Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tucking Fruck

dbBrad gets a new truck. Not for vanity, show, luxury or fuel economy, but strictly for work. My old truck transmission died and I replaced it so I could keep on working.

This is not my new work truck, but in the days of my youth, I too wished for a gas guzzling, jacked up, ridiculously modified and useless truck with monster tires and highways of mud!
It happened like this. Maranokos didn't have my rock and couldn't deliver. Frustrating, but these things happen and I worked the problem. Simply borrow a trailer from my dad and pick up the rock myself.

dbBrad's truck with dbDad's trailer and a dbDead trany.
The pavers were 4200lbs, the 3 large granite steps at 900lbs each makes 2700lbs and the three little steps were only 1800 combined. Because of ease of loading, the pavers went in the truck and the trailer was loaded with all the granite. Seemed like a decent way to do it but clearly my truck was overloaded and more weight should have been on the trailer. None the less, my little 250 did great with the 8700lbs. Including 1600#'s for the trailer, I was at 10,300.

dbBrad and dbDead truck, being towed away. This was the second attempt to tow it as it was dropped off the first truck, bending the bumper.

My truck, a 1996 F-250 is a work horse. It has 180k miles and is still running strong. In fact the engine has more power than the transmission can handle apparently.

The old wonder truck, an 85 Nissan, still running with 320k miles.
So on Friday, Memorial Day weekend, at 4:45 pm, in Kent of all places, my truck is doing great one minute as I'm talking about needing to charge clients delivery fees to cover my costs and how I could hand pick the rock, deliver it, and still save them some money, when I look in my rear view mirrors and see smoke.

Turns out the seal on the transmission failed, probably due to overheating of the trany fluids and it was dripping onto the exhaust and hence the smoke. I was able to drive off the freeway, but there I was, 100 miles from home, 15 minutes before every single store was going to close for the next 3 days, with 8700 pounds of rock.

Thank God for my Dad and for Del's truck rentals. They had a lovely truck which I could rent if only I could get there by 6:00, before they closed. I spent 10 minutes asking anyone I could find for a ride before I realized that all the nice trucks in the parking lot belonged to guys in the bar who probably couldn't drive by this time and I was screwed.

A very nice rental truck from Del's in Woodenville, with the Dura-Max engine and leather king cab. Nice truck!
So once again, my dad came to the rescue and picked up the rental truck, brought it to me, and helped me move the stone out of my truck and into the new one and I was home by 8:00.

dbBrad having a little fun with his new truck. I purchased it a long way from home so to make it simple, I rode my motorcycle which I loaded in the back.

Still needing a truck for my current projects, to get to the job, haul materials, and to move my excavator, I found a new one on CraigsList which has turned out great. Very similar to my old one, but a 350 with duallys and only 60k original miles, less than 1/3 that on my broken truck.

dbBrad proudly stands on his new truck.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Latest dbBrad project, landscaping and earth work

My latest project is not really design or build, but more like install and sculpt.

dbTruck, dbTrailer and dbTractor.

While it's not exactly what I thought I'd be doing with my architecture, art and engineering background, I'm very much enjoying doing restoration and working outside repairing the land. Plus it's keeping the crew busy.

We staked out the utilitites prior to beginning work..
Get to know the site, the design and the materials-dbBrad

We've been at it for two weeks now and here are some shots of the tools, the materials, the yard and the process, with a back-flip for kicks!

Loosening up the earth to remove Aspen roots and for reshaping.

Some of the design objectives are to simplify the front yard and to improve the relationship to the land around it.

dbDog on Granite steps loaded on dbDad's trailer.

There's also a functional component, to add parking and create a more obvious approach to the front door. The generous steps, large stepping stones and an inviting path directs people to the main house and makes approaching the detached apartment less obvious.

The mulch made a great spot to dump the pavers which I did by myself on Memorial Day Weekend so I could return the rental truck. See More

The landscape design by Fran Abel accomplishes these objectives with simplicity, low maintenance and a timeless garden that will only get better with time.

dbBrad and DEW excavator at work.

Many of the rocks were already on the property which I placed with ease, but 5 of the rocks were a little bigger and needed a bigger machine. Placement is to aid in retaining and help transition the house and land visually from a massing standpoint.

dbBrad dumbfounded by d'big rock! Andrew had to remove the tailgate to get the rock in the truck.

There are also 3 large granite steps (900lbs each) leading up to a crushed granite path with large stepping stones set into the CGP (crushed granite path). All this in a more intimate garden between a beautiful house and the lovely field and forest in front of it.

dbBrad and dbDog, Sir Benton 'damn he's cute' Cowboy, the eviscerating Aussie!

All the new beds are being mulched, several inches of aged wood chips over a continuous and overlapping layer of cardboard. This will look great immediately, but will control the weeds and encourage development of healthy soil.

I like to find rocks with a patina and moss and apply finesse when moving them to minimize damage.

We're planting trees now, but will wait until the mulching does it's job before we plant all the shrubs and smaller plants. The irrigation that's going in now for the trees will be easily added on to when the final planting happens, probably this fall.

dbLight, an Italian lamp in a rock from the property.

Lighting was an issue and we wanted a more subtle and natural source of light. Inspired from the second street park lights (Langey WA), I teamed up with Lloyd Whennel of Fine Art Builders, who is carving rocks from the property which we will be insetting with sweet little indirect lights from Italy.

Trees, Tractors and Rocks, co-existing!

Even when all the materials are on site and it seems all the decisions have been made, Fran and I found ways to make little improvements all along the way. The touch of a master adds allot to the placement of a rock or the fluff of some mulch!

db-Landshapers setting some of the larger rocks while Fran and Brad worry about scratches!

And a little fun had to be had on the job site too. When the mulch is this soft and fluffy, you just got to take a minute to jump into it.

dbBack flip!