A week of sun

We had 10 days with no rain, and that gave me the brilliant idea to try to move the containers from the cul-de-sac where we dropped them off, out onto the property.  That we did.  A rental forklift got the boxes up off the ground, and with the help of my neighbor Gary, we managed to get the containers all the way to the main section of our property.  The trip of about 1 mile went smoothly, with a few twists and turns, and a couple of high lifts to get over poorly placed trees, we managed to move them near to their final destination.

Now, you’ll notice I said near, but not exactly to their final destination.  As we were moving the first container into place, we decided to skirt the mud bog that had been crated a few weeks earlier when Gary tried to clear a path to lay down some gravel for a drive way.  We did skirt it, but on two occasions we almost sank the forklift into the ground.

It’s hard to describe how strange a sight that is.  The ground felt totally solid, and even though I logically understand that there’s a huge difference between 250# and 5000#, it still doesn’t prepare you to watch your machinery just start to sink into the muck that looked completely solid a second before.

We ended up dropping the first container in a reasonable location, and decided to get the second before we really got the forklift stuck (it did actually sink in to the front axel, but the rear tires were on solid ground and were easily able to pull the machine back out).  The second container was even easier than the first, with no real issues getting it onto the main flat area where it currently rests.  The lift did start to sink a little right as we set the container down, but I didn’t think anything of it.

So we decided to move back to the first container, to attempt to move it into a better position so that it could again be picked up, and moved closer to its final (now future final) destination.  That’s when the previously solid ground really opened up. I’ve never seen anything sink so fast.  One second things were going fine, the next one tire started to sink, and a second after that, all 4 tires were in up to their axels.

After an hour of rocking the machine, lifting the front tires up with the lift boom (using the container for leverage), and throwing massive quantities of log/rock/debris under the tires, we finally managed to get the tractor free.  After no deliberation, we decided that lifting the containers any further would have to wait until the summer.

And that should have been the end of this story (at least for now), but it’s hard to leave well enough alone, especially when the ground seemed so solid in most places, and sure we had managed to get the lift stuck, but we un-stuck it as well.  So, somewhere along the way, I decided it would be a good idea to try to drag the containers rather than trying to lift them.  After all, it seemed like the lift was fine so long as it didn’t have an extra 5000# hanging off of the front end.

We attached a chain to the bottom of the container, and move the forklift into position. Nothing happened.  The forklift didn’t move, and the container didn’t either.  And then, in the blink of an eye, the wheel’s started to slip and immediately dug themselves down to their axels again…..

Yep, live and learn.  But the lesson is simple.  Don’t play around in northern california clay in the middle of winter.

So we did finally manage to get the forklift out again, after copious amounts of trees and rocks were poured int massive gashes in the ground.  And the containers are on our land proper now, so we don’t expect any complaints from anyone (the only person who can actually see them is Gary, and he likes containers).

Clearly, we have to wait until it _actually_ dries out now before we can attempt to move the containers any further, so in the intirim, I’m going to continue to refine the designs and plans for the container, and some time ~ April or even early May, I’ll get back out there to move the containers into their actual location, and we’ll start the finaly retrofit.

I also still plan on getting up there to do some cistern/rain catchment work, but that may well have to wait until mid March at this point given other projects that are begging for some attention as well.