Friday, June 18, 2010

Horse Team and Wagon

We wrap up Wagon Week with this picture of a horse drawn freight wagon, taken in 1906. The wagon belonged to the treasury department. If you look closely, you can see that they are loading a large old safe onto the wagon. I have one of these old safes like the one pictured from the late 1800's. It was my grandfathers. I do not keep anything valuable in it, but just enjoy it as an old family item. These old safes weigh well over 2,000 pounds, and they are very hard to move. I can only imagine the effort when only working with horses and wagons.

Domestic Update:

I feel that I made major progress on the greenhouse yesterday, and am proud to announce that I have officially broken ground.

This picture shows the first dump truck load of caliche being delivered for the pad. The workmen had to dodge the peacocks all day, who appeared to be taking a great interest in the work. They would just stand in front of the truck. The truck driver would honk at them to try and get them out of the way, and then they would just honk back at him. In the end, they were able to work around each other without major incident.

In building the pad, they dump a load of caliche, then spread it out with a motor-grader, then wet it down from a water truck. They then flatten it out with the rolling machine. Then they dump another load and repeat. They just about have it finished, and today will just be smoothing it out a little more. 

The greenhouse is built around steel ground stakes that will be cemented in the ground. The next step is that I need to find someone that can bore the holes for the ground stakes. The holes have to be 14 inches in diameter and 36 inches deep. The challenge is that I live on a solid rock, so it will be a job to get the holes done. Then, the ground stakes will be concreted in, and then the concrete floor will be poured. 

I am also working on getting the utilities out to the location. I will have to have someone dig trenches through the rock for Natural Gas, Electricity, and Water. I had hoped that the utilities could be brought in from the southwest corner of my house, but the plumber came out and looked and said the gas line there would not be big enough to supply the furnace for the greenhouse. So, we are trying to work out now what the best strategy is to get gas supply to the greenhouse. I might have to move the gas meter out to the street, and then tap off the line running from the street to the house.

Anyway, I am pleased that progress is being made.


  1. And one of your fans thought that you should be able to the project yourself.
    Goes to show that it isn't as simple as putting up a little tin shed that they sell at Sears.

    That safe muist be a pretty good load for the wagon. A 3 horse team to pull it?

  2. PJM: How far down do you have to dig before you hit solid rock? Those are some substantial holes to be digging in rock.

  3. Thanks for the update. This is interesting to follow.

    Maybe you could consider raised beds.

  4. I'm still amazed that you have to truck in caliche. Having been familiar with the Texas Hill Country and now with AZ/NM on the other side of you, I would have assumed you were sitting on top of solid caliche.

  5. I'm with Mathan. Also, the WHY of the caliche pad escapes me.

    Live and learn.

    This is a BIG undertaking. We shall all await the Christening.

    I can just visualize the peacocks vs the truck.

  6. Reason for trucing in caliche:

    I am more on a rock, and caliche is sort of a fine powder. Also, if they dug it up here, you are left with a big hole, or an ugly scraped out place.

    The reason you have to have a caliche pad is that the ground is sloped and you have to build on a completely flat platform. Also, you need to be a little above ground level, so water will flow away from the structure.

  7. They also help the cement slab float some. Just in case the ground wants to shift it will absorb it rather then the coment slab cracking.