20131014-184202.jpgNICK THE PLUMBER

Work goes on at the salt mine. The hot weather ended about five days ago but its replacement was rain – as in five inches of the stuff! That was more than we wanted. The soil here is this orange clay that, no kidding, is exactly like potters’ clay. That five inches of rain barely penetrated the soil. The bulk of it either ran off to lower ground or sat around in puddles where it turned the top few inches into shoe-sucking, shovel-sticking, tire-lubricating glop. I had to learn to lift my feet from the ground toes first because otherwise my shoes stayed behind in the mud.

We installed the drain pipes in the rain. To dig the ditches for the pipes was a maddening process because you’d scoop up a shovelful and attempt to throw it into the wheelbarrow but it wouldn’t separate from the shovel! We managed finally to navigate in it by making boardwalks with the pallets the cement blocks came on.

We wore raincoats during the rainy days which kept our upper bodies fairly dry but the raincoat runoff dribbled down our pant legs until we might as well have walked through the creek up to our waists. Mary banned me from the trailer until I undressed outside. That effectively meant I was marooned outdoors during the day. Vera faired no better; what do you do with a wet, muddy dog?

But the sun came out today! We have the cement-block daylight basement wall built and the front of it framed. The drain pipes are glued and set in the ground. They have to be inspected for leaks on Wednesday and then, hopefully, we can pour the slab. We went ahead and framed the basement which will make the slab work much more difficult but the alternative was to waste four days. Now we’ll have to wheelbarrow all the concrete into place – groan! My back aches already. I told Nick he needs to scare up at least one illegal to help us with that job. Just as my arms are healing from setting blocks, worse is on its way.