The Big Dig – Part 2… And more

Initially I was going to break this saga into 4 parts but life being what it is you have to roll with it. Parts 2 and 3  are now stuck together. Yolan arrived as scheduled Monday afternoon to start digging out the old retaining wall and made quick work of it. With the finger attachment he pulled the ties up and stacked them really neatly.


It was a bit of a tight squeeze at the back but Yolan had no trouble maneouvering the little Kubota excavator and made it look easy. With the ties out of the way the next job was to pull the garden shed out and move it to the curb where it was going to be picked up and sent to a new home.


Ray climbed up and set the slings and Yolan started lifting….


Which is where things fell apart… Literally. The base of the shed dropped right off but amazingly the shed held together and Yolan got it out to the curb then came back for the base. It was in pretty good shape so the plan was to still send it to it’s new home. It didn’t get picked up that day but we were assured it would go. When it did leave we were in Montreal and I got a text from our friend Josh saying “Hey I just saw your shed heading up the road on a trailer!”

Garden shed removal not exactly to plan..
The shed (and base) under a beautiful rainbow waiting to leave

With the old wall taken care of Yolan marked his lines for the next step and called it a day. Then I got to work work cleaning up the shrapnel and getting it ready to haul away.

Funny thing. The night before Yolan came to start the excavating I was looking at the property line with the tin shed gone and Kathy’s greenhouse moved to the side of the house  and the line where the retaining wall currently was just didn’t look right to me. As it happened Kathy had her property plot plan easily accessible and Heather ALWAYS knows where stuff like that is in our house so armed with the measurements and a 25 foot tape I did some measuring and sure enough the old wall was 1 – 2 feet over our property line.  So we’re getting a little more space on our side and Kathy is losing a bit.  Score! I think initially when the fence and retaining wall were built they just put it up so they wouldn’t have to take down the big fir tree at the back of the lot (now even bigger of course 30 years later).

Lines for the new wall

Yolan was busy the next day, so Ray dropped off his flatbed trailer and we hauled all the scrap wood off to the scrap depot. Just as we finished dumping the last load, the heavens opened up. Which is where the schedule got kind of backed up. The rain just would not stop. Our hope was to have everything started and pretty much ready to pour before we left to Montreal and Ottawa for 10 days, but with it pouring rain Yolan couldn’t get back to excavate for the forms.

We knew that the project was in good hands with Ray, but we got him to slow things down until we got back and as we were flying to Montreal the next week Yolan dug out for the footings.


With the excavation done Ray came back a couple of days later and started putting the footings in.

Footings in place

And by the time we got home he was just finishing up the forms and getting the final touches in preparation for the pour.



The completed span. That’s going to be a lot of concrete!

I’m so glad that someone who knows what they’re doing is in charge of this (okay – and doing most of the work as well). That’s 97 feet of concrete to be poured for a 3 foot wall.  Just a little outside my comfort zone for a DIY project. I’m pretty sure the way Ray put it together that wall ain’t going anywhere any time soon, even in our earthquake zone. 🙂 The concrete guy is supposed to be coming by for a final measure Monday and we may be pouring as early as Tuesday.

The pumper truck gets to do all the heavy lifting for the next step but I’ll help out where Ray needs me. Should be an interesting experience. First time working with concrete for me. Heather will take the pictures to record this for posterity and once the wall is up  it’s on to the new workshop space. Woo hoo!!



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