HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » About Ditch Digging

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:35 PM

About Ditch Digging

Been there done that.

Ditches are very important to our society. We would not have the public health we have today if there were no such thing as ditches. But digging ditches is demeaning work that taxes a body in ways I am trying to forget. If I never dig another ditch I will die a happy man.

Digging is so hard that humans have designed and built machines to do most digging for them and release their brothers and sisters from such grueling and degrading work. Still there are times when, shovel in hand, a person must do as people have done for centuries and drop themselves into the hole and begin moving Mother Earth out of the way.

To those who do our dirty work a great deal of respect is owed.


31 replies, 2019 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply About Ditch Digging (Original post)
RobertEarl Jan 2013 OP
butterfly77 Jan 2013 #1
1-Old-Man Jan 2013 #2
progressoid Jan 2013 #3
gkhouston Jan 2013 #13
ieoeja Jan 2013 #21
Ernesto Jan 2013 #28
Skittles Jan 2013 #4
JustABozoOnThisBus Jan 2013 #29
Skittles Jan 2013 #30
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #5
bluedigger Jan 2013 #6
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #12
bluedigger Jan 2013 #15
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #16
bluedigger Jan 2013 #17
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #24
bluedigger Jan 2013 #25
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #26
bluedigger Jan 2013 #27
Mc Mike Jan 2013 #31
R_Flagg_77 Jan 2013 #7
snooper2 Jan 2013 #8
Fla_Democrat Jan 2013 #10
pinboy3niner Jan 2013 #11
RobertEarl Jan 2013 #9
Agony Jan 2013 #14
kentauros Jan 2013 #18
RobertEarl Jan 2013 #20
kentauros Jan 2013 #22
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #19
yardwork Jan 2013 #23

Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:42 PM

1. RepubliCONS...

do it everyday.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:49 PM

2. Amen brother!

A neighbor of ours worked for the Water department of a closeby town for all the years we knew him, I'd see him down in one sodden ditch after another while passing through town. His heart gave out when he was just over50, or maybe I should say his body gave out. He had a massive heart attack and is barely able to get around even today, some decade after his retirement. All for a fucking ditch, all so the town's folks can have their freshly treated water, all so the sewers took their foul waste to unseen places. And by the way, he did this all for peon wages.

PS: I own both a back hoe and a front end loader, not business related, just for my own personal use. I do not know how I got along for so many years without them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:12 PM

3. I hate how we've denigrated actual physical labor.

To the laborers of the world:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to progressoid (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:09 AM

13. I hate how we've done that, while some elements of society elevate CEOs and banksters.

Ditch diggers accomplish something. The latter, all too often, are selling the empty hole.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gkhouston (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:30 PM

21. I worked at a bank where the President was simultaneously CEO of Motorola.

This is probably one of those times when Conservatives and Liberals see the exact same fact and come to opposite conclusions. I look at this and conclude that these jobs must not require much of his time if he can hold both simultaneously. They probably look at this and think he was an amazingly hard working man.

His main accomplishment as bank President was replacing all their telecom equipment.

His man accomplishment as Motorola CEO was landing a contract to replace all of the bank's telecom equipment.

I just hope he was a tough negotiator with himself. Actually, he probably "negotiated" it on the golf course as he was the #1 ranked golfer among midwestern CEOs at that time as well. Can't imagine how he found the time working two important jobs like that also.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to progressoid (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:52 PM

28. Make that.......

I hate how we've denigrated actual HONEST physical labor.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:19 PM

4. oh I absolutely hear you

I get tired of the "flipping burgers" jokes, as if that isn't real work - people can be so fucking arrogant

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Skittles (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:58 PM

29. It's not the burger flipping ...

... it's the non-livable wage most burger joints pay. And that's no joking matter.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:07 PM

30. that's ANOTHER issue

the issue here is honest work being denigrated

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:22 PM

5. Those who shower after work versus those who shower before

I was looking at an early 19th century spillway fairly recently, keeping in mind it was all dug with muscle power made it a lot more impressive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:31 PM

6. Ain't nothing wrong with digging holes with a shovel for a living.

It can even be highly satisfying if you do it right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:03 AM

12. Contract Archaeology?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mc Mike (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:23 AM

15. Did the dustpan tip you off?

Old photo I took of a coworker on a project in Washington, DC.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:46 AM

16. Datum line, perfectly smooth face on the wall. Was it a University or private contractor?

I worked for Pitt (under the right wing Adavasio), and Kemron/Wapora. Decades ago.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mc Mike (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:46 AM

17. A survivor of the Dark Lord!

I worked with one guy who worked one season at Meadowcroft, heard a few stories over the years. Another couple of folks I worked with went to Mercyhurst when Adavasio was (is?) there, too.

Private company - project was for the DC Metro, a few feet from St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Criminally Insane. That's Earl down in the hole. Good digger!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:25 PM

24. My favorite edict from A

was his instructions to duct tape the soles of our snow boots in winter, allegedly so there was no tread imprints visible when the pit faces were photographed from ground level. Made just walking to and from the hole big fun, when there was snow or ice on the ground.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mc Mike (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:38 PM

25. That's great!

Hadn't heard that one!

We joked a lot about scissoring our grass and making uniform backdirt piles. Also heard some horror stories about cleaning the undersides of crew vehicles.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:09 PM

26. Forgot about the clean vehicle fetish.

Worked in UT on the I-70 expansion; he had a backhoe plow through a village of pit houses on site (pre-Columbian Fremont, contemporaries of Anasazi), then we spent all the time 'gained', through this, by facing the trench walls with trowels, to make a pretty picture. Much to the disenchantment of U of CO and UT U diggers who were hired to work the site with Pitt. He knows how to get the contracts, though.

I haven't been out on a dig for 20 years, but have done some digging for underground pvc power and data pipe runs, as an electrician (commercial and industrial). This area is chock full of rock-ridden clay composites, tough digging.

Both jobs give you a good amount of physical work-out, but you use more intellect and finesse with the archaeology. I'd like to stop on the current jobs to get a munsell book out, for some readings. Just to blow the foreman's mind, or fuse.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mc Mike (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:51 PM

27. You really want to blow the foreman's mind?

Just start working in metric.

I always maintained that fieldwork was the perfect balance of mental and physical labor. Now I'm thinking there may be some age-related caveats, or maybe it's not the years, but that the transects walked and shovel tests dug begin to add up. Lots more desk work than field work in my recent past, and future, I hope.

Don't even get me started about backhoe trenching - I've done plenty of it, both right and wrong according to my bosses' guidance. Nothing pisses me off more than mechanical trenching through known intact deposits.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bluedigger (Reply #27)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:11 AM

31. 'Sorry, boss. I can only dig it out in 10 cm lifts.'

C.A. definitely has physically demanding work where age factors in. I'm getting a bit creaky, too. Tiger balm and soaking in a hot bath help me some.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:04 PM

7. We can't all be...

 

Doctors and lawyers, and that makes very happy. Sure we need white collar workers, but you need more blue collar people to keep things running. Truth be told, I have just as much respect for sanitation workers as I do for doctors... See if you didn't have people picking up trash once a week, you'd have people sick and dying. Doctors just treat illness, sanitation workers keep illness from happening.

I've always worked on a farm, feeding cattle, baling hay, and whatever else needs doing. Without people like me, the city-people will starve to death. You can't outsource what I do without running up the cost of food to such a level people can't afford to eat. In my eyes farmers do more good for the world than anybody who could ever sit in the White House.

Same for road builders, janitors, truck drivers, railroad workers, miners, and oilfield workers. Some jobs can't be shipped to China and deserve a certain amount of respect.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:08 PM

8. Answer me this then, why do the signs always say "Open Trench"

You ever see a closed trench?




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to snooper2 (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 07:17 AM

10. Yes, it's called a tunnel



Open Trench is 2 warnings, actually. One, that there is a spot in the ground that if you are be-bopping along not watching for, you could fall in. The other warning is that the spot is longer than one would expect from a simple hole in the ground. Side stepping a few feet probably isn't going to help any (depending on the angle you approach the trench),




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fla_Democrat (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 07:27 AM

11. Damn!

I always seem to approach from the wrong angle. "OUCH! I can't believe I did that...again!"



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:26 PM

9. Life in the ditch

So there we are down in a ditch coaxing Mother Earth out of the way.

She's wet and heavy. Each shovel full weighs more than the last.

Down there in the mud and when there is no mud dust, the others working with you in order to relieve the stress and the agony, begin a banter of jokes and pranks that would not please a normally righteous person, whom, if they overheard, would think a war was about to break out. That these were fighting words and the whole world was damned.

Nothing really is sacred down in that ditch where dirt flies and shovels clank and the blood and the sweat flows as freely sometimes as an open beer tap. Nothing. It really is dirty work. And like I said, the pranks and banter help pass the time and ease the pain.

Non-tough individuals do not show up the next day. Children are not even allowed most times but if made to toil in the ditch, come away with a whole 'nuther way of seeing life.

Funny thing is, after the day is done, the same people who have been fussing and fighting in the ditch all damn day will sit down together with a pitcher of sweet icy brew and commence to enjoying themselves as if none of that war in the ditch mattered one bit. It is kinda odd, and today is the only thing I miss about such work crews.

Ditch digging is not for the weak and the timid. But I suggest everyone do it for a week, on a minimum wage and see how they like it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:10 AM

14. No ditch digger, no internet.

simple

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:59 AM

18. What about those of us who design the ditches?

You gotta know where to put it and at what grading before you begin.

Mapper = me

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to kentauros (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:29 PM

20. Believe me, you get your fair share of being cussed out

All the plans and maps in the world are not worth a thing without the shovels be singing. You easy-money people owe the diggers more than you will ever admit too. Imo.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:42 PM

22. I've heard plenty of shop people talk like that, too.

And I've learned things from shop people and surveyors that improved my skills. It's rather interesting, though, that the tools of my trade are now used by surveyors and the people making the grading (such as GPS-guided grading machinery.)

Of course, you're also assuming that because I am one of the "easy-money" people that I've never done labor. Yet, my statement stands that without someone to draw lines on paper (or a computer screen), digging a ditch is wasted effort if you don't know where you're going or at what downward grade. The ditch-digger can be the one to make that map, too. They just need to understand slope and grading, skills associated with mapping

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:06 AM

19. Remember, digging ditches lead to civilization.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobertEarl (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:47 PM

23. I believe that our system of wages has the wrong people making the most.

People who dig ditches, which is very difficult and dangerous and essential work, should be paid a lot of money. So should police officers, fire fighters, public school teachers, nurses, first responders, and other people who do essential, difficult, dangerous work.

People who get the luxury of sitting in fancy air conditioned offices making decisions about running corporations should be paid a lot less. They already get a lot of perks. They don't need to be making millions of dollars more than the people doing the difficult, dangerous, essential work.

We need a labor movement in this country.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread