02 November, 2012

Dancing In The Streets

You'll see the connection between a fence post and dancing in the streets in a minute. But first, this important message.

All we need is music, sweet music,
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swingin' swayin', and records playin',
Dancin' in the street
- Single by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - 1964
Also recorded as a single by Van Halen - 1982
and as a single by David Bowie and Mick Jagger - 1985

Elsie's gate post had broken, rusted through, somehow. In the photo below, it looks just fine but, every time we opened the gate, it wobbled severely and was getting worse. I was afraid the gate would just lay down and then where would we be?
The Gate Post In Question - Before Repair
Cody, who was just recovering from a bout with the flu, came to work yesterday and I immediately put him to work repairing the post (I'm such a slave driver). I worked with him and later on, Cody even brought his brother Anthony in to help mix the concrete.

The length of pipe below is the piece of fence post that was buried in concrete. We had to dig the concrete out as much as we could, then we attacked the concrete blob with a 6' breaker bar and eventually with a two-and-a-half pound sledge and cold chisels. What a chore.
Part of the Old Broken Pipe
Eventually, we were able to bust out the piece of pipe and left the majority of the concrete ball in place. The new 8' length of pipe fit right into the groove left by the old pipe, so that was a real help, both in saving of concrete needed and in allowing us to reassemble the fence and gate without damaging the newly poured concrete.

Here you can see the new fence post in place and ready to have the fittings attached.
New Post In Position
This view of the hole shows the the lump of old concrete with the new pole in place. It was really awkward and exhausting trying to break out the concrete in that hole.
Ready for Some Concrete
We managed to save some money by borrowing about three five-gallon buckets full of gravel from Mae and Craig's construction project across the street. Here, you can see Cody wheeling the barrow over there to pick all that up. Cindy, as usual, is right on the job, guarding the gate against trespassers.
Cody Going to Get Gravel
We needed sand and we were going to borrow some of that also from Mae and Craig, but it turned out that we still had plenty of sand left, so we used that.

Elsie, it'll be easy to repay Craig for the gravel. Just buy him a six-pack of Belikin Stout. That's his favorite. I'm pretty sure that would square things up for that.
Loading Up Last of the Sand
While Cody was loading up gravel and sand, I took the opportunity to scope out some of our orchids growing in the front among the banana trees. Quite a few of them are blooming and look really nice.
Some of Our Orchids
So, here we come to the 'dancing in the street' bit. This actually is quite nostalgic for us. Cody figured it would b easier all around to mix the concrete close to where we were working and still also get a hose for water to it. So, here's Anthony Williams (Cody's brother) spraying the water and Cody doing the mixing.
Anthony and Cody Dancin' In The Street

For some reason, the song 'Dancin' in the Streets' just came to mind while I was shooting them working the mix.

The last time anyone mixed concrete in the road was about four-and-a-half years ago, when Canadian Bob was mixing up a batch for our power pole - which was the first thing constructed on our lot. As you might figure, I have a shot of that too.
Canadian Bob Mixing Concrete - 2007
The road was just a little quieter back then. You could pretty much count on being able to do whatever you wanted in the road with little or no interruption. Not the case now. We spent the whole time working the mix, keeping an eye peeled for dump trucks and the myriad of other vehicles that populate our road every day. Hey, it's dangerous out there.

We finally got the mix mixed and dumped into the hole. Here's the end result.
Concrete Has Just Been Poured
Of course, the whole time we were working, we had adequate supervision. Cindy and Deeohgee stayed right there making sure we did things correctly.
Our Supervisors
We let the mix sit for about an hour-and-a-half after we poured it. By then, it had set enough for us to reattach all the hardware and the gate. That presented its own problems. Reattaching the chain link without a chain link fence stretcher (reminds me of a bulkhead stretcher from the Navy) was tough. First we used the 6' breaker bar to help draw the fabric closer to the hardware. Then we hit on the idea of using heavy nylon strapping and twisting it to draw the fabric in. That worked like a charm.

A final tightening of all the fittings and hardware and the job was done. The gate now works better than it has for a long time. Time for a beer. Now we can really go dancin' in the streets
Just Finished


JRinSC said...

I love the 60's version best!!

Nice job... wish Coby had let you help more!!



Vivien said...

I am going to get Denis and Miguel to start mixing concrete on the road when we arrive. This time it will be to construct a series of speed bumps to slow down all that traffic that is going past there, like they are on a freeway.

Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

I think Martha and the Vandellas version is the best too. Every time I heard it I was always trying to imagine the inner city neighborhood they lived in where you could dance in the streets on a whim.
I'm glad you liked the post.
Re: Cody - I don't! That was damn hard work. I ended up filthy and covered with dust because I was sweaty. The exertion felt good, but that's enough.


Hi Vivien,

What a great idea. Maybe we really need to approach the town and village councils to see what is required for them to put in the speed bumps - several.
Especially when it's newly graded, like now. Dusty!