Mud

Today we poured the beam, which is the wall of the foundation that sits on top of the footing, providing the height for the crawl space. There is something great about calling Rocky Mountain Premix and ordering out 4 cubic yards of 3000 psi foundation mix, with a 5 inch slump. Shannon who runs dispatch over at Rocky Mountain got me squared away, and an hour or two after our code inspector passed our forms, concrete was flowing into them.

As an engaged student of construction and history, the poetic side took hold and as I watched Kurt and Ed guide the mud into the forms, I realized that today I was responsible for making something that would long outlast me, or probably any of my progeny. In fact, I bet our pour today will be around for hundreds and hundreds of years. I have visited Rome and wandered through the ruins of the Capitoline Hill and the Forum, and I have seen the vaults of the Basilica of Maxentius first hand, all created using the early generations of concrete. Concrete technology was lost for a long, long time after the Roman Empire faded away. Only during the 18th century did concrete flow once again.

The Romans used a different mix than the Portland blend we used tonight, invented a mere 188 years ago by an Englishman. Roman concrete was not reinforced with steel either, which is also a relatively recent innovation by a Parisian gardener who was trying to make stronger pots for his plants. He took some wire and put it into his forms. Simple. His desire to create a better planter resulted in unlocking a revolution in building technology, and allows my house to stand up the way it does. The delicate care of a gardener in Paris and the ingenuity of the Romans, drying in the forms tonight.

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