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.

68 thoughts on “Manual Labor

  1. I remember the song “Sixteen Tons”. You do a lot of work there, Tim. I sometimes think about all the various projects you have done and posted about over the years and wish I had your skill set. One of the more memorable ones was the post (I think more than one) about putting in your own dark room.

  2. Wow, how did you do that? I guess I would give up after 3 truckloads or maybe less… I used a new cold-water pressure washer this week to clean the carport and the construction covering the terrace. I was completely exhausted and needed a lot of espresso’s afterwards… to help reduce my muscle stiffness from going up and down the ladder.

    • Climbing up and down ladders really wears you out. Pressure washing is hard work. Thanks, Herman.

      • Oh wow this work, owning your own road.
        Oh lord I admire the work you put in.
        As a kid this was one of my favourite past times watching the road repairs. There was one machine that made a whole lot of noise back them. I think it is the old version of the modern day rammer.

        Great respect for you guys.
        No!! Too Potholes!!
        Or sunken pits 😂
        Catchy slogan.

      • Oh absolutely. Utmost respect for the men who built our roads.
        Hard Manual Labour.
        You are most welcome Timothy.

  3. I love manual labour:). Call me mad but I do. I always feel a sense of well being having dug a hole, built a wall or whatever….Having said that now that I am fast approaching 77 – I probably prefer to observe:). And by the way I love your header image…Have a good weekend.

  4. Next time you do road repairs, please let me know ^_^. Wouldn’t mind helping out in the least!

  5. Good grief!
    Yes, I know that song. My parents loved Tennessee Ernie Ford.
    However, I never thought I would see it come to life in a blog post.
    You work hard where you live, Tim.
    For me, on the outside, it’s worth it!

    Hey, I found an owl mural. It’s a different owl than your owls, and it’s green(ish).
    Still it’s an owl!!!

  6. Holy moly, Tim! You don’t need no stinkin’ gym! You’re always out and about fixing all sorts of things. That is quite the job. Between the neighbours donating gravel, do you have to pay for all the upkeep? Hope it’s reflected in your taxes…

    • I generally pay for it. The neighbors are talking about pitching in, which is great. I have to pay taxes on top of it all. Maintaining a private road is not tax deductible. The government does not like stinking lowlife people like me owning roads. The government refuses to maintain the crossing over the drainage ditch even though the ditch is government property. I have to maintain the crossing, which is slowly collapsing. Thanks, Dale.

      • That is so not right. I’m glad the neighbours are at least talking of it. Of course it’s not tax deductible. 🙄 It’s an abuse to not maintain the crossing! I know we’ve talked about that before. And if they owned it? They’d probably ignore it anyway. They probably don’t want to buy it from you, either because they can have it all. No responsibility PLUS they collect taxes from you… SMH.

      • The neighbors said the Village is talking about filling in the drainage ditch, which has been dry for years, and turning the filled ditch into a park. That’s all we need is the road crossing a park so we can run over kids, dogs, and runners coming and going from our houses.

      • Just what e need. Although I’m sure it will take years for the Village to actually do anything with the drainage ditch.

    • The road eats Rod. Road maintenance really does eat you alive. I’m in pathetic condition, but I manage. Thanks, Charlotte.

  7. That’s some hard labor Timothy and you probably didn’t get any pleasure from the act that got you sentenced ha. I don’t own a road, but I can relate to at least some of the effort keeping the woods under control – constantly replacing cement and rocks in the gullies and stream that keep getting washed out with the Spring floods. Don’t overdo it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.