Clearing Trees

Today the site work company began clearing a 60ft x 100ft area for the studio. The crew of three turned 0.13 acres of dense woods into a pile of chips in just a few hours. My son wanted to watch, but it was so incredibly loud that we had to sit in the car together and watch out the window.


Breaking Ground

This week they’ve made enough progress that we can pour the slab next week. Because the forrest floor had a foot or two of loamy soil, they first had to dig down to firm soil.


Next, they began bringing in fill. They compacted the soil in layers with a giant rolling machine that gave us all flashbacks of living California as it shook the entire house from over 50ft away, simulating a series of earthquakes.


The footing was then excavated away from the newly compacted soil. Dirt was set piled up around the perimeter to use as backfill once the slab is complete.


My son wants to spend every waking moment at the site. A friend got him a digger for his birthday, which works especially well in the loose piles of soil around the footing, and he loves to play with his toy construction vehicles at a real construction site.


Pouring Concrete

This week the slab was poured and finished. The crew setup the forms and poured in a single day. They ended up needing 16 cubic yards of concrete to fill the large footings and maintain at least 4in of thickness in the center.


They used a machine to level and smooth the concrete, but because it was a relatively cold day, the concrete took longer to cure than they had expected. They had even added calcium to the mixture to accelerate curing, but fall is here and, as they say, winter is coming.


The final finish had to be done by hand, after sundown, by the headlights of their work trucks and a small LED work-light I rigged up on a ladder.


The next day insulation was added to the perimeter of the slab. Frost goes down about 4ft in the dead of winter around here, so every little bit helps.


Finally, a coat of water-based sealant was applied. Since the slab will sit out all winter before it’s covered by a building, this is a very important protection against freeze damage.


First Snow

This week the slab was backfilled, completing the first state of the project. It will sit until Spring, when the building will be delivered and stage-two will begin.


Confirming my estimations that our window was closing, this morning we got our first dusting of snow. There wasn’t much on the ground, but pouring concrete in such conditions is much more difficult, so it was nice to have completed the slab by now.


Now I have all winter to work out the finer points of my plan for what to do next.