Manual Labor

Tools used by me as a one-man road crew. I used the sledgehammer to break up concrete that had been dumped along the side of the road. I used the broken-up concrete to fill some of the deeper potholes.

For those of you who know Tennessee Ernie Ford’s version of the song “Sixteen Tons”, I feel like I shoveled sixteen tons of dirt and gravel in order to fix the road today. One of the downsides of owning a road is I have to maintain it. Every year about this time I have to fill in all the potholes and sunken areas that have formed from traffic, the little bit of rain and snow we get, and freeze and thaw that help to break up the surface of the road. Our road is 1500 feet (457 meters) from the ditch crossing to our house.

I started three weeks ago by filling in the crevasse that formed on the crossing at the top of the road. Last Friday and filled potholes on the crossing, and on the corner at the top of the road. Then I filled in a big pothole had formed from the neighbor’s pool water running onto the road. Another neighbor fixed the problem of the pool water, and today I finished filling in the sunken sections that remained around that big pothole and then I filled the sunken areas at the bottom of the road. It was 35ºF (1.7ºC) when I started working on the road. It was nice and cool.

My neighbor had two piles of gravel and dirt removed from his roof when he had his house reroofed recently. He said I could use the gravel and dirt from the roof to fill the holes in the road. It worked great.

I thought about making a video of the process, but then I decided it would add too much time to the process of shoveling gravel and dirt into my pickup truck and then shoveling it from my pickup truck onto the road and spreading it. So I snapped a few photos instead. It took me five hours and 13 truckloads of dirt and gravel that decimated the second pile of roof gravel/dirt to fill the holes. That was with no breaks other than to take a few photos and to say hi to a couple of the neighbors as they were heading off to work.

The fourth load of the morning.

The sunken part of the road I filled with dirt and gravel. There was still water in the sunken area from the rain last Sunday and Monday.

Dirt and gravel that was in the truck on the road waiting to be spread.

A “hogback” formed while shoveling the dirt and gravel into my truck.

The last load. The pile that once was is no more.

The last load of dirt and gravel on the road is in the foreground. The filled-in sunken area, which took 10 loads of dirt and gravel to fill, runs from the closest buttress in the adobe wall on the right to the fourth buttress on the adobe wall.

“You load and unload 16 tons, what do you get?” no more potholes or sunken pits.