February 22, 2017

The Rip-Rap Project

My last day of motivation was Saturday ... the day I had two tractor buckets of rip-rap delivered from the landscaping biz just a few lots away.

At that time I was thinking I could finish the project on Sunday but I had no desire until this morning to do any kind of work like that.

 Of course my excuse yesterday was rain .. light rain ... the rain in the forecast. I had convinced myself with rain soaked ground it would be better for setting the rip-rap. It didn't really matter.

Sadie and Stella checked the weather conditions first thing this morning and with a day full of clouds it seemed like a perfect time to at least get this project started.

The first stage was to move this pile of rock to the bottom of the bank. I had ruled out the wheel barrow down the driveway ... If it is not computers, spreadsheets or accounting I have a really big problem with "Murphy's Law" when it comes to projects that involve physical labor. I didn't want to end up as 'road kill' in the middle of the highway, laying next to a wrecked wheel barrow of spilled rip-rap due to excessive speed going down the driveway out of control.

So .... It would be one rock at a time and I was pretty sure I could toss them in that space between the two trees and hopefully the smaller trees at the bottom of the bank would slow down or stop the falling, rolling rip-rap.

I started immediately after the morning hound walk. I put on my gloves but didn't change my shoes into the steel toe boots I wanted to wear. I was that anxious to get started. All went well, with no smashed fingers, no broken toes and all of the rock stayed in the general area after it stopped.

After all the rock had been moved to the bottom of the embankment, I went inside to trade shoes, into the steel toe boots plus take off a long sleeve shirt because that was too hot under a sweatshirt.

I put the smaller pieces into this trash can because I was wanting to fill in an area by the culvert where the earth is washing away. I wasn't sure there would be enough but I could tell by the time I finished how much more I would need. I found dragging this heavy trash can full of small rip-rap was much safer than using a wheel barrow.

The bank just past that fence post is the area in need of some support. It is about 50' or so from the pile of rock that I tossed down the hill. So once again I am picking up and moving one piece at a time until I was down to the lighter pieces where I could carry two. I never do anything the easy way but this gave me a good workout to start the spring and summer activities off.

Many times today I forgot it was still winter on February 22.

I didn't get a picture of the staging area after all of the rock were slid, tossed down the embankment. This one last piece was heavier than I wanted to carry 50' by hand so I'll let it set there until I decide what to do with it.

I had to clear out this area before I laid the rock. With a rake and some limb trimmers it was pretty easy to do. You can see that off to the right and left of the open space at the bottom of the hill. I'll burn that this April. Some of this is double stacked and based on what little water actually moves down this area (very little) it should work. In fact I cannot remember the last time it rained hard enough where water was moving down the driveway and over this area but the bank needed some support.

After 15 years I have retired my Cincinnati Reds ball cap from yard work. It was worn out and the life expectancy of the hat was reduced when it picked up some battery acid while I was repairing the Class C RV I had for a short time in 2013. So, the green and gold of the Sacramento State Hornets officially took the position of my yard work ball cap.

If you remember Stella chewed up my Indiana Football ball cap I would wear while doing yard work last summer.

Those of you familiar with my "Weed Project" in the summer of 2015, will notice I have a different larger trash can for collecting weeds, leaves, sticks or stones. I had to trade this out for the gray one I used for yard work. This blue trashcan would hold my 39gl plastic bag of 13gl bags of trash ... but it would not fit in back of the Mini Cooper Countryman when I would go to the recycling center. They only charge $2 per 39gl bag of trash. That gray trash can fits perfect inside the back of the Countryman. With free unsorted recycling, my trash runs are now about every other month.

I thought the hounds would enjoy being outside while I moved rock to the bank but Stella hated being tethered and never moved. As you can see Heidi was not thrilled being outside at all ... so they stayed locked up in the house while I worked. Sadie loves it outside but has been wandering outside her boundaries lately.

I had about 4 trips left of moving the rock to the bank when I hear this LOUD, clear, bloodhound howl from the opposite end of the house. Since I have not repaired the screen windows from Stella's escape last summer I left the windows open today without a screen ... but only 3"in the room they were staying in.

During my last 4 trips of moving those last few pieces to the bank I had this ugly image of Stella digging through the drywall and house siding, escaping again ... it was an ugly ugly image and one I hoped I didn't see once I finished in a few minutes. I was happy to see as I climbed the hill toward the house that she was NOT standing outside.  LOL

As I slowly opened the bedroom door I was expecting the worse even though Stella has not had any episodes of separation anxiety, destroying things for over two months. She was standing on her hind legs, her front legs on the window sill and her nose in that 3" opening, trying to slide the window upward. Impossible for her to do in that position but she just let me know that she will still try to escape this summer if those windows are left open.

It's been 12 years already since the state highway department tore out all of the highway asphalt and redid the highway from scratch. They also added new asphalt turnouts for the mail carriers, and new shoulders. Because of those changes they had to move my mailbox. I guess they thought the concrete culvert would brace the mailbox pole ... but this area has been a disaster every since.

I knew I did not have enough rip-rap in that trashcan to do the whole area but I at least wanted to get the worse part of the erosion. I will buy more an fill in the rest of the area. The more I look at it, I might take up the rip-rap and add more driveway stone to this area.

I was finished by 11:50am which was great because originally I wasn't planning to get started on this until after 1pm. The area in the driveway where they dumped the rip-rap was cleared out and level. Tools were put away, a quick shower and clean clothes had me on the highway in the Z4 with the top down by 1pm.

The hounds had been fed, inspected my work and were back to sleep by the time I shut the doors. After a nice 50 mile drive, I took the bloodhounds out for their 2nd walk of the day then stayed outside for a while soaking in some Vitamin D from the sunshine. Up to 70° today.

I went cold turkey and stopped taking ibuprofen last fall. I didn't buy a new bottle when I ran out. Instead if I have any muscle soreness I'll pull out the tube sock with two tennis balls inside and tied off. I lay on those. It's great to break up those knots in your back, release any muscle tightness along with hitting some pressure points. Muscle relief without meds. That tennis ball/tube sock idea was suggested to me by an old friend that is a physical therapist.

So far so good as my back and arms feel pretty good after all the bending over and lifting heavy rocks today.

My next project is to try to find that lost steel hinge pin from my lawnmower side shoot protector. That plastic piece blew off during my last mow and I did not see the steel pin wiggle loose. It's in the front yard somewhere. I hope to find it with my rake before my mower finds it later in March. Steel pins and high power mower blades don't mix.

Remember what I said about me and Mr Murphy's Law? That's a fine example.

Project #1 is complete today here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

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