Garden Arbor Construction, Part 2

While we had our materials, Liz and I still had to work through the steps and sequence of how to actually go about digging these holes. We spent a good while sipping on coffee, talking through things before actually venturing outside to work.

The power augur, ready to work.

Four holes in. I have to say – at this point in time, I was super exhausted. I thought the augur would make this work easy, but it ended up being really quite difficult.

I had a hard time getting the augur to dig into the soil. And when it did, it would frequently bind up on me. And this binding resulted in the top jerking quickly towards me, and oftentimes the handle would bang pretty hard into my knee.

I knew you had to lift up the augur periodically, to get the soil to clear out of the hole. But the repeated up/down motion really wore me down.

Also – the throttle on the augur was insanely sensitive. You had to turn the handle (think motorcycle) towards you to get the drill bit to spin. But it would go from 0 to 100 in a second.

On top of that, whenever the augur would bind… the jerking direction would pull the machine away from my right hand, causing me to rev it more, causing it to spin harder into my knee. Not a great dance.

After me being stubborn about trying to dig everything solo, Liz’s help made all the difference. She helped lift up the augur with me, and the two of us got into a pretty decent rhythm.

Liz, clearing out some roots and rocks. We learned that whenever the augur would bind and jerk, that was our cue to stop it and remove whatever obstruction was down there with a post hole digger.

This was a lesson I didn’t quite learn when I was going solo – I’d hit a snag, and just keep trying to power through. When what I should have done was stop and clear.

The four holes here were dug, but were not deep enough. I was worried about losing steam and not being able to dig everything… so at a minimum I wanted the holes started. And as a worst case scenario, could finish the rest using a post hole digger if we had to.

After lunch, we got some much needed food in our system and ventured out back again. Since we rented the power augur, we figured we’d also dig three holes in back for a series of posts we’re using for Espaliers.

I have to tell you – we powered through all three of these in like 10 minutes. It was like butter. The holes in the yard should have been this quick. It was stunning how fast the process was.

Back to the post holes for the arbor: we did another pass with the power augur, this time going a bit deeper.

We marked up a garden stake to help us see our required depth, and were able to get everything dug without the use of the extender.

After this – we had a trek back out to both Menards and Home Depot, to do some purchases and returns. And then came home to clear up the soil that we dug up. And then were finally done. Another long day, that went a lot longer than we thought it would.

Fun side note: it started to rain on us in the morning, so we had to take a slight break until it cleared. But almost every other time we stepped outside, right before we got to work… we’d feel a trickle or two of rain.

Even after we got home from returning the augur and our errands. As we were doing our cleanup work: more rain.

We seem to really have a knack for crazy weather during complex backyard projects. Go figure.

Garden Arbor Construction, Part 1

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