The Shop — The Foundation

The post on April 1st was the first post in over a year. I don’t know why. I guess life got in the way. So many people’s blogs that I read have a good grip on doing it that I didn’t want to replicate their blogs. Commenting there just seemed easier. Sometimes what I wanted to blog about was more a rant than anything else and did not provide anything more than my view of a subject without adding information to the pool. Anyway, I am still here and wanted to celebrate the latest addition to The Last Frontier.

Three years ago, just before the COVID panic, I went to work for Lowe’s Home Improvement. I lasted about 8 months before that particular retail environment just wore on my nerves, having been an Air Force pilot, an Engineer in the Air Force and done engineering work in aerospace and defense. I left their employment amicably. The goal of working there was to earn some money for goals around our property and a new radio for me. In June 2020, I got the new radio, an ICOM IC-9700 VHF/UHF 3 Band transceiver. It’s a sweet rig! In the early months of 2021, Mrs. BillB and I decided to go ahead and build a shop, partially funded by the proceeds from my employment.

We settled on a 30 x 30 foot metal building with 12 foot walls from a company in Grandview, Texas. The company was founded by some of the Old Mennonite community that live in that area of Texas. We had dealt with that community before and found that they were in general fair dealing folks. On May 7th we bought the building with a 50% down payment, the rest due on completion of the building. Since we are self-contracting this project, the ride had just begun.

We sited the building about 50 feet west of our garage. This was where the previous owners had a garden area that was about the same size as the building. Half of this garden area had Century Plants (Agave Americana) in it. They were mature and large. Winter Storm Uri had killed or severely damaged most of them. So I got the tractor with front-end loader and took them out after taking down the fence around the area. I put the remnants in our burn pit and that is another story. We did a “rough” stake out of the building. The difficulty here is that the Last Frontier is on a slope; where we determined the shop would go there is about an 18″ drop from the high corner to the low corner.

Now we had to find a concrete contractor to put in a slab foundation. We got names from THE local lumber yard to be able to get multiple quotes on the job. The first quote we got was high. The next quote we got was in the ballpark of what we had estimated it would cost. So we went with him. He came and surveyed the area then texted us a quote. He was supposed to show up on June 10th. But he never appeared and didn’t answer the phone when I called. We kept trying and finally got someone who showed up. They came on the 16th of July 2021 to put in the forms. Here is the end of the first day’s work.

The foundation forms before steel (rebar)

The next day they came and put in the steel/rebar. They also completed the forms so that was a little step for the siding to sit in to keep water out, and a step-down for the roll-up door.

Completed forms with steel and all of the other.

It was about a week later that they came to pour the foundation. Always love the sound of them doing that. Here is the first concrete going in.

First Concrete pour
First concrete pour.

They came back a week later and pulled the forms. Here is the bare foundation in all of its glory.

The foundation with the forms removed
The foundation in its bare glory!

The next installment will be the shop going up.


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