Sunday, January 30, 2011

F350 - the ultimate power tool! (Or, how we removed our cisterns)

We have two 20 foot tall and 4 foot in diameter concrete cisterns in our backyard. They were originally to provide pressure for the well water, but since the well hasn't worked for over 10 years, they weren't serving any purpose (other than an eyesore). We looked into having them refurbished and used for rainwater collection, but they were leaning about 10 degrees to the north, and the consensus seemed to be that if they were filled, they would either stand up for another 50 years or fall over tomorrow. Having them fall wasn't a chance we wanted to take, especially since they would be falling on exactly where we wanted to put the horse barn. So, we decided to have them removed.

We got a couple of bids for removal, and the best one was $1800, a significant portion of which included disposal fees (i.e. hauling the concrete chunks to the dump). We were looking to save some $$ and we were also hoping to avoid taking all those pieces to the dump if possible, so we decided we'd give it a go ourselves to see if we could pull them over with our F350 diesel truck. We were also hoping they might break apart into smaller sections when they came down and we might be able to find a home for the smaller chunks.

To pull the cisterns over, we used a hammer drill to drill a hole in the sidewall, then looped a chain through and attached it to our truck. Our friend Alexis (who was in town for the day) drilled the holes and helped with a whole host of other things. Thanks Alexis!

Chain tightening... the moment of truth. Will it work?



Waiting for the dust to settle...

Yep, it worked! The first section really buried itself in the ground after its 20-foot fall.

Artemis supervised during the demolition process.

Both cisterns had concrete caps on them. Apparently, the cap forms were lined with newspaper, and the imprint from the 1950s has stayed. Neat, huh?

Father-son work crew, plus the hero of the day (our truck!)

Cistern demo.

And, bonus video of the second cistern falling! Sadly, you can't see our fabulous truck doing its job, but you sure can hear the purr of the diesel engine!

The resulting culverts. I posted these on Craigslist last night, and all six of the ones that are broke free have already been picked up for use as, well, culverts! We'll jackhammer out the last two sections of each cistern, which are embedded in about 12 inches of concrete, next weekend. Our neighbor, who has a bobcat, is renting a jackhammer attachment for some work on his land, and offered to come over and help us. The offer is much appreciated!

These culvert sections were poured on 12-6-1954. It's kind of sad we couldn't leave them up, but I'm excited that they're going to have a new use!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fruit review

Today, kiddo #2 and I went to Central Market (it was really an excuse for him to get some driving practice in, but whatever). Normally we try to eat local, in-season fruits and veggies, but we decided to explore the fruit section to find something we'd never had before. We came home with a couple of things and had them for dessert, and we decided to write up a review of our tastings.

Pepino Melon - Very mild flavor, sort of a cucumber and melon mix. You can eat the peel but we decided we preferred it without. We didn't eat the seeds although there's probably no reason you can't. Wouldn't recommend it, especially for the price ($4.99/lb).

Guava - I thought it tasted like a pine tree. Kiddo #1 thought it had a pine-tomato flavor (she hates tomatoes). Kiddo #2 thought it had a sort of strawberry-pine flavor. Definitely would not recommend it.

Kumquat-hybrid (possibly a Calamondin)- Definitely better with the peel - otherwise, you will turn your tongue inside-out with how sour it is! Kiddo #2 and I liked this one, Kiddo #1 not so much. Tastes mostly orange-like, and eating the peel was a novel thing, but would definitely eat these again.

Meyer Lemon - Not the same flavor as a regular lemon, but far too sour for everyone but Kiddo #2. I would recommend using these for lemonade, unless you just want to peel the enamel off your teeth!

Blood Oranges - This was a cheat since I've had these before. If you consider the way it looks (Kiddo #1 said it looked like a piece of meat) to be a novel experience rather than something gross, they're very tasty. Different from a regular orange though - sweeter and not as citrus-y. We would all love to eat these again.

Cara Cara Pink Navel - These are delicious! They are sort of pink like grapefruit, which put the kids off for a bit, but the taste was terrific. Milder than the blood orange, we think it tastes like an orange/strawberry/raspberry combination. A dozen of these would probably not last a day at our house!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Apparently this is some good sh!t

Yesterday, I finally got around to posting three ads on Craigslist to get rid of some items. The posts were for a white Maytag Jetclean dishwasher ($10), a Sealy twin mattress ($25), and 3 truckloads of horse manure from the manure pile out back (free).

By 10 p.m. last night, I had one response each about the mattress and the dishwasher, and get this... TWELVE responses about the manure. Who knew that composted horse manure would be a more sought-after commodity than appliances or furniture?

I've heard the saying that it's important to have your sh!t together, but in this context it takes on a whole new meaning!