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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    344
    Location
    Goose Creek, S.C.
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi 1801

    Default Temporary power pole? No problem.

    I've been up to my ears in alligators lately with too many things to do, and not enough hours in the day. I've got a deadline on my building permit to get the first inspection done by December 29th on my new home. I'm close. But, close isn't good enough. I've got the footer trenches dug. I used a friend's Caterpillar track hoe to do the job, and it did great. Fun, too. But we can only do so much with equipment. The time comes when we have to get in the ditch and finish up with a shovel. Now for me, if things can go wrong, they do.

    It rained before I could shovel out the loose stuff. Not just any rain; monsoon stuff.

    I'm building on clay. The rain turned loose clay into sticky, icky, gooey muck that clings to a shovel and your shoes. The kind of yuck that has to be beat off a shovel and jerks the boots off your feet if you dare take a step. Oh yeah; you're getting the picture. But, I have perceviered. I'm ready for the rebar.

    It sure would be nice to have some electricity on the job site though. So I call, and then go by, the local co-op. They send and ex--pert out to place the temporay power pole. Now that doesn't mean that he actually does anything. He just tells me where to put the pole. He's a regulay rocket scientist too.

    "Will you be driving in this part of the lot sir?", he asks, pointing to a spot pretty much right in the middle of my driveway. Stevie Wonder could have seen that it was a bad spot for a pole. I was nice.

    "Yep."

    "Hmmm, then. Let's see. How about over here?", he asked, pointing to a spot obviously off to the side of my driveway.

    "Now that would work buddy."

    Without bending over he throws a flag, a very official power company flag, into the dirt, thereby marking the exact spot for my temporary power pole. Now I can get on with my project with one hundred amps of co-op power. Just send me the bill.

    Ah, but now we get to the tractor part.

    A good buddy of mine is excited to learn that it is time for a power pole. He gets on the horn checking with the network of friends to see who may have one. Lucky for me, Bee Bop has one.

    Now for those of you who think that Bee Bop sounds a bit strange of a name for a friend, remember, I'm from the south. In my circle of friends I have not only a Bee Bop, but a Taco, and a Bo Bo, and lots and lots of Bubbas. The leader of the pack is a long time friend named Ham.

    Ham calls me back pronto to let me know that Bee Bop has a power pole and he is on his way to Bee Bop's house to pick it up. He'll deliver it the next day when he gets off work.

    Great! I'll be waiting.

    When Ham arrives he finds a muck hole beyond belief. It's been raining and my driveway, although it looks good, takes all of his four wheel drive finesse to maneuver. He gets the trailer, and power pole as close as we can slip and slide our way in. So much for his Chevy; now it's time for my Mitsubishi.

    I pull in close with the front end loader and pick the pole up. After Ham pulls his truck and trailer out of the way, I carefully position the pole next to the hole I dug the day before. As luck would have it, my neighbor Terry shows up just in time. Yep, I actually have some friends with normal names.

    With Ham and Terry guiding it in, I drop the pole in place, and then maneuver the front end loader to the top of the pole. When all is ready, I lift. So far, so good, but the bucket will only lift so far, and we still have a ways to go. With Ham and Terry steadying the pole, and both giving directions at the same time, I move the tractor forward. My home made root rakes have the pole in very tenuous control as the bucket reaches the limit of its upward lift. Now I very carefully inch forward as my two buddies coax the pole into the hole. It wobbles, it wiggles, and it threatens to crush my two best buddies, but eventually, it falls into the hole. No blood shed, no broken bones.

    I'm beginning to love my little tractor. Even in the mud and the muck, it comes through.

    Soon I'll have electricity, and maybe I'll have time to figure out how to resize pictures so I can post them.

    Tom, happy with his little tractor.

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    115
    Location
    Western NY
    Tractor
    John Deere 4410

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    BTDT- I'm a building contrator and a licensed electrician. We work in clay soils all the time. Your adventure is very common in my business. I don't know when your first inspection is due (probably a footing inspection) but you better get a move on. Rain is your worst enemy at this point. I would rather work in snow than rain (done that too many times too). Get your footers pourred, strip the forms and get your drain tiles in on the outside of the wall and cover them with gravel. Make sure your bleeders are all clear. Some stone inside of the footings will make it easier for the wall guys to stay out of the mud. You need a low spot for your pump. Remember, you need a 20 amp GFCI receptical at your temporary pole to protect the workers. Good luck! Email me if you need any info.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    509
    Location
    South Carolina
    Tractor
    JD 5105

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    if you think you are going to get away with telling a hilarous story like that without pictures to back it up you are sadly mistaken!

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    344
    Location
    Goose Creek, S.C.
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi 1801

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    Jr, I really appreciate the offer to help and may well take you up on it. I've got so many questions. I'm not a complete novice. I built a wheelchair accessable house for my mom four years ago, but memory fades. I had the blessing of a building inspector who appreciated my dedication to my mom and helped me every step of the way with advice and a clear explanation of the codes. He's a great guy and a friend to this day. I'm building out of his territory this time though.

    Jrrcorp, I notice that you are in NY. I've noticed that things are done a bit different from one part of the country to another. Folks in your part of the country seem to use forms for the footers and go below the frost line resulting in much deeper footer ditches than we use here. Typical in my part of the country is a footer that is only inches below the normal level of the soil, usually six inches or so. I've dug my footers a good bit deeper than that because I was concerned with getting down to solid ground. I had a bunch of stumps on the home site and dug them all up with a back hoe; then I filled and leveled the whole area. This, combined with my deeper ditches, has contributed to some instability in the walls since I do not have forms. I've worked myself to a frazzle this past week putting the finishing touches to the maze of ditches and getting the rebar in place yesterday with the help of my two sons. They did a great job in adverse, sloppy conditions. But, as my luck has been running lately, it rained again last night. I went out today to inspect and see if I could do any work. Not chance. There was water standing so deep it covered my rebar and there were numerous slides. It was a disheartening site. When things dry up a bit, I'll get back in there and clean things up again. I can't get the concrete in there soon enough to suit me. Of course as soon as I get the concrete in and cured, drought will set back in. Before I started digging the footers my biggest issue was the dust all over everything because of the lack of rain, and the fire hazard if I tried to burn any of the brush.

    Enough grumbling about the weather. The last time around on Mom's house I had the same issue and had to pump water out of the trenches numerous times. It's all part of the game.

    Again, thanks for the offer of help.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    344
    Location
    Goose Creek, S.C.
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi 1801

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    Here's a picture of the Cat trac hoe I used to dig the footers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    344
    Location
    Goose Creek, S.C.
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi 1801

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    Since that worked out OK, I'll post another picture of my little tractor hard at work.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    344
    Location
    Goose Creek, S.C.
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi 1801

    Default Re: Temporary power pole? No problem.

    And another of me laying the pipe for the driveway. This was after one of the rain delays. Notice the muck on my boots. Also notice how graceful I am balancing on that pipe. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
    Attached Images Attached Images

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