Since K did so much digging and work on his day off, I figured I should go and contribute to the fantastic progress we were making. I decided to dig in all the post holes so that this week we can work on cutting the posts and getting them cemented in. We will still have to also place the cement tubes, but this was a pretty good start.
I started toward the tomato side of the yard because the dirt there is really nice. It is hard, compact clay towards the middle of the yard, so it makes for beautiful post holes. They have nice crisp edges and nothing back-fills while you are trying to dig it all out.
As I moved up the paths, the soil changes drastically. After the first two post holes, the earth starts becoming a loose clay. It still holds a good post hole, but it takes a little more time to get the material out with the post hole digger as it is a little softer and doesn’t clump together. It is however, easier to dig down as it doesn’t pack down quite as hard.
Next, the clay starts to disappear and we start hitting a very rocky sand. Medium-size rocks mixed with sand create a bit of a weird spot to dig. The hole itself still holds an ok shape, but not nearly as crisp edges as the other previous holes.
From there, it starts to go downhill in regards to digging a post hole. Next we move into a silt vein. This time of year, it isn’t too bad because it is moist, so the hole still holds a good shape, but it is so fine that getting it out of the hole is very slow going as it just slides right out of the post hole shovel.
Last, we end up by the fence, where there is a large sand vein. This is by far the worst part of the yard to try to put fence posts in. The hole that you dig back-fills as fast as you can get the sand out, and the outer edges of the hole just continue to expand as it breaks apart and drifts back into the hole. Even this time of year with the ground having lots of water, it is just a shifting slide of sand. I didn’t get all of the holes dug along this vein as it will take both K and I to get them in. We have to wiggle the cement tube into the sand, and use the post hole shovel inside the tube to help get rid of the sand that is inside the tube. The nice thing, is that the tube acts as a hard wall, ensuring that your hole isn’t back-filling with every scoop. But, it is very slow going, getting that tube to a depth that is appropriate for the walls we are building. At least these will be shorter walls with less pressure behind them.
The good thing, none of our walls have shifted on that sand vein in the last 4 years, so despite the pain in getting the posts into the ground, the ground itself seems to be steady without any shifting. Ah, the joys of living near a riverbed. Beautiful, fertile soil, but a mixed bag of soil types.
I used our potato tower walls to help cover the holes. Last year, we had just brought Basil home when we had a bunch of holes dug. Now, she is bigger, but still a wild puppy, and I worry she will break a leg in one of them rather than just falling into one. So, I covered them up, mostly, to ensure that she doesn’t wildly bound down the yard and get her leg stuck. Ellie is a little more cautious, but could also hurt herself if distracted by rodents or other critters getting ready to hibernate.