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  1. #1
    cj7
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    Default post hole digging - in winter

    I am curious if anyone has done any post-hole digging in the winter. The ground is really frozen right now but I am wondering if it is possible to auger in some holes with a three point 9" auger. I know it is odd but my buddy needs to bury his dog and well digging by hand does not sound too inviting.

    Wish my wife would have let me get that backhoe.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Waterman, DeKalb County, Illinois
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    John Deere 855 MFWD; Oliver 1850 Gas

    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Errrrr......dynamite? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    Seriously though....I doubt it. We put in a few posts in December, and the ground was only frozen about 4-6 inches deep. I would consider how we had to get it done to be extremely dangerous. Both myself and my father in law were standing on the arms of the 3PH to add down force to the auger. That is a total of a little over 500 lbs of added weight. Even then it took about 20 minutes to drill each hole. With the way our ground is now, I can't even conceive of getting the hole started, much less finished.

    You could always do what grave diggers have done for centuries, light a fire on the ground and thaw an inch of soil. Then scrape the coals aside and shovel quickly. Then move the coal back to thaw some more. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    Dave

  3. #3
    DAP
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    A friend of mine called a fence builder I recommended 2 weeks ago. The fence building said his crew put's fences in year round.

    These folks (4 man crew) installed 3 acres of 4 board oak horse fencing in a little over 48 hours (180 posts, battens and 4 board oak cut with chain saws as they went along - pneumatic nailer gun in mid-summer).

    I've seen their auger. It is a large affair mounted onto the bed of a OLD 4 ton Dodge 4WD diesel truck. This crew was impressive. A man at the wheel of the truck and a man on foot at the auger controls with a whistle in his mouth. The driver edges forward until he hears the whistle. 4' x 12" hole is dug in (about 45 seconds in July).

    The decision for you obviously is one based on the equipment details to be used. But ... there are people who auger holes year round here in the Hudson Valley.


  4. #4
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    4210 MFWD Ehydro--'89 JD 318

    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    I had to bury a pet about a year ago during this time of the year, tried the fire idea with burning wood and it was more bother than it was worth. Ended up using a pickax for several hours but at least swinging that helped me stay warm.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Holes are dug in winter by the pros with very aggressive & special cutters. And down force. And very beefy drive train.

    So it can be done, but I doubt you have the equipment to do so on a consumer-grade 3pt digger.

    --->Paul

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Back in the fall of 2000, I used the PHD and front loader and a bit of shovelling to dig a grave for our dog. We suspected we might lose her over the winter, so I dug the grave before winter and covered it. Dog lasted until May...but that's probably only 'cause the hole was ready. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    I think some cemetaries up here have a propane unit they place over a gravesite to thaw the ground before the backhoe comes in.

    Perhaps one of those kerosene "torpedo" heaters could be set up with a big sheet metal deflector to point the "blast" downward might work, if you could keep the whole thing mostly tented. On the other hand...I can foresee a couple of different things that might go wrong with the idea too, so it would be quite an experiment.

    Other than that, I believe there are places that do pet cremations, and I think that's what I would opt for if I couldn't get the hole in the ground.

    By the way, digging that hole in the ground was the hardest thing I've ever done with my tractor. It's just hard to work when you're always wiping tears from your eyes thinking about the loss of your loyal friend. My condolences to your buddy.

    ~Rick

  7. #7
    cj7
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Thanks for the info guys. Looks like my buddy should come up with another plan. He is pretty bummed about having to put his dog down. It has a large cancer growth on its leg. He has had the dog for many years so it is just time. He lives in town with a small yard. So he tought maybe we could put him to rest at my place. They want to charge 350.00 for cremation at his vet.

  8. #8
    Banned shvl73's Avatar
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    That will be one of the toughest holes he'll ever dig. He has my condolences. Renting an excavator will probably cost more than cremation, however my issue with cremation is I don't think they are as particular with pets & I would want to know I have the correct ashes to spread somewhere special. If it were me, I would rent the right equipment & get it done, without regard to cost, however I know that is not realistic for everyone. Do you have a friend with an excavator? Maybe something can be bartered. If not, the idea of a pick will work, just slowly. Also, if the area chosen has snow cover, the frost may not be too deep. Good luck

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    None -yet. Until then FunBuggy (EZ-Go) will have to do!

    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Having never had to bury a pet, I really don't know what is involved. But could your friend rent a small compressor and jack hammer to break up the ground? I would think that by using that, it wouldn't take too long to get a large enough hole going. Maybe after loosening things up to below the frost line, the PHD would work then.

  10. #10
    Banned shvl73's Avatar
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    Default Re: post hole digging - in winter

    Hey now, That's an excellent suggestion. I know you can rent electric jackhammers as well. They work pretty well. The septic guys use them to get to the tank cover in the winter it doen't take long at all. It will also keep the cost way down.

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