Here's what happened between making the trough and the footer pour. It was pretty dry when that trough photo was taken on June 25. On June 26, it rained. The sky dropped a lot of water that day and it had a powerful earth moving effect. Overall, it rained more that summer than it has in that part of NY for any summer in USA recorded history. (click on images for larger versions)

The Uphill side of the Garage Hole, June 27, 2006 The Foundation Hole, June 27, 2006

The Foundation Hole, June 27, 2006 The Foundation Hole, June 27, 2006

We decided that there was no way we'd be effective at moving the earth without the help of a mini-excavator. Lifting the mud out from the bottom with the excavator was a challenge. After a certain height, the mud kept running back out of the bucket. I remember feeling very frustrated. The mythical Greek punishee, Sisyphus, came to mind. We did get a bunch of the firmer mud out of the hole, deepened the discharge part and some of the golf course side part of the drainage ditch.

The First Digging, June 27, 2006 Digging, June 28, 2006

Digging, June 28, 2006 Digging, June 28, 2006

After some of that Digging, June 28, 2006

I had this idea to build a fence, and we tried it. We pounded in steel fence posts and put welded wire fencing with geotextile felt we had sewn to the outside of it on the outside of the posts. After Chuck's recommendation to use woven geotextile fabric in the footer, we had planned to purchase some of that and some of the non woven, felt style, stuff for use outside the pea gravel used to improve the drainage around the outside of the basement, but needing some felt for the fence, we purchased it all early.

The start of the fence, June 30, 2006 More fence progress, July 3, 2006

Once the fence was in place, we shoveled lots of mud to the other side of it, cleaned out the ditch so drainage worked again, and then started rebuilding the footer forms.

After the shoveling, July 6, 2006 Rebuilding the forms, July 9, 2006 Rebuilding the forms, July 9, 2006

I tried to make a shaker for the trough, hoping to encourage the rocks to slide down it. This wasted a lot of time. The best it ever did was to not shake itself apart in 20 minutes of continuous running and get a one rock deep layer of the 2s and 3s gravel to dance in place (but not slide down). Here's a photo of one of the last iterations of building the thing. I tied & later welded lots of short rebar chunks to the steel angle on the right hand side. We later learned that conveyors were avialable for rent in the area. I had searched for such a rental place before we started the trough, but didn't find any. I had thought early on to build a conveyor, but we decided that would be too expensive.

The trough shaker, July 16, 2006

On July 27th when the forms were all built and we had started putting the big gravel into the hole, the biggest rainstorm of the summer happened. I'm pleased to say that the fence and the extra ditch work did their job. It only took a single day of ditch maintenance to restore the hole to its pre-flood state.

The big rain, July 27, 2006 The big rain, July 27, 2006

The big rain, July 27, 2006 The big rain, July 27, 2006

After giving up on the shaker, the next thing we tried was running a little cart down the trough. We moved about 30 tons of rock this way before we gave up on it.

Moving Gravel, Aug 2, 2006 Moving Gravel, Aug 2, 2006 Moving Gravel, Aug 3, 2006

Here's what really worked for moving the bulk of the gravel. We rented a bigger mini-excavator with a longer reach for a week.

MOVING Gravel, Aug 6, 2006 Moving Pea Gravel, Aug 9, 2006

Once we had the bulk of the big gravel moved, we started filling in the drainage ditch. A fond farewell to ditch maintenance. First we lined the ditch with geotextile felt.

Lining the Ditch, Aug 9, 2006

Then we put a little of the pea gravel into the bottom of the felt.

Pea Gravel in the felt, Aug 9, 2006 Pea Gravel in the felt, Aug 9, 2006 Pea Gravel in the felt, Aug 9, 2006

Then we put the "tile" hose with the sock on it into the lining on top of the initial gravel.

The hose finally back in place, Aug 9, 2006 The hose finally back in place, Aug 9, 2006 The hose finally back in place, Aug 9, 2006

Then we filled in the rest of the ditch with pea gravel.

Putting pea gravel on the hose, August 10, 2006

The excavator didn't stay for all of the ditch filling. Once it left, we changed to this method.

The new gravel slide, August 10, 2006

Here's the hole on August 21st after most all of the 120 tons of rock have been moved into the hole.

The Foundation Hole, August 21, 2006

Here it is on August 30th. You can see a lot of dirt has been backfilled with pea gravel next to the forms at the drain discharge. Also, the vertical forms were finished, and the drainage ditch for the garage has been lined and filled, and the inside of the garage footer form has been built and big gravel filled up to the top of it on the inside.

The Foundation Hole, August 30, 2006

Then we lined the footer forms with the woven geotextile fabric and put in the rebar. Steve found online some very nice inexpensive modular plastic chairs for holding the rebar in place. We got in a little bit of trouble with the horizontal part of the vertical footer forms. They formed a lintel (a place where the cement was horizontally over air) which wasn't on the architect's original drawings. We had the engineer come out and he said with three pieces of rebar instead of two and those being 3/4" rebar instead of the 5/8" rebar we used everywhere else, the lintel was ok, so that's what we did.

The Foundation Hole, September 10, 2006

Finally here's a photo of the rebar framework I welded up for the vertical part of the vertical forms. I include it only because I think it looks sort of nifty and hopefully rather strong.

The Vertical Form Rebar, September 12, 2006

Here's a link back.