The View Appears!
Nice! Now that a lot of scrub has been cleared you can finally see the view that I was anntipating (despite the rainy weather).
Opps!... The First Delay
We have been delayed for several days now. The excavator keeps throwing its track off. They have tried jerry-rigging it but the fix doesn't last for long. The part needed has been ordered from Puerto Rico and should arrive soon. So progress has been slow. It will be repaired soon, so for now I will sit back and enjoy the view.
Dirt... and lots of it!
The excavator is fixed and we're back to clearing and digging. The bottom photo is a big mound of rich top soil.... a perfect ingredient for a lush garden.
The Guys Hard at Work
The first photo is Harley with Tommy Bertolino our long time friend, formerly an owner of St. John Hardware, and home builder on St. John for most of his adult life. (Special Happy Birthday goes out to Tommy, celebrating his big "60" here on the 20th of July.) And our good friend Ted Miazga, laying out the initial dig with our excavator, Jose. Ted was our neighbor back in the Virgin Grand Estates, where we previously built a home. Ted is the resident "expert" for the dig, as he previously use to build roads and bridges for the State of Connecticut. He knows grades and elevations like the back of his hand. We are grateful to have his participation in the build, as he is always looking ahead, and coming up with solutions to problems we didn't even know we had at this point. Between him and Tommy, we are very appreciative of their knowledge and contributions. In the bottom right photo, to the right of Harley and Tommy Bertolino is Mike Dickenson, long time St John resident and our "concrete guy". He is renown for his expertise in "polished concrete floors", which we will do again on this build.
Major excavation complete!
After about two weeks of site work, we were able to receive our building materials, "just in time". Long story short, we were able to get the barge from Puerto Rico to drop our materials in St. John, not St. Thomas as originally planned, since barges running from St. Thomas to St. John haven't been able to transport heavy trucks to St. John in the last few weeks to deliver them to St. John. In the infamous words of actor George Peppard of the TV action series, "The A-Team", "I love it when a plan comes together". Despite some of the initial setbacks, the "Building Gods" have been good to us, and everything seems to have worked out for the best.
Since our last post, we were able to get our waste water treatment system installed (thanks to Brent Lynn of Backed Up), and our temporary electrical service installed and lines run up to the main house for construction power (thanks to our friend Ted Miazga, who was also a major help on the excavation elevations).
We also had our "first visitors" to the site. Bernd, Mindy and their son Tristan Michtner. Bernd was our finish carpenter on our previous home and his wife, Captain Mindy, who both own and operate Big Blue Excursions here on St. John, along with their son, who is an inspiring designer.
Now, we are ready to start forming up, getting footings, knee walls and slabs ready to pour. Apparently that is the next challenge, with no concrete being able to be transported from St. Thomas because of the on going barge issues. As in Herman Wouk's famous book titled "Don't stop the Carnival!", we will get there some day!