Digging a hole in frozen ground

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marad...@unlisted.com

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Dec 3, 2006, 3:33:55 AM12/3/06
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I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
job anyhow.

Anyhow, I know the public utilities have a means to build a coal fire
on the top of the ground when they need to dig up something in the
street. I dont have access to coal, nor would I want to burn it
indoors because of the odor. But I can get regular charcoal. My
question is this: What is the best method to burn the charcoal to melt
the ground? Do i just burn it right on top of the soil, or should I
put some sort of metal container around it, or what? I mean in order
to deflect the heat downward, not as a safety measure. I am not
worried about causing a fire, when the nearest flammable (wall) is at
least 9 feet away, and I am not planning to make a huge fire, just the
amound needed to grill some burgers on the grill.

One other thing, would it be best to start the fire right on the
ground, or to start it in a grill first????

Yes, I know3 about ventillation to prevent CO2 poisoning. I'll leave
a door or window ajar, plus the barn has plenty of small leaks by each
rib in the steel along the roof edge. I will gradually plug those
with foam after the stalls are done.

PS. I recall the city used to place a half of a steel barrel drum over
the coal. I wonder if that helps thaw the ground, or is only to
prevent sparks from flying. I know regular coal tends to spark more
than charcoal.

Mark

DIMwit

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Dec 3, 2006, 7:03:53 AM12/3/06
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<marad...@UNLISTED.com> wrote in message
news:u725n29a6ua03f260...@4ax.com...

why can't you just pour boiling water on the ground so soften it up? It's
easier to heat up a big pot of water on a barbeque outside the barn, and the
water will work quickly working its way down, I think.

Bob


Nick Hull

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Dec 3, 2006, 7:32:17 AM12/3/06
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In article <u725n29a6ua03f260...@4ax.com>,
marad...@UNLISTED.com wrote:

I would recommend a bottomless steel barrel. I often use that for
cooking ground wasp nests, but the ground doesn't freeze here.

For charcoal something the size of a #10 can should work, you want a
long slow fire because it takes time for heat to go down.

--
Free men own guns - www.geocities/CapitolHill/5357/ (add .com after geocities)

marson

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Dec 3, 2006, 9:27:33 AM12/3/06
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>before you spend too much time and effort, why don't you grab a pick and see how hard it is to break through. once you break through in one spot, it gets easier to break the frozen soil off in chunks.

another trick i've seen is dumping a bag of rock salt on the spot you
want to dig for a day or two

Steve Barker LT

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Dec 3, 2006, 10:05:10 AM12/3/06
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A bucket of hot water will go a long ways. the ground couldn't be frozen
very deep.

--
Steve Barker


<marad...@UNLISTED.com> wrote in message
news:u725n29a6ua03f260...@4ax.com...

Harry K

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Dec 3, 2006, 11:17:52 AM12/3/06
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Thawing before digging looks like making a mountain out of a molehill
considering the time of year. If you are in the lower 48 it is
unlikely the frost will have penetrate very deep yet. A heavy breaking
bar and a few minutes work with it or a pickax should take you through
what frozen soil there is.

Harry K

terry

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Dec 3, 2006, 11:20:17 AM12/3/06
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Steve Barker LT wrote:
> A bucket of hot water will go a long ways. the ground couldn't be frozen
> very deep.
>
> --
> Steve Barker
.
What about a regular cold water hose?

Chris Hill

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Dec 3, 2006, 11:43:01 AM12/3/06
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 02:33:55 -0600, marad...@UNLISTED.com wrote:

>I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
>over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
>The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
>frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
>penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
>job anyhow.
>
>Anyhow, I know the public utilities have a means to build a coal fire
>on the top of the ground when they need to dig up something in the
>street. I dont have access to coal, nor would I want to burn it
>indoors because of the odor. But I can get regular charcoal. My
>question is this: What is the best method to burn the charcoal to melt
>the ground? Do i just burn it right on top of the soil, or should I
>put some sort of metal container around it, or what? I mean in order
>to deflect the heat downward, not as a safety measure. I am not
>worried about causing a fire, when the nearest flammable (wall) is at
>least 9 feet away, and I am not planning to make a huge fire, just the
>amound needed to grill some burgers on the grill.

Seems like the long way around. When we had a pipe frozen next to our
foundation, the plumber just beat at the ground with a heavy bar to
break it up.

AZ Nomad

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Dec 3, 2006, 12:41:58 PM12/3/06
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On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 07:03:53 -0500, DIMwit <zi...@ignacious.com> wrote:
>why can't you just pour boiling water on the ground so soften it up? It's
>easier to heat up a big pot of water on a barbeque outside the barn, and the
>water will work quickly working its way down, I think.

No problem, but it gets expensive heating 100 gallons of boiling water at
a time and nothing less will have any effect.

wayne

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Dec 3, 2006, 1:11:38 PM12/3/06
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Just attach a garden hose to the drain on your water heater.it is
probably due to be flushed anyways and use that. Do you have a post
hole digger or auger?


If you want to do it the easiest way rent a 1 MAN not 2 post hole
digger with the hot water it will be a snap and worth the cost

her is a pic I have rented them a few times and they work really well!

http://www.clarkstownrentals.com/products/1man_augerfull.jpg

Steve Barker LT

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Dec 3, 2006, 1:39:19 PM12/3/06
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Better than blowing on it with a drinking straw. Would carrying a 5 gallon
bucket of hot water out there be all that big a deal???

--
Steve Barker

"terry" <tsan...@nf.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
news:1165162817....@j44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

DIMwit

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Dec 3, 2006, 3:31:59 PM12/3/06
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"AZ Nomad" <azno...@PremoveOBthisOX.COM> wrote in message
news:slrnen6336.q...@ip70-176-155-130.ph.ph.cox.net...

Why so you think you would need 100 gallons? I think about 5 gallons of hot
water for each hole would be enough. Like other posters have said, how deep
could the soil possibly be frozen this early in the Winter? Do you live in
Alaska? If you do, I guess it would be real deep :-)

Bob


Norminn

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Dec 3, 2006, 3:40:16 PM12/3/06
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Is this the antarctic? Aside from being expensive, 100 gal. would be a
load to carry. I think we've been had.

mm

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Dec 3, 2006, 3:46:20 PM12/3/06
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 02:33:55 -0600, marad...@UNLISTED.com wrote:

>I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
>over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.

What is a "heavy freeze"? How cold has it been and for how long? How
cold was it in the barn?

Pending an answer, I agree with Hary and Chris. If not a pick, a GM
tire iron/jack handle, the ones with a lug wrench on one end and a
point on the other. Or a big screwdriver and a hammer. Once you get
part way in it will be easier.

>The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
>frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
>penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
>job anyhow.
>
>Anyhow, I know the public utilities have a means to build a coal fire
>on the top of the ground when they need to dig up something in the
>street. I dont have access to coal, nor would I want to burn it

You don't? I'm sure there is someone near who sells coal and will
sell you as small or large a quantity as you want. It's not as dirty
as it looks btw. In fact the pieces I have, from loose coal that fell
off a truck in Pennsylvania coal area, isn't dirty in the slightest.
It's solid black, but nothing comes off when I touch it.

>indoors because of the odor. But I can get regular charcoal. My

I don't think the odor is that strong. I can't think of the odor of
burning coal. But isn't your barn easy to air out?

These last two paragrpahs of mine are not meant to imply that you
actually have to have a fire.


The boiling or hot water idea sounds good, unless you get a phone
call, or people drop by, or you get tired, and the water cools off and
turns into ice. If it is that cold, then you'll be worse off. If it
is not that cold, I don't think you need hot water. Any water will
do.

>question is this: What is the best method to burn the charcoal to melt
>the ground? Do i just burn it right on top of the soil, or should I
>put some sort of metal container around it, or what? I mean in order
>to deflect the heat downward, not as a safety measure. I am not

It helps the fire burn. They sell such things for starting charcoal
fires in a grill. In fact the instructions on the bag, last I looked,
said to pile the charcoal up until it is burning all over, and then
spread it out. The cylinder enables one to do an even better job of
piling it up. Not sure how big it should be , but I think one could
make one from a large coffee can, as coffee is still sold in. Or a
piece of heating duct, or one of the decorative cannisters sold for
sugar, flour, and a couple other things. A thrift store might have an
old set, or better yet, just the size one wants. I think one has to
put holes in the size.

Malcolm Hoar

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Dec 3, 2006, 3:57:06 PM12/3/06
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In article <T2zch.274$Bs....@newsfe11.lga>, "DIMwit" <zi...@ignacious.com> wrote:

>> Yes, I know3 about ventillation to prevent CO2 poisoning. I'll leave
>> a door or window ajar, plus the barn has plenty of small leaks by each
>> rib in the steel along the roof edge. I will gradually plug those
>> with foam after the stalls are done.

CO2 is relatively harmless. It's the CO that you have to
worry about, a lot. Burning charcoal indoors is favorite
way to commit suicide in some countries. Very low concentrations
of CO can be lethal so be careful!

>> PS. I recall the city used to place a half of a steel barrel drum over
>> the coal. I wonder if that helps thaw the ground, or is only to
>> prevent sparks from flying. I know regular coal tends to spark more
>> than charcoal.
>

>why can't you just pour boiling water on the ground so soften it up? It's
>easier to heat up a big pot of water on a barbeque outside the barn, and the
>water will work quickly working its way down, I think.

The trouble with boiling water is... if the conditions are
sufficiently cold, the boiling water can soon turn to ice
thereby making matters considerably worse.

Don't use water usless you're sure it isn't going to end
up frozen before you've finished the job.

I've never had to deal with excavating frozen ground but
I'd probably try an electric radiant heater. If you have
(or can borrow) one it would be relatively easy and safe
to try that technique. If it doesn't work you still have
the option of trying something a little more aggressive,
and dangerous.

--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
| ma...@malch.com Gary Player. |
| http://www.malch.com/ Shpx gur PQN. |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Redelfs

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Dec 3, 2006, 6:26:01 PM12/3/06
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In article <u725n29a6ua03f260...@4ax.com>,
marad...@UNLISTED.com wrote:

> I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
> over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
> The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
> frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
> penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
> job anyhow.

Forget all the hoses, charcoal, hot water, tactical nukes, yadda, yadda...

Get a medium-sized cardboard box or wash tub. Place a 40-60-watt light bulb
on the spot to be defrosted and cover it with the box/tub for a day or two.
The frost, however deep, will be gone. Nuttin' to it.

As for frost in "the lower 48" - we have it here for sure. I live (and dig)
in Nebraska where the frost is often deeper than 2-1/2 feet. "Running" a
frost bar is WAAAAY too much work. Good luck!
--
:)
JR

Climb poles and dig holes
Have staplegun, will travel

AZ Nomad

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Dec 3, 2006, 8:56:51 PM12/3/06
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5 gallons won't even soften the top half inch.

aeme...@att.net

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Dec 3, 2006, 9:43:20 PM12/3/06
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"AZ Nomad" <azno...@PremoveOBthisOX.COM> wrote in message
news:slrnen7033.2...@ip70-176-155-130.ph.ph.cox.net...
Got any of the sheet tin left, or something similarly heat proof? Prop up 4
walls and a lid, (like a deer blind or fishing shanty) and run the output
from a construction heater into that confined space. Local rentall place
probably has them. The rental and the fuel cost will be unpleasant, but you
probably only need it for a day or two.

aem sends...


Goedjn

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Dec 4, 2006, 11:25:17 AM12/4/06
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On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 07:03:53 -0500, "DIMwit" <zi...@ignacious.com>
wrote:

>

Just buy a pickaxe.

Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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Dec 4, 2006, 11:51:04 AM12/4/06
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Goedjn wrote:
> On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 07:03:53 -0500, "DIMwit" <zi...@ignacious.com>
> wrote:
>>> I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
>>> over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
>>> The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
>>> frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
>>> penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
>>> job anyhow.
>>
>> why can't you just pour boiling water on the ground so soften it up? It's
>> easier to heat up a big pot of water on a barbeque outside the barn, and the
>> water will work quickly working its way down, I think.
>
> Just buy a pickaxe.

Or do it the lazy man's way: go rent an auger for a couple of hours.

--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com


Doghouse

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Dec 4, 2006, 2:03:45 PM12/4/06
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marad...@UNLISTED.com wrote:
> I got my new barn all closed in just before our heavy freeze took
> over. But I still need to put 3 posts in the ground INSIDE the barn.
> The soil in there is fairly dry on the top so I am hoping its not
> frozen too solid or deep yet. But I did find the shovel was hard to
> penetrate it yesterday. It was really too cold to proceed with the
> job anyhow.
>
I loved to dig as a boy in Vermont, but I gave up in frost. It's an
interesting problem. The best solution may depend on the type of soil,
its temperature, and how much ice it contains. In Korea, soldiers
sometimes used explosives, sometimes fires, and sometimes an assortment
of hand tools.

Thawing will stop when the surrounding ground draws heat away as fast as
you apply it. I think very cold ground and ashes might even stop
thawing from a fire.

Others have recommended light bulbs. That sounds simple and pretty
safe. Most of the heat from a bulb is radiant, so lining the box with
aluminum foil would reflect more heat to the soil. I'd use several
hundred-watt bulbs with porcelain sockets and wire with high-temperature
insulation. A little ventilation may be necessary to keep the
electrical stuff from overheating.

A professional solution is a trailer-mounted boiler with hoses to
circulate water between the boiler and the hole. One could use a stove,
two pots of water, and a big syringe or pump to draw water from the hole
for reheating. An infrared thermometer would make it easy to monitor
the temperature of the water in the hole.

Goedjn

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Dec 4, 2006, 3:31:52 PM12/4/06
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If you're going to rent equipment, just use a drilling rig.
or a ditch-witch. There's no point in using finesse
when raw power will do.

But still, we're talking three postholes/footings,
not the Comstock.

Not@home

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Dec 4, 2006, 4:14:58 PM12/4/06
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Around here people dig holes through the ice with an augur for fishing.
Those who don't have an augur use a hatchet. Before playing with
fire, I'd just buy or rent an augur.

IBM5081

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Dec 4, 2006, 4:59:09 PM12/4/06
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Option 1. Electric jackhammer rental. It works on concrete. Should work
on frozen dirt.

Option 2. Pickaxe and power posthole auger.

Option 3. Rock bar, San Angelo bar, etc. 72" long, 1" diameter steel.
chisel or pointed end.
I drive them with a 50# T-post driver made from drill stem.

Option 4. Steam cleaner (watch out for the hot mud)

Option 5. Tractor with auger driven from a 3-point frame on the back

Norminn

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Dec 4, 2006, 8:14:04 PM12/4/06
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When I was in Girl Scouts, we used to do pothole cooking. Dig hole,
build wood fire, wait till it had good hot coals. Then we put in
packages of food wrapped in foil, covered that with wet leaves and then
dirt. Kept it buried a coupld of hours and then feasted.

You could do something similar with charcoal, it seems. Get some good
hot coals going, cover with wet leaves or straw, wait a couple of hours.
Doesn't seem the ground can be frozen very far down yet, and this
method would keep most of the heat on the hole.

Doghouse

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Dec 5, 2006, 8:19:16 AM12/5/06
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The boiler trailer shows that the principle works for big excavations.
For postholes I already have a stove, two pots, and a big syringe.

Uplatestampin

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Jan 11, 2022, 2:01:39 AMJan 11
to
I’m curious about how to cook a ground wasp nest

--
For full context, visit https://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/digging-a-hole-in-frozen-ground-171777-.htm

Bob F

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Jan 13, 2022, 2:07:45 PMJan 13
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On 1/10/2022 11:01 PM, Uplatestampin wrote:
> I’m curious about how to cook a ground wasp nest
>

https://thedailypest.vikingpest.com/what-happens-to-bees-and-wasps-in-winter
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