The sod did arrive on Monday albeit at the very end of the day, he rolled in close to 5PM. As I was standing in the yard at the spot I wanted the first pallet dropped at I noticed the driver was having some issues with the loader that is attached to the back of the truck. He started to lower it but then the engine on the loader died. He kept starting it only to have it die a few seconds later. After watching the scenario play out I walked over and asked what was up. He said the loader is out of gas. The issue is the loader was now partially undocked from the truck so the truck can’t be moved. I was a bit in disbelief that the guy wouldn’t check the fuel level on the loader before coming. I didn’t see any other options so I told him I would run to the gas station and buy 5 gallons of diesel fuel.
I returned with the fuel which he dumped in the huge tank. The loader fired right up and we were in business. I was getting four skids in total. I wanted to put two by the mound in the front and two in the back on the side of the house near the pool equipment. I had some concerns about the loader with a pallet of grass doing a number on the yard but it actually left very minimal imprints. I acted like a human flag, directing and then standing where I wanted the pallets placed. My goal was to keep them as close as possible to where the sod was going to be placed. Despite the gas fck up and later than promised arrival I still gave the guy a tip which he seemed surprised by. I appreciate people that do labor for a living, an appreciation deepened by experiences like what followed.
So despite it being around 5:30 I wanted to get started spreading sod. I had already made arrangements to take Tuesday off as well so I could complete the work. So the pallets were at the base of the house mound, the bare dirt areas were mostly on the top of the mound. I brought the wheelbarrow out front thinking a solid plan would be to load sod in there and cart it to the spot I was laying it to save back and forth trips. This plan failed miserably.
I have once placed a full pallet of sod however it was thick floritam grass which holds together well when cut into squares. Bahia is the opposite. Bahia is what we used last year for the ground leveling project, it is a native grass which is ideal because during dry season it goes dormant, unlike floritam which will completely die and turn to dust if you are not watering it all the time. However bahia when you get it looks like shit, like a big pile of mostly dead weedy grass. However the real problem is the squares fall apart. I mean really fall apart. I bet on each pallet at least half of the pieces were disintegrated.
So anyway, with my wheelbarrow plan I would pick up the pieces of sod that were falling apart and plop them in there. I them pushed the heavy cart up the incline and then tried to pull the pieces out a second time, making them fall apart even worse. At times I was pulling out small clumps of sod not much bigger than my hand. It was maddening. To top things off it was still humid as hell and the gnats were driving me insane. I f’d around out there until about 7:30, taking almost two hours just to do one pallet. I was miserable, knowing that I had that amount of work x 3 to get done on Tuesday.
I let my normal work alarm go off Tuesday. After cleaning and filling the chicken water and eating breakfast I was straight outside, somewhere around 7:30 AM. I took two advil up front, knowing what I was going to be subjecting my body to. I shit canned the wheelbarrow idea, just making endless back and forth trips holding shitty sod pieces that were falling apart. Despite dramatically increasing the amount of steps in the process it definitely took less time overall doing it this way. By the time I threw the last ratty, small piece of sod in place it was right around 11:30. My body felt awful and I had an armor made of a mixture of sweat and dirt. I was disgustingly dirty.
After a quick shower Cindy headed out with me in the truck. I had to return the four broken wooden pallets to get my $40 deposit back and I wanted to pick up a sod roller to press the bahia down as much as possible. The driver told me he was going to tell the office about my buying the fuel so they could reimburse me for that as well. When I mentioned the fuel purchase they knew nothing about it but gave me a $20 bill for the trouble without any fuss. The sod roller pick up went smoothly as well.
When we got back I filled the roller with water and got busy, despite there being a steady light rain coming down. The limited slip differential in the Husqvarna tractor came in handy in these conditions, able to pull the heavy roller back and forth over the wet sod without much issue at all. I zig zagged across the areas repeatedly, hoping to give the sod the best chance to take hold and fill these areas where now dead floritam used to occupy. I finished up and immediately took the roller back to Home Depot within four hours, meaning the rental only cost $15, one of the few reasonably priced parts of this project.
The rest of the day was spent recovering, it was the most grueling project I can recall in quite awhile. Probably the last time I had to bust it that hard was when I did the fencing around the chicken area. My lower body, back, and hands are all quite sore today. Of course as I was slogging through the pallets I thought how much better it was when I paid Miguel’s crew $25 per pallet to lay it down. Unfortunately I cut ties with him after he never finished the scope of work he was supposed to. However I made myself a promise that I would never spread another pallet of bahia grass myself. I will make sure whomever I get it from next time can lay it down as well.
WoW released a new patch yesterday meaning I have lots to keep my recreational plate full for awhile.