When we were tearing apart the deck on Saturday, parts of the process made noise. (Hitting a crowbar with a sledge hammer does that.) Several interested neighbors came by to see what the project was. One did even more than that. He asked how we planned to haul away the wreckage. When we confessed that we hadn’t figured that part out, he said “I have a truck you can borrow.” We said we’d probably take him up on it, but the day ended and we hadn’t yet gotten to the point where we were ready to haul.
For us Sunday is a day of rest, so we looked at the mess remaining, but we did no work. At church our neighbor came up and asked again if we needed help hauling. This time he offered not only his truck, but his scout troop to help with the hauling. I’m no idiot. We said “Yes. Thank you.”
I made sure I was outside working before the crew was due to arrive. I wanted to get the last bits off of the house before they arrived because I wanted to be sure that we did as little damage to the siding as possible. While I’m certain that teenage boys would be happy to wield the crowbar, I wasn’t so sure how carefully they’d approach the task. I’d barely stepped outside when I noticed something interesting. The sprinklers had run during the night and our work site now had a wet canal running through it.
More specifically, there had been a slight divot in the ground underneath a major support beam. Overflow from the sprinklers had run into it until there was standing water. You can see the water more clearly after we’d cleared away the debris. That metal bracket in the foreground of the picture is what held the support beam in place.
That water would have showed up three days per week during six months of the year. It soaked a support beam causing it to swell and contract. It made the air under the deck wet and fed all the fungus. I don’t think the canal was there when the deck was built. It was a thing that formed over years as ground shifted and run off patterns changed.
It took three trips to the dump to get everything hauled away. While some boys were helping with hauling, we handed shovels to other boys and had them start digging out the cement footings. Those metal brackets were sunk in cement.
They were big and heavy. But we needed them out before we can use this ground for anything else. One was particularly interesting as they poured the footing right between a concrete pad and a sprinkler pipe. When I first discovered the pipe, I worried that they had poured the concrete around it, but fortunately that was not the case.
There were no further exciting flora or fauna discoveries. I’m fine with that. Though we did manage to unearth the dryer vent.
The boys of the scout troop were great. They worked hard and didn’t complain, not even when they had to help lift concrete into the back of the truck. I offered to pay money into the troop fund, but my neighbor said that the troop needed the service hours. So we fed the boys donuts and Gatorade. The ground is cleared, ready for whatever comes next. I really didn’t expect the job to go this quickly. I’m feeling very grateful for good neighbors and good young men who are willing to donate their time and effort on short notice.
Howard thinks we should throw down grass seed and just add the space to our lawn. I haven’t quite given up on the idea of a patio. Either way, it is a project for a different week and probably cooler weather.
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