• Tami Hallam

Highway to Hell (Or: He Makes the Earth Move)

You know that feeling when you realize that you forgot to tell your excavator you needed a

5' x 10' x 4' hole in the floor of the pit he just dug for you? The roof was already on at this point, so we faced the grim reality that we had to start digging it by hand. One. Scoop. At. A. Time.

This is how far we got on day one of digging the pit for the sump.

This little task proved to be way harder than we thought it would be. This ground turned out to be very wet, hard-packed clay. By the time we were about three feet down, I was standing in a puddle of water that not only threatened to electrocute me each time I inadvertently pulled the cord down into the pit, but was also covering very slippery clay that afforded very little traction. The sides and bottom of the pit were so hard, that in order to dig it, we used a drill with a long bit and drilled holes into the earth to loosen it enough that I could chip it away with a mattock. I would then scoop the loosened clay from the bottom with a feed scoop, put it in a pail, and hand it up to my husband who would carry it up the stairs, through the garage, and dump it in a pile behind our house. We moved 11 TONS of clay by hand two 5-gallon buckets at a time up a flight of stairs. By the time we were done, my poor husband had damaged the joints in his arms to the cellular level and it took many months for them to heal.

Drilling into the side of the sump pit in order to loosen the clay enough to chip it out with a mattock. This needed to be done on nearly every square inch of this pit.

Still want to build a walipini? I must say though, that after this, I felt like there was nothing my husband and I could not accomplish as a team.


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