Playing in the dirt

Some have asked what I’m doing. My answer? Playing in the dirt…with my Grandson.

I’ve an ongoing project to upgrade my Ham Radio antenna system. I added a 40M OCF (Off-center-dipole) to the side of the house in June. Now it’s time to re-install my vertical. When I first planted it some fifteen years ago, the nearby trees were much smaller. Over time they grew and one tree’s upper limbs reached the antenna. I had thought just to trim the limbs but that proved to be less than satisfactory. I decided to move the location of the vertical antenna.

That project started last week after Mrs. Crucis and I returned from our excursion through a few western states.


Grandson Andrew starting the hole.

We, or rather, Andrew, discovered that digging through the accumulated thatch and grass root system was harder than it looked.


Hole finished. 24″ x 24″ x 7″.

The hole is finished and a small ‘sump’ hole dug to provide more stability for the pipe. By this point, a few hours after the first photo, we’d only received a few chigger bites.

Ready for the Quikcrete-b_08072015

Ready for the concrete.

The hole is now ready for the concrete. The pipe continues 3′ into the ground leaving around 20″ remaining above the surface of the concrete. I’d gone to Home Depot and bought four bags of Quikcrete. They tried to sell me eight bags. I thought that was too much.


Four bags full.

I was wrong. Four bags wasn’t enough.


Watered and set.

I was wrong. I bought two more bags.

The first four bags were 50lbs. each. I bought two 60lb bags of a different type that should produce a smoother surface. That is the next task. I’ll post some more photos as the project nears completion.

That was the status as of Friday evening. Sometime during Friday, we must have stirred up a nest of chiggers. I counted thirteen bites on me. Andrew had about the same.

Note to self: use bug repellent next time.

Fini…, Pt II

Well, the project didn’t quite finish yesterday.  There’s still some touch-up and fixes yet to do. We’re supposed to have the final walk-around today. I think we’ve reached the 95% stage.  The windows still need work and touch-up with paint.  It’s is looking nice.

I’m in ‘n out today. It’s going to be busy.


If all goes well the siding project will be finished today.  They have to replace some siding that cracked on one side.  Note: concrete siding does not flex easily!

After the north side is finished, they’ll need to permanently fasten the window sills (new sills too), paint over the nail heads and chalking, and re-attach the front door and garage lighting.

They hoped to be much further along but yesterday after they were all setup and started working, it rained.  They got pretty wet and had to come in side to warm up.  One worker almost got hypothermia.  Rain with temps in the high 30s is not nice. Nor welcome.

When they finish, it’s walk around time.  Checking to see and approve the work, checking the paint touch up, checking the windows, and checking all the minute details.  Once we’ve signed off, we’ll write a very large check to the builder.  Man, do I love fixed-price contracts. Otherwise, we’d be waay over budget due to the weather.
The crew-boss told me they were booked continually through this coming March.  They are all young guys, mostly in their twenties, a couple in their early twenties and one older one who is the expert cutting the siding to fit. It’s not measure twice, cut once.  No, with concrete siding, it’s measure thrice, cut a template, install for fit, then cut the siding.

They are all Christians, too.  On the first day, I walked outside and one had a radio tuned to a local Christian station.

Mrs. Crucis and I are glad it’s about over.  We don’t like parking in the street and we’re looking forward to getting our garage back.
Happy New Year!