WORKING HARDER NOT SMARTER
One of my
"bucket list" aka to do items
my retirement in 2012 was to replace a front gutter drain line system that was clogged
by small roots and not feasible to attempt repairs but a full replacement
was needed after digging it up in places to ascertain the root damage.
It is hard to believe tree roots can find and work their way between the
connections and fittings of the flexible line but it took about ten years for
the roots to overtake and disable the drain lines. Our neighbor
Hildreth now deceased, installed the gutter drain line system way back when
and it didn't take but a few hours to do so with the aid of his trenching
machine. I will usually try to do something for myself if it is within
my capability in order to save a few dollars but I
learned a good lesson from this one. I though much about our friend and
neighbor Johnny Hildreth while completing this project and do miss him!
A temporary quick fix solution which was unsightly, was to disconnect the center
gutter drain down spout and feed into an above ground 20
feet section of the flexible four (4) inch diameter drain line which
probably was five (5) years ago......some serious procrastation! At least, it kept the water away from
the foundation of our home. My bride called this temporary
jury rig a black
snake, more akin to an Anaconda or Burmese Python size wise though!
Since I am rambling again on the keyboard; the title of this short story
so fair is unclear and let me try and explain. One of my friends Randy
Steele offered to bring his tractor with plow to make easy work out of
digging a trench for the drain lines which consisted of two lines across the
front yard terminating into one single line running across our gravel
lower drive way. However, I later
decided to run a parallel drain line in front of the house and thought that
the tractor would be too close to the shrubbery, especially at the
lower end where the proposed new drain line would terminate.
My "guesstimation" for completing this project was
two days and I was way
off base on this one. I thought that it wouldn't be too hard work to
use a shovel and mattock to dig a 12 plus/minus inch deep trench about 8 inches in
width and now the working harder not smarter theme is coming into focus.
One of my pet work slogans while working for the North Carolina Department of
Correction aka Department of Public Safety, Division of Prisons was,
"Work Smarter Not Harder"
which I definitely employed whenever possible.
After about ten minutes of digging in the hard packed red clay, silica rock and
gravel, I would take a ten or fifteen minute break to keep from "falling out."
Perspiration was flowing
profusely from the pores of my skin like a small creek cascading down the
side of a
mountain and the outside air temperature was in the mid eighties with a
humongous amount of humidity in the air which expedited the dehydration
process. My tee shirt was soaking wet
and had prominent white salt rings formed after a couple hours of some
serious manual labor which is not in my normal daily routine other than an
hour or two at the local
Buff Monkey Fitness Company which would be
like a vacation compared to this digging stuff.
I can personally vouch that a
State Government Employee job
very little physical
work stretched out over several decades will take its toll on you by the lack of
physical activity. Sitting behind a desk or standing and/or sitting at
a security post doesn't keep one physically fit. Since retirement, I
have worked out at the local gym but that doesn't compare to what ten
minutes on the business end of a shovel or mattock will do to your heart
rate, whereby quickly depleting your physical energy level requiring copious and constant intake
of water to keep the body hydrated. Anyone that has to be outside
doing manual labor in the elements, you are much tougher than this ole boy
and my hat is off to you. I don't consider operating a machine such as
a tractor, dozer, lawn tractor, etc. as manual labor since the machine is
doing the work. It takes very little energy to operate a hydraulic
lever which doesn't compute in the definition of manual labor and/or work in
my humble thinking process, however the elements will take its toll on you
nonetheless . I am using four inch diameter PVC sewer line for this
project which should allow any debris from the gutters to easily flow
throughout the pipe and hopefully the glued connections will at least deter the
entrance of small roots which are always looking for a water source. My bubble
level got a good workout also making sure there was a constant downhill
in the drain line to prevent any buildup of standing water in the line. I normally
don't wear a hat or cap unless hunting but on the advice of my Dermatologist after burning/freezing
off many sun spots, molds, etc, all the things that can lead up to
Melanoma, the wide brim hat and sunscreen are now a must!
I can fully understand why many public utility and State workers are seen at their
job sites along our highways and roads leaning on a shovel while watching a
worker or two actually shoveling dirt from a broken sewer or water main!
They are working in shifts; resting while others are working and then take
their turn....or at least, I will give them the benefit of doubt since this ditch digging is
very hard work.
Click on below thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:
I believe I dug a total of sixteen feet with the shovel and mattock and
decided I needed something to help break the ground up since it was slow
going trying to get the shovel into the rock hard red clay soil. I
called Sergeant Danny Wright who had done some yard work for me over 20
years ago with his Troy Built garden tiller and he said he would come up
after he finished cutting his grass and he had to replace a worn drive belt on his
Danny Wright brought his Troy Built tiller and worked about sixty feet of
the hard packed red clay soil but the drive belt was slipping badly due
to not an exact replacement width wise due to Troy Built being purchased by
another company. Below pixs of Danny:
The tiller did very well for about eight inches in depth and definitely
saved myself a ton of manual labor but the final 4 inches or so was slow
going due to the packed red clay mixed with small silica gravel. Danny
also tilled up and leveled one of the high spots in the yard that I had originally dug
up the drain line to ascertain the extend of the root clog damage. Pix
Danny would not take any money for his work even though I tried.
His comment was,
"That is what friends are for" of which I didn't expect him
to work for nothing and certainly did appreciate his help!
It took me three more days to finish up this project consuming the better part
of four days total.
A few more thumbnail pixs of the progress:
The inside diameter of the PVC sewer pipe is four inches with a 1/8 inch
wall thickness and my four inch diameter hole saw got me in the ball park to
cut a hole through the wooden landscape treated timbers used as a retaining
wall. I had to use my Sawsall, hammer and chisel to persuade the sewer
pipe to get through the wooden retaining wall. Naturally, a piece of
1/2 inch diameter rebar through the four layers of landscape timbers was
directly in line with the drain line and had to be pulled free.
I will add stone buffers to help disperse the exit water, install a wire rodent screen
and might add additional sections of PVC sewer pipe if there is too much
Additional shrubbery will be added to balance out the Azalea shrubs that
have died over the years. The hard packed red clay soil is perfect for
growing pine trees and especially elm trees of which we don't need.
We purchased a truck load of topsoil from Jim Hill Sand and Gravel
decades ago to use
in our landscape flower beds and the stuff was mostly sand and of such poor
quality that it wouldn't even
grow weeds for about five or more years. My bride hasn't forgotten
that topsoil purchase either! I guess a little free advertising is not welcome in this
Below pix of the finished project:
In CONCLUSION, I didn't factor in the date on my birth certificate
for this project and these type of physically demanding bucket list items
should be reserved for the younger folks or someone utilizing resources with a
mechanical advantage (brain over brawn) to Work Smarter Not Harder......grin if you must!
Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 05-30-14