The first step in building our foundation was to survey the property. This was more of a challenge than I had anticipated because the plat our land was in had never been properly monumented, so I joined the survey crew looking for the government corners to start the process.
The surveyors had to run bearings from several different points around the neighborhood, reconciling them to various informal monuments in the plat. It was an interesting process and I was able to monkey around with their transit on our property.
In the photo, below, you can see our garden and orchard in the state they were in when we first purchased the property (that’s the seller’s mower).
We hired a contractor, Rob, while finishing up the surveying, then hired an engineer (Joost) and an architect (Jed) to draw up the plans. Rob used a great sub-contractor for the excavations, Ron, who wasted no time getting big equipment out onto the property.
Here’s the first cut on building the hole for our foundation:
The digging went really fast. It’s amazing how much dirt these machines can move!
We had to go down much deeper than anticipated in order to reach good, bearing grade. This whole area was covered by glaciers long ago and beneath the topsoil we quickly ran into a clayey soil, interspersed with rocks and small boulders left by the retreating glaciers.
We set up “director’s chairs” at the top of the property to watch the progress of the big dig.
Some of the neighbors came snooping – a family of deer that lives at the bottom of our property on the neighbor’s lot.
I’m not sure who was more curious, the deer or Dale.
And that’s all there is to building a hole. The whole process took a day.
And we did our part, picking up the little rocks after Ron’s crew had left.