Friday, May 28, 2010

Site Preparation

Tim Nelson leveling the site with his bulldozer.

We all had to be patient and wait for the road bans to go off so work could begin on the cages. Step one was to level the site to provide for adequate drainage, and that involved a bulldozer. Thankfully we had a dry spring so things were dry and the road bans went off several weeks earlier than usual.

Tim Nelson was the man with the machine. He was over at my place with his bulldozer and son to do the job just days after the ban went off. He ripped out lots of small trees that were in the way, put a crown on the future floor of the cages, and left everything just right so the water will flow away from the cages and down into a ditch when it rains. And talk about a great guy--Tim didn't charge a penny for his work!

Steve Hoskins digging the trench.

Next up was the trenching and electrical work. Steve Hoskins of Hoskins Electric was here the second the rain ended. He dug a trench from the cages to the garage so he could run an electrical cable and also trenched to the house so we could bury the cables for the remote cameras and microphone in some conduit. Although the owls themselves don't need the electricity, the security cameras do, as does Roger's cage building equipment!

Besides digging those trenches, Steve also trenched all around the periphery of the cages (mind you one cage is 12x36' and the other is 10x60'.) This trench is necessary so we can put wire mesh two feet down into the ground to prevent digging critters from getting into the owl cages. Thank goodness for Steve's trencher, as it would have taken forever to dig otherwise!!!

Not only was Steve great to get the job done ASAP, he donated all of the trenching work.

The fine folks from Tri-County Electric Cooperative digging the holes for the footings.

Next up was getting the holes dug for the footings. We had one person lined up, but he was having equipment issues. After trying a few other options I called Brian Krambeer, CEO of Tri-County Electric Cooperative. I knew if they had the equipment, they would do the job, as Tri-County installed an artificial Great Horned Owl nest in a tree for me several years ago. (Unfortunately I haven't gotten owls to nest there yet.)

Now THAT'S how to dig holes!!! A huge auger on a big truck and two guys who do this every day. They made short work of a job that would have taken forever and a day with a post hole digger. By the time Tri-County was on the scene I had realized that I had young screech-owls just about to fledge in a nest box in my yard, so I treated the guys to a peek at the two remaining owlets.