Clay, Clay and More Clay
And HARD clay at that. We passed two key milestones this week.
1) We were finally able to get the “septic guy” out to evaluate our home site and the dirt in that area in order to give us an accurate bid for the septic system. We’ve been working with Rudy to get this guy out for a couple of weeks, but it just now was dry enough to get some machinery out there to do some digging. In order to save some money, I was going to dig a couple of holes with my backhoe (and because they gave me an excuse to dig with my backhoe). However, at the last minute Rudy informed me that his guy was going to be coming to Austin with his bobcat to pick up an attachment for it in Austin. So, he could just do the digging himself, but he wouldn’t charge us for using his equipment. Ok fine. They roll up last night about 7:00, unload the bobcat with his new trencher attachment (which was really cool, by the way), trench 3 different spots around the home site, load the bobcat back up and leave by 8:00. You could tell this guy had done this before, and that bobcat was pretty impressive. The “inspection” consisted of the “septic guy” climbing out of his machine after making his three holes, inspecting the dirt that was removed, and laughing. He proceeded to inform me that this is about the worst type of ground to have a septic system. Awesome. He told me my options were an aerobic system or a LPD system. Apparently aerobic systems are somewhat involved and require routine maintenance and a maintenance contract. The LPD (low pressure discharge) requires a huge septic field. The aerobic is less up front cost than the LPD but requires more maintenance.
2) Again, because it was just barely dry enough to get any equipment back to the home site, we had the soil sample people come out today to take soil samples for the engineered foundation design. These guys showed up at about 9:00am and finished by 11:30am. This was a much more involved operation than the septic evaluation. Again, you could tell these guys had done this before. They probably said a total of 30 words the entire time they were there, but they definitely had a system down. The soil sample process consisted of rolling a trailer mounted hydraulic auger up to a spot and proceeding to alternate between drilling and taking samples about every 3 feet.
Every few feet, they would stop the auger, remove the bit, pound a hollow tube connected to a rod into the ground, remove the now full tube, and continue drilling. It was a very iterative process, but they were very efficient.
At the end of the 15 foot hole, they had 5 sections of what was once hollow pipe but was now filled with the samples. Then they used another hydraulic ram to push these samples out of the pipe. These samples were rolled in foil and labeled for later analysis.
They needed to drill two holes because of the size of our pad, so during the second hole, I gave Rudy the tour of the land. We strolled around that beautiful morning (sunny and about 60 degrees) and contemplated life’s mysteries (or talked about tractor implements, whatever). They finished up the 2nd hole and then headed out, and I headed to work. Needless to say, it was very tempting to call in sick and enjoy the rest of the day outside, but I did the responsible thing.
Other house related milestones:
-the appraisal of the land/house combo has been requested, so we’ll soon have an idea of how much equity we have in the land.
-we calculated that we will need about 370 cubic yards of driveway material.
-we calculated that we will need about 1800 feet of piping to run water from the street to our house pad (thanks Google Earth).
We’re slowly ticking things off of our to do list.