Monday, October 09, 2006

foundation week: saturday

one-third poured
one-third poured

stuart floats
stuart floats concrete around grease trap

the shower form

protecting the slab

new fire circle
inaugerating the new fire circle

i awoke at 5:30am to get going. the concrete trucks were scheduled to arrive at 7am sharp. by 6am a few folks had gathered at the kitchen for coffee and a bit of food. around 6:10 peat and i strolled the road howling like coydogs to wake everyone up. by 6:45 we had a crew assembled and awaited the trucks. around 7:10 we heard the rumble of the truck coming up the road. we were concerned that the truck wouldn't be able to pull up next to the foundation because of soft soil but because of a couple days of warm weather the soggy mess that earlier in the week would have certainly caused us problems supported the truck adequately.

after talking up the strenuousness of a concrete pour the night before, the first truck driver made me seem alarmist. he placed the concrete so gingerly and precisely that we literally had to do nothing but screed it. the second driver proved less sensitive, but we got the first driver back for the third load and we tipped him for his fine work. in all we placed 30 yards of concrete. about 29 of it went into the foundation slab and the remaining we used to pour a small propane tank pad across thge road and down in the woods a bit. i was pleased that we had so little waste. concrete is expensive but you don't want to end up short.

with the concrete in the forms we screeded off high spots and filled low spots by dragging a long board (actually two boards spliced) across the tops of the forms. this is arduous and we had people switch off. once screeded we floated the pour with a long-handled magnesium paddle that literally floats across the concrete smoothing and levelling the surface.

i don't have many pictures of this because i was coordinating the pour and often in the concrete. i'm sure more pictures will surface.

by 11:00am we had the pour setting up. the weather couldn't have been better. the morning was cool and sun didn't hit the slab until it was floated leaving us a comfortable couple hours to feed ourselves and take a break. around mid afternoon the slab hardened enough to make the first pass with a power troweller. this is a four-paddled machine that smooths the concrete by levelling progressively thinner thicknesses of the cream that forms when you trowel curing concrete. i'm afraid i hogged the power troweller all day.

finally, we covered the slab with tarps and plastic to keep moisture that's critical for curing from evaporating and to keep a potential frost from damaging the surface.

while the slab was curing and i was running power troweller the rest of the gathering worked in the gardens and and up above the kitchen site creating a new fire circle that will eventually replace the current one by the temporary kitchen. that evening we drummed and danced enjoying the view of the sky and forest illuminated by the full moon.


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