Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Clearing the Homesite

All kidding aside, Louie and Elmo (the bulldozer and excavator operators) really seem to know what they're doing. Both older guys (50s), both chewing dip (and sometimes smoking a cigarette to boot), both been operating these machines in this part of West Virginia since they were teenagers. Not being any of these things, I'm really impressed by the whole process. (Louie actually said today that he'd worked in fish hatcheries as a kid, and wished he'd stuck with it, but was awed by the idea of actually driving a bulldozer. Now his body's tired of it.) They are amazingly precise with these immense pieces of equipment. And there's a lot of thinking that goes into it: we're not trucking all the brush off the site (the excavator is going to take most of the tree trunks - you'll see them stacked in a lot of the pics; they're not mature enough to turn into lumber, so his guys will split them for firewood), so the tops and bottoms of the trees need to get buried. The whole process of building the road was a matter of deciding where to get dirt to replace all the soil that got scooped up with the trees, and where to bury the trees. They map it out before hand, work for a bit, adjust as necessary.

Long story short, they dug a 30' hole today, most of the dirt from which will be used for backfill after the house is set, and they cleared and buried a whole lot of debris. Here are some before, during, and after pics:

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