Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hump day: Concrete and character

Here's the Day of the Pour. This is without much doubt going to prove to have been our biggest hump-day of all. All the rest of our barn work can be broken into bite-sized chunks, if not one board at one time, or at least less than ten at a time.

But a monolithic slab is just that, one ruddy great big piece of artificial rock.

All our troops pitched in with gusto, and I had to issue surprisingly few of my distinctive ex-NCO's reminders that standing around resting on a rake while others were raking was perhaps not the most productive use of one's time.

By the end of the morning, we had become experienced concrete crew, and when the third truckload showed, all the professor really had to do was watch the crew.

Then it became a matter of weather watching.

It was supposed to be a 30% chance of rain. Light rain is helpful if it arrives right at the moment of bull-floating, unhelpful if it gets heavy enough to wash cement away from sand in the slump and cause weakness, or if it spatters the surface and spoils the finish. By 5 pm we'd had three minor showers and the surface was a little spattered, but enough only to break up the smoothness a little and make for better friction underfoot. This will be a detriment for future mucking-out of the barn, but a distinct safety feature otherwise, so I was not unhappy with the effect.

By 5.30 pm when last I checked, the slab had begun to cure and was already proof against written notes and paw-prints. By Monday we'll be able to hold a dance.

I was overall very pleased. The crew worked well and in good heart, the job got done, and I went home for my weekend feeling like I was "over the hump."






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