Ground Work Continues

I’m beat from all this digging.

It appears that I’ve selected the perfect spot to place my shed. I’m finding all sorts of buried treasures.

First, there’s the old metal watering system 3/4″ pipe that was buried barely 4″ underground. I remember when the house was being built that my builder had a pile of this stuff he had ripped out. It looks like he missed some of it. Now, being the frugal person I am (i.e. cheap) I would normally just work around it and leave it be. However, the pipe is right where I plan on putting a pier block and will get in the way when I excavate the east side for a retaining wall. It’s going to have to come out. My research tonight includes how to best cut old, rusted water pipes in the ground!

Next, there’s a bizarre 3″ cement tiled drain that runs from the edge of my property in the back to somewhere on the adjacent property line. From the looks of it, the drain is probably connected to the weeping tiles or the downspouts on the old garage on the other side of my fence. That makes sense, considering that my lot and my neighbor directly to the east used to be part of the back yard of the house behind us. What’s curious is that the cement drain sections are in really good shape. Only one of the crumbled when I dug it up. I’ll use the 3 that I’ve recovered as planters. As for the line, I will be capping it at my property line and where the last section I pulled out terminates.

A little history behind my lot: At one time, it was the garden, chicken run and had a cottage on it that belonged to the folks who lived in the house behind us. In fact, the entire city block at one time was theirs. Some time in the last 15 years, the cottage was burned down by transients. It was on my neighbors lot. In keeping with the times, the people who owned it at that time pushed the charred remains of the cottage into it’s foundation and covered it up. Much to the surprise of the builder who was erecting my neighbors house, they discovered the old foundation and it’s charred remains. The city forced the builder completely remove the remains and excavate the old foundation. Needless to say, the builder was furious and was making noise about filing a suit against the people that sold him the lot. Technically, the old foundation and charred remains were an illegal dump and he could prove that they knew about it. No word on if that ever happened.

Coming back now to discoveries while excavating, I also found a large pile of really nice old bricks. I’ve saved these out and will use them to hold down a radon barrier under the shed. Old ground like this with all the rocks is bound to have some levels of radon in it. While I’m not required to test for it, I’m not going to take any chances. Having worked with architects who had to deal with this, I have an appreciation for the danger.

Also found was a really old, in tact glass bottle of some kind, though I have no idea what might have once been in it.

All that remains now is to finish up the excavation. Who knew that 6″ of soil over ~80 Sq. Ft. could be so much work and soil? We’ve decided we’re going to reuse the soil to install a retaining wall and backfill a section of our yard that’s currently a frustrating slope (we refer to it as the grassy knoll). Chances are good that we’ll then put down some gravel on the newly leveled section, extending our patio some 10 feet.

Tomorrow is going to include a run to Home Depot to get materials and put them in the garage for all of the rough framing! With any luck, I’ll have that up and sheathing on by the end of the weekend. Maybe. We’ll see. It depends a lot on how much time I actually get this holiday weekend to work on this project.






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