Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tired of mud. Concrete. Love concrete

 When I purchased this property it had basically  nothing on it; no water lines, no fences.  No buildings.  No corral.  No gravel.  And I've been walking up and down this driveway every day for those 6 years, and, well, I'm tired of mud.  Really Really tired of mud.  So I finally bit the bullet and decided to pave the driveway.  It's a little more complicated than it might be, as I have to keep the driveway usable, so I'll pave half of it at a time, and use the other half while the concrete cures. 

Cow feeding station

 I'm also building in a feeding area for the cows, with a water faucet and a drain and a feeder panel.   Cattle feeder panels allow the cow to stick its head through to eat, and helps the cows stop fighting each other over the hay, and because they can't lay in or trample the hay, it means more hay goes into the cow and less into the dirt.   It's big enough for a round bale to be put in, or several small squares, or a feeding trough, depending on what is on the cows menu, and on the left side there's a concrete platform for a water trough.  My goal here is that the cows will be standing on a solid platform that is easy to clean when they're eating.  The area around troughs usually gets really muddy. 

 Since I'm getting all formal, I made a formal water shutoff valve for the front of my property.  This involved digging up the water line, installing a shutoff valve, and then making a riser to bring the shutoff valve up close to the surface.  It's completed by a concrete meter riser (that box you see in the center of the picture above, that's vehicle-rated.  I put this box in the driveway so that it's easy to find.  Even though it's vehicle rated I'm a little skeptical that it will hold up, but I guess I'll see. 

The driveway itself has a layer of 2" rock, compacted, and then a layer of 5/8" minus (crushed rock), compacted, and then 4 gauge welded wire mesh held up by dobes (I don't know how to spell it, it's pronounced as in "adobe"), which are small concrete blocks with wires sticking out of them.  The purpose of this is to hold the mesh up off the bottom of the pour so that it gets more centered in the slab.

This is the main driveway for the farm, and we have heavy trucks and equipment moving up and down it every day; so the driveway itself is 6" thick, and I'll order the concrete with fibre reinforcement as well.  With the mesh and the prep and the fibre, this will be a very stable surface. 

Eventually we'll go 20' wide by 200' long.  It's a bigger area than I need strictly as a driveway.  It'll be used to stack and store hay on, repair equipment, and everything else that requires a stable, level surface.  It will also provide a staging area in the event that the island floods in the future, too.  I'll need to get trailers in and out quickly if that happens, and having the driveway paved will make that easier. 

1 comment:

Mike said...

You are going to be a concrete master after all of this is done. Some serious capital investments this spring. I enjoy reading about your concrete work on the farm. Very helpful information. I am wondering though, is the cost of concrete vs the cost of asphalt the same? If so, why go with concrete? Is there a benefit of concrete over an asphalt driveway? I am seeing concrete on the highways increasing in use so there must be some sort of reason behind it.