, and I began a hard process to remove our old loading dock.  It was built in 1990 or 1991 to facilitate unloading seed pallets and big bags from the delivery trucks to put in the seed storage building.  It has been years since we used it to load or unload anything, and to remove it will yield us more operating space in front of the shop. Using our backhoe, we began by removing the rip-rap on the bank of the dock and stockpiling it for use after the removal.  Some of those big rocks had to be collected into the backhoe’s loader bucket by hand.  Whew!  Then we started the long process of breaking up the big concrete apron, and excavating the fill soil underneath.  It soon became apparent that hauling away one backhoe loader bucket at a time was going to be too slow.   So we got out the 1959 farm truck, “Old Greenie”.  (It was the first farm truck that dad purchased brand new)   We loaded scoop after scoop into old greenie; instead of a gazillion trips with the backhoe, with the truck it took about 10 or 12.    We hauled the soil and broken concrete to a wash-out in a long waterway in the middle of this farm.  This fill material will repair the cavity in the rock chute at the end of the waterway, at least temporarily.  The last big piece of concrete was double-thick, and the biggest at about 7 x 10 feet and 12-15 inches thick–  and impossible to break apart further.   We managed to get a chain around it, and dragged it away to the disposal site with the Magnum tractor.  Tomorrow morning, we will finish the excavation of fill soil, and replace the rip-rap stones on the resulting bank.  On Friday, we will have a load of crushed stone (#53s:  they are great for packing in and getting hard)  delivered to place on the spot where the loading dock used to be.  After smoothing those 53s into place, the useable area in front of the shop will be much larger and convenient.

The reason we’re not going to finish on Thursday, is the fact that we are traveling to St. Louis in the afternoon to see the Cardinals play the Brewers.  This will be a special trip, because I purchased a unique ticket package at the fund raiser dinner for SK Basketball.  These tickets will include some on-field time during batting practice!  Since Philip is a baseball NUT, I think he will especially enjoy this experience.

Well, we managed to get this improvement made, without hiring a contractor or renting any special tools.  It feels good to get this done ‘in house’, and the results are going to look pretty good!  Only thing, my back hurts a little tonight…  It’ll be okay tomorrow  –Dennis

p.s.  By the way, we received a welcome .2″ of rain last night…

Here is the old loading dock, in the early stage of removal.

Loading "Old Greenie".

The finished product...makes for lots more room to maneuver in front of the shop. All that remains to do is to spread a load of 53s over the cleared area.

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