The Mud, the Blood, and the Tears

Another weekend, and more messing with trenches. Someday, some sweet day I will spend my time in the topsoil and not 3 feet deep in the clay. Not yet though.

After making the decision to run power from the street we thought we had everything buttoned up and had an electrician install a service panel in the barn. We have a trench right up to the side and I prayed it would be the last trench we dug on the place. That was not to be.

Mistake number 1
The power company provided a note requiring  2 inch conduit at 42 inches deep up to the transformer. Check. Installed. We then ran 2 inch conduit up to the barn and backfilled it about half way. In classic (for us) trench and conduit form we were informed by the power company that we had to run 3 inch conduit from the transformer to the service in the barn. This after the electrician and the county inspector had signed off on the job. So I took a day off work and began the process of digging out the stuff we had buried. Dig a hole, fill it back in, dig a hole.



In the mean time… we began the process of getting our septic in. We are installing two tanks and a pump tank farther downhill. The first tank comes from the barn and is our backup in case we have the wherewithal to transform the farm prep area into a formal commercial kitchen… it would need a separate infiltration field but getting the tanks in first is the big ticket item.


Once again, our best friends S and J (that’s not S btw – it’s J’s brother) came to the rescue to help out. Thank goodness one of us knows what he is doing.




That’s the pump tank a few hundred feet downhill from the septic tanks. The strip of dirt is the backfilled power trench.

Back in the trench
L showed up with lunch and afterward we started heating and bending the 3 inch pipe to conform to the side of the trench. Our goal was to keep the power line as far away from the phone line as possible to limit the amount of interference. Hot pipe was lowered into the trench and held in place until it cooled.

Even L’s tiny feet had trouble fitting in the trench-let. By the time we were done mud was everywhere including you-know-where from squatting in the muck gluing together the conduit.


Then came the tears and the blood boiling
I had a detailed discussion with the electrician about the conduit running through the concrete pad and had clearly labeled it. Duly ignored.

I have to get water out to where our future home will be built and the bay on the left was dedicated for that. The electric service is in the wrong spot by a whole bay. We have a call out to the electrician but I have a sneaking feeling I will have to bore through the concrete and dig yet ANOTHER trench to get the water line out of the barn to the future house site. I don’t mind so much when I screw up but when paying someone else top dollar and things turning into more work for me… that’s another thing. I was upset, which upset L, which put a cloud over the rest of the day. There were plenty of clouds already and mud, and blood (boiling) and a couple of tears.

When we finally made it back home exhausted I made an offering of L’s favorite comfort food – macaroni and cheese – to make up for bad behavior on my part. Forgiveness may be cheesy but it feels good and warms the belly. L puts up with a lot, she deserves every bowl. with extra cheese.

The electrician will get an earful though.



About M. Agriculteur

Designer, motorcycle junkie, traveler, wanna-be iron butter (more butt than iron), builder, foodie, farmer wanna-be.
This entry was posted in Barn, Construction, Preparing the land and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Mud, the Blood, and the Tears

  1. DM says:

    You came to mind just tonight when I got home, believe it or not. Hadn’t heard from you in a while and I was wondering how you were doing. I was tracking you the whole time I read this post. Lots and lots of character building adversity in both of your lives. You have a remarkably calm tone to this post…(and I would love read a transcript of your upcoming conversation with the electrician. The code stuff can be enough to break anybody sometime. Good to read the update! DM

    • Thanks. I’ve been sick for a while with a killer cold. On the mend now. It reads calm and the dig back out the conduit bit was resigned and just get it done attitude. The messed up electrical… Not so much. The first thing out of my mouth was “Well I’m $@*#%!” And the discussion may need to weigh in on the severity of the problem. Rehearsals I have in my head quickly devolve into invectives.

      I’m tired of building character. I would just like one project to go on plan. 😃

  2. I know all this is incredibly frustrating (in the trenches, AGAIN), and I agree the electrical is a real snafu, but I can’t help being super impressed at all that is getting accomplished. It must feel like 2 forward, 1 back sometimes though. Commercial kitchen someday? You guys dream big.

    • You are too kind. Oh yeah. Cottage industry rules here let us explore baking and jams w/o commercial kitchen status (rules on pets and children apply) but if something takes off we might be able to convert later.

  3. Bill says:

    Sorry you’re having to deal with a screw up and that things didn’t go smoothly, but glad to see you’re making progress! Getting our house built was a nightmare that ruined many a day for me. But now that it’s behind us I hardly ever think of it. That day is coming soon for y’all!

  4. I hope this phase is over soon for you guys! This crap sucks, and I am with you on character building, I’ve had enough. After awhile you just get tired of doing everyone’s thinking for them. Fingers crossed for the dry weather they are predicting for the next part of fall, so you guys can see some progress on these projects.

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