Here's some "women's work" I did this morning: patched a large hole in the clay floor of a horse stall. A very good illustration of why you don't want rats or woodchucks to move into your barn. They might not be all that big, and they might not eat much (compared to a horse), but they are destructive. Repairing a floor is no small task.
This particular hole required about two muck buckets' worth of semi-damp clay, a shovel, a tamper, and of course, a tractor to lift and carry the way-over-my-70-pound-weight-capability buckets of clay.
It's a job that requires much muscle (good upper body workout), as well as the know-how and a pinch of artful finesse.
The hole in question. About 6"-8" deep, roughly 20" wide and not quite 4' long. It actually goes under the wall, but what is on the other side of the wall is another repair (thankfully only 1/3 the size) for another day. Like maybe tomorrow, so I don't cripple myself.
The hole, with clay shoveled in. This picture was taken after I'd all ready filled the hole half-way, tamped, moistened, and added more loose clay to bring it to the level I needed.
Doing the finish tamping in the corner; this is the stage where the artfulness and know-how come in.
You want your clay not just tamped firm--very, very firm--and level, but also blended to the existing floor, so that when you are done, no one can tell where the hole was. Especially the horse, who might be curious about the difference in the floor and try to paw up your work.
This project took about an hour and twenty minutes, a good hour of which was tamping. The tamper weighs about 16 pounds. Try to imagine lifting that about mid-shin height over and over for an hour. It not only winds you, it's rough on the shoulders and upper back. Hence my decision to leave the hole on the other side of the wall for another day.
The tamper does the job, though. And burns a lot of calories (I celebrated by eating a cookie with lunch, lol).
The finished repair job. The clay is so firm a 1000 pound horse can step on it and not leave a hoof print.
This was after my once a week 3-mile run, and before I cleaned out the chicken coop, did four loads of laundry (hung on the line since the weather was beautiful today) and moved 30 bales of hay.
I think I'll take this evening easy. Maybe do a little bit of sewing.