Saturday I spent the morning at the dog park. It was a volunteer project day and helped a crew put up a bench around a tree. Doing that required digging several holes in the ground at least 2 feet deep to anchor the footings. If you have never tried to dig a hole in the central texas hill country by hand it is a frigging pain in the ass. The ground is basically a whole bunch of limestone rocks, boulders and gravel with a little sand and soil added in to the cracks and holes.This
is what it looks like when heavy equipment digs it up.
Try and stick a shovel into that and it goes in an inch or so and then hits a rock. And the soil is just rocks piled on rocks. So what you have to use to dig in this country is what's known as a "digging bar". It's a 5-6 foot long metal pole with a flat wedge on one end that weights 15-20 pounds. You lift it up and hit the ground with it and it sinks in a little until it then hits a part of a rock. You hit out until you find an edge of the rock and then you lever the bar under the edge and try to pry the rock out or at least loosen it up so you can get a better angle.
It's exhausting work, pounding a 20 pound rod into the ground repeatedly and then levering it and a rock around until you can get it moving. and starting all over again. And once you actually get a hole going you can't really use a shovel or even a posthole digger to lift the soil out so you have to do that by hand. During the pioneer days it was so much effort to dig fence post holes that people commonly used zigzag fences
(when they could find enough wood) so they didn't have to dig the holes.
If you can dig 6 inches an hour you are making pretty good progress.
There are a couple different varieties of digging bars
have a centered wedge on one end and a flat plate on the other you can use to tamp down a soil flat after you have dug the rocks out.San Angelo bar
has a centered wedge on one end and point on the other and tends to be a little longer so you can get more leverage.pinch point bar
is like a smaller san angelo bar but instead of the wedge being centered it usually offset and and that end of the bar is strengthened. It's more focused on prying and levering things.
So after 4 hours of this saturday morning I have been so frigging sore I could barely move for 2 days. Arms, thighs, back, but, calves, forearm, chest, everything just ached and trying to move involved several attempts and a lot of grunting and groaning.
The dogs loved it.