Here I'm loading the mixer with sand, pea gravel, and portland cement for the grout to fill the
foam blocks. We use the 12 quart pails in the background for both the sand and the gravel to
keep the recipe as consistent as possible. At first I cut the 94 pound bags of cement in half for
easier loading but that got to be more hassle than it was worth, and two months of lifting big
boulders out of the footing trenches made lifting whole bags not that bad by comparison.
After a batch was thoroughly mixed, I'd dump part of it into a wheelbarrow to transfer it down the
hill. My wife would then scoop the grout out of the wheelbarrow into the foam blocks and tamp it
into place while I went back up for another load. With two wheelbarrows and proper
orchestration of the mixing, the timing worked out just about right to keep us both busy.
Yes, it was chilly (about freezing) and yes, I'm wearing long underwear. The most uncomfortable
part is getting wet from the hose, but even that isn't bad until the sun sets behind the mountain.
No, this isn't convict or migrant labor ... this is my wife pouring the grout into the foam blocks. It
sounds slow to be scooping out of a wheelbarrow with a bucket, but she could keep up with the
mixer. We have been averaging about ten linear feet per hour with the wall being two courses
high, but should be able to do better once we are able to backfill dirt against the wall for easier