Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bulldozer Driving and Rough Mechanical

This is a two part update, so please bear with me. First is the grading work we're doing on the land. Second, is a construction update about the rough mechanical(aka electrical, plumping, HVAC).


We've been borrowing our neighbors industrial sized bulldozer. Yeah, some neighbors borrow sugar or maybe a chainsaw. We borrow bulldozers. And he borrows ours. His is 3 times as big as ours and has a scooper bucket on the front to pick up dirt, and also grab things. It's what's necessary for the type of work we've been doing.

Our little bulldozer doesn't have a scooper bucket. It has a scraper blade on the front. It fits in small spaces. It's very useful, but not for what we're doing right now.

Our neighbor has/had a grading company, which is why he has large equipment. We recently found out he is selling it because the economy really hurt his business and I think it is no more. That means our time with it is limited. It being a commercial bulldozer, it's newer and nicer than ours, which means it's easier to drive. Which means...I can drive it. Yes, that's right I DROVE IT! And I was fantastic at it. It's also fully automatic and has pretty simple controls(compared to ours which I will never attempt to drive).

That's me doing work on our loop-around driveway.

Another task Matt wanted to do before losing access to the large bulldozer was to carve out a spot to build a tractor shed at some point in the future. Here's a picture just as we got started on the work. Matt already cleared the trees to the right side.

We're cutting into the bank of this old logging road. It's located just off our driveway, to the right of our house. But set back enough, that it's still kinda hidden. The shed will need to house our little bulldozer, the skid steer, and the little red tractor. No walls, just a roof to protect the equipment.

Here's what it looked like after about 4 hours of work. P.S. I dug out about half of this dirt.

We also made yet another road. This one cuts between the new tractor shed location to the clearing behind our house. The existing road back to the driveway was too sharp of a turn for the tractors, so we made a new one.

Our land kinda has a split personality going on. Half thinks it's in the piedmont, and half thinks it's mountains. The piedmont side is gently sloped and full of pine tree. The mountain side is steep, full of hardwoods, mountain laurel, and large rocks. We were digging into the beginning of the mountain side and dug up many rocks. I have big plans for these, so we are gathering all we can(think rock garden and chimney).

There was a little excitement that afternoon, when we saw a black snake go into our garage and hide under a tarp. It took 30 min of pulling equipment out from under the tarp to finally find the snake and chase it out. He was not happy. I suspect this is the only snake we have(although I don't know how that could be true) because it's the only one we've seen in 4 years.

We saw the same type/breed/species of snake 3 years ago. Might have been the same one. Who knows! We need more. We have lots of rats. I think we scared our owls away by knocking down trees. I hope they come back.

Part 2:

The rough mechanical on our house/apartment is finished. A few loose ends need to be tied up before we have the rough frame inspection. Like the framer has to come back to make repairs to what the subcontractor guys messed up structurally. That's completely standard and unavoidable. For that reason that is why inspectors won't inspect the frame until it's been cut up and repaired.

Here's what it's looking like these days:

The heat pump and air ducts took up more room than we expected. We've pretty much lost our entire attic space.

Washer and dryer hook-ups:

Garage bathroom.
They had to bust up the concrete slab floor and remove some gravel to install the pipes for the toilet.

When the insulation guy came by to make an estimate, he told us it would be wise to seal up all the holes around every pipe running into the living space of the house to save on energy costs. Most were already done by the sub contractors, but there was a huge hole around the tub pipe. We used expanding foam to close it up. I guess we haven't used it enough to know just how much it expands after sitting. We may have gone overkill.

It went from this:

To this:


  1. Brave girl! For a first timer, I think you did well on handling the bulldozer and working on that soil. Did you get to run the bulldozer on a slope? It’s usually harder to do just that. On another note, it is easier to operate it when there is load over it. For this reason, it is advised to avoid incomplete loading.

    Beau Proctor

  2. Borrowing from and lending a bulldozer to your neighbor sounds awesome! It must be fun to live in a generous neighborhood. Digging half of the work here is pretty impressive for a lady. It's a lot of work since most parts to be dug here are steep. I've seen the finished product of this house building from the newer post. It's a job well done!

    Salvatore Aguilar



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