Thursday, April 1, 2010

Today's project: bane of our existence

I don't know what it is, what it's for, or when it was put in, but this giant slab of concrete in our yard is... giant! We didn't even know it was there for awhile because dirt had migrated over the top of it and things were growing on it (this was of course before we dug out the back yard). It's in the way of a raised bed that wants to live there so it had to be moved.

This little baby is 2 1/2 feet wide and almost 4 feet long and about 10 inches thick. It seems to be brick and stone and rock with a concrete slab poured on top and a few asbestos shingles glued to the side. There was once a ring of bricks mortared all around the top of it. Perhaps it was once a little oven?

Anyway, so I dug out all around it and Jeremy found his grandfather's move-it/haul-it winch thing. We attached one end to the fence post on the other side of the yard, hoping and praying that we wouldn't pull the fence post out of the ground! We got a thick strap around the block and then had to use an intermediary strap since neither strap nor winch was long enough to reach the distance.

Then Jeremy started cranking on the winch. I was afraid the old strap would snap or something would break. At one point the red strap did break in half - they just don't make 'em like they used to. But by that time the block had moved enough that the winch reached the old strap just fine.

I did a lot of leveraging with a 2x4 while Jeremy was winching. They definitely don't make 2x4s like this anymore! Either one of us could stand on the end of the 2x4s and jump up and down on it - making the block move up and down a little - and the 2x4s never broke!

Since the strap was off center the whole block turned as it came out of the hole. I just dug underneath and we passed the strap under and kept winching.

We finally got it moved almost all the way back (further than this last picture) and filled in the holes so we could build the bed. We figured the block would make a great base for putting our bee hives on when we get those someday. So the block will just sit back there in the corner, out of the way, until we need it.

It may have to move a tiny bit more before we're ready, but not more than a few feet and that's where it will stay for good. I tried to estimate the weight using Google calculator and a formula for how to calculate concrete weight and they're suggesting it weighs over 1,000 pounds! It seems like that might be an overestimate - but then again, it was really heavy! I made it sound easy, but it took us all day to do this and it was backbreaking, sweaty, hot work! Perhaps it never will move from its current position...

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