Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Odd skills

One of the fascinating things about building a home is the range of skills required, and the diversity of the people who have those skills.
We've all seen and admired the talent of a good backhoe operator. Scott, who has been doing our excavation work, is truly a master at his craft. It's quite remarkable to see him sitting in the cab of a machine the size of our house, controlling a bucket that's the size of my car, and being able -- from forty feet away -- to scoop two inches of dirt from the bottom of a hole.
But I knew we'd need someone like Scott on the job. And someone who can lay block with precision. And someone who can tell at a glance whether a post is out of plumb.
I didn't know we'd need someone who's talented at unloading a truck, though. But this morning, that's what we got. Simcoe Block delivered the latest load of blocks, and I caught the tail end of the unloading. I watched their driver use a boom to hoist skids of cement blocks -- not strapped in place skids, mind you, but skids of loose-piled blocks -- and place them down in the bottom of the hole.
Some of them needed to go beyond the reach of the boom, but that wasn't a problem: our driver just started them swinging back and forth like a 5,000 pound pendulum, and when the skid reached the degree of swing he needed, he just dropped it down in place.
It was a small thing, I suppose, and just one of many deliveries he would have made that day. But it's just one more thing that made me say "huh. Who knew that was a skill one needed to have?"

Backfilling went well today. We can now see the grade that we'll be living with, and the driveway is roughed in sufficiently for trucks to back right up to the garage. Blocklayers back on site tomorrow (thursday) to build the rest of the above-grade walls. They're planing to push through if the weather holds, and aim to be done by Sunday.

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