Thursday, April 24, 2008

Useless Bay Tennis Academy

The work on the new "Useless Bay Tennis Academy" is now well underway, although it started out with some technical difficulties. The plan was for me to clear off the huge blackberry bushes with the backhoe. The bushes completely covered the area. In some places the blackberries were eight or nine feet deep! That went fine last week, and my backhoe operator skills are definitely improving.

Last Saturday morning My friend Wayne, owner of all these fun dirt moving toys, and I were going to start the excavating, using the Drott excavator. Wayne climbed in, turned the key, and was met with total silence. When the excavator was delivered to the site, the key had been left on, and the battery was dead. I strung a cord out to the excavator from the house, and we put it on the charger. So much for getting an early start!

We let the battery charge until mid-afternoon, so it would have a good charge, and so we could get some other projects done. Come late afternoon, we made attempt number two to get underway. Still no luck, as the key switch wasn't making contact, and it wouldn't energize the starter. We pulled the instrument panel and jumped across the terminals, and it fired right up. By now, we only had a few hours of daylight left, but we got a start on the digging before it got dark.

I had been planning to shoot in a bowling pin match on Sunday, but since Sunday was the only day we had access to the backhoe and excavator, I scrubbed the pin shooting in favor of the excavating.

The pictures pretty much tell the story as the work progressed. The final dimensions of the "Floor" will be roughly 33 feet by 70 feet. The berms will all be 8 feet high. Counting the cut below the elevation at the base of the berm, that will give me nearly 16 feet of backstop berm. The side berms plus the cut depth will taper from the 16 foot height at the backstop end to 8 feet high at the bottom end. The berm on the end opposite from the backstop will also be 8 feet high.

Last week, the blackberries cleared off, and waiting to start digging.

The first buckets of dirt.

The hole is starting to grow, and the backstop berm is started.

Much of the backstop berm is in place, and the right side berm is growing.

Backstop and side berms almost to size. The floor still needs to go down a couple of feet.

Now for some backhoe work. That's a 4wd Case 580, although it's painted up like a John Deere.

Here's how far we got by the time it was getting dark on Sunday night.

We still need to get a little more dirt on the berms, but we're pretty close to height in most places. We shot the elevations with a laser gizmo, and we're within 6" of grade just about everywhere.

Plans are to hydro-seed the berms in the next couple of days to get grass growing to stabilize the dirt.

As I get it closer to finished, I'll post some more pictures.

Some time in July or August one the weather gets warmer, plans are for a BBQ and "Patio Party". Too bad it's such a long ways from here to Texas, It'd be great to have US Citizen run the BBQ and show us what REAL BBQ is all about!


At Thursday, April 24, 2008 5:43:00 PM, Blogger be603 said...

What came of the court hassles with your neighbor?


At Sunday, April 27, 2008 6:33:00 AM, Blogger Ride Fast said...

You sure made a lot of progress in a short time. Imagine digging it out by hand? Youwsa!


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