This morning we started bright and early getting to work with the backyard cleanup project. At first we were unable to start the backhoe but Erik got that figured out quickly. Dad started using the backhoe first. He began by digging out a spot for us to begin laying out the concrete slabs. After a little while I took over the controls of the backhoe and spent the better part of the day perfecting my skills with excavating. Everyone agreed that I may have found a second calling in life.

A couple of trees had to come down and Erik and I took care of maintaining some tension on a rope while Dad took the chainsaw to the trees. We have a nice pile of branches ready for the chipper. After the trees were down the stumps had to come out. Stumps don’t want to come out, they like it where they are, that is why they are stumps. Anyway after nearly flipping the backhoe a couple of times we finally got the stumps out.

Then we cleared a nice level path for the concrete slabs. Our next task was to get each slab to the place where it will now live on, forever. Which is what we said the last time we put in a fence. And that wasn’t forever as evidenced by some of the things we dug up for the new fence. The running joke between my Dad and I was “Bury it, we’ll never have to dig THAT up again.” Yep, it was our own personal time capsule of crap that we buried long ago.

To move the concrete slabs first we attached a chain to the bucket in the front of the backhoe. Then we took another chain and hooked it to the small piece of rebar and a bolt, I think we went through 4 bolts today. But our neighbor Richard came over and he lent us this heavy duty strap that had rings on the end and this thing was a godsend. We hooked the strap to another thing Richard gave us (I don’t know the technical term but it let the slab swing in circles so we could maneuver it better.) So Erik and I would take the backhoe over to the pile of slabs, then we would hook one up and I would drive it over into place.

We first tried lowering the slabs from above with the scoop and another chain configuration. 2 went into place not too shabby but the third one got into a position and I was unable to raise the arm anymore. So we then decided just to drive the backhoe across the lawn in the back. If I went slowly I didn’t tear it up too badly. But our lawn is ripped up good, you can see that in the photos from the Backyard Cleanup.

So we got about 11 slabs into place, two high. Then we filled in behind the slabs and raised that area of the yard up to the level of the two slabs. I used the backhoe to get the stonedust and fill in the holes and then used the backhoe to pull in all the loam as well. We got alot accomplished in our 12 1/2 hour day. Anyway, Tara and Erik went out and picked up a grill for the house and we are going to break it in. Enjoy the photos from today. Once I get back on the laptop I’ll format the movies that we took too.

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