Inspector’s Slab

Inspector’s Parking Space

One concrete pour wasn’t enough for the week. Since it went so well yesterday and the weather was so nice today I decided to push forward and do another concrete slab today. This time it was a 12’x24′ paved parking area in front of the butcher shop. USDA regulations require a paved area to keep down dust and mud for sanitation purposes. We live on a dirt road and have never had a paving here before but now the kids will have somewhere to skateboard when the inspector’s not here. What fun!

Ben, our resident RipSticker framed the area out of 2×4’s with a drainage slope to the east. I had mentioned that the minimum concrete load from the readymix company was 5 cubic-yards. Ben set the average depth to 5.63″ resulting in a volume of exactly 5.00 cu-yards. Wow! That’s some precise form work!

Concrete Truck – The drivers know us well…

The 4000 psi, 5% air entrained, 1% PolarSet, 1.5″ stone with fiber mesh load arrived from S. D. Ireland‘s Berlin plant at 11 am and we poured hot mud. After November 1st they add hot water to make the mix so it steams. We placed 661010 Welded Wire Mesh (WWM) in the upper part of the slab for reinforcement. This is the simplest pour we’ve ever done.

Floating Slab

As beautiful as it is, eventually this slab will disappear under our earth air heat exchanger and be covered with a final slightly larger parking area a few years down the road. That will allow us to warm the incoming air during the winter thus capturing a lot of free BTUs, that is to say heat, from the earth. In the summer this same system can be used to cool air. We will power the heat exchanger air flow using a solar chimney stack effect in the tower so it won’t require electricity. We installed the first set of tubes required for that future project yesterday when we poured the ceilings.

Outdoors: 49°F/42°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/63°F

Daily Spark: Luck favors the prepared. ~L. Pasteur

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Inspector’s Slab

  1. James Bell says:

    Walter, How does it work with the USDA inspector. Do you call ahead to schedule days that you butcher? Is the inspector always on site when work is happening, and finally, who foots the bill for the inspector? Thanks!

    • The inspector is always on site when animals are slaughtered and when product is being worked – e.g., meat cutting, sausage making, preparation for smoking and post smoking slicing & packaging, etc. We make a request for a schedule and then get assigned an inspector. The inspector is paid for by the government, that is to say in the annual fees we pay and our taxes. We’re not allowed to pay the inspector nor even so much as offer them a cup of coffee lest it be considered a bribe. There are certain things we must have for the inspector such as an office, bathroom, laundry services, etc so that they can perform their duties. If you look at the floor plan you’ll see that right in the first section of the building interior we’ll be finishing off soon.

  2. Nance says:

    Another interesting post that linked me back to other articles so I read (or reread) about air tubes and other notions. Good job on the pour! And to Ben and his cubic yard “mud” calculations. Just how close was the amount of concrete ordered to the forms of the slab?

    • We had about three quarters of one five gallon pail of concrete extra from what was delivered. Very, very close. Better a little more than a little less. I’m not sure how exact they are on filling the truck, probably slightly over since a little sticks to the walls of the mixer drum.

  3. tj says:

    So if the inspector is out there, that person would have to bring his own refreshments and food? Kinda sad we live in a time and society where hospitality could be considered a bribe.

  4. As always Walter, amazing. But tell me what do you know about being able to save the blood after slaughter. We have had some inspectors (in the lockers we use in Illinois) allow us to bring the blood to our chefs who want it badly to cook with, and others who refuse. Thanks for your response in advance

    • Under USDA inspect the plant needs to have a written HACCP/PR program in place that shows how they will keep the product sanitary to reduce disease risks. This involves the method they’ll use for collecting the blood such as using a sterile hollow knife, etc. It is the plant owner who must put this program in place and it is a bit of paper work which costs some time and money to implement. If the plant is too busy with other things and there isn’t enough other demand then they may be reluctant to take the time to implement the HACCP/PR. See the FSIS USDA web site for details.

  5. peter findlay says:

    A few years ago a government rep came to the farm for one reason or the other.

    It was a brutally hot summer day and I offered her a glass of water.

    “Nope” she said. ” “Sorry I can’t accept it — regulations”


  6. Goofy internet comment guy says:

    Can you provide them with art on the walls of the office? I would want to put some new art up periodically, maybe some Soviet era posters that encourage working hard for the cause featured prominently in the inspectors office. Even WWII era U.S. posters could be fun, instead of fighting fascism the troops would be encouraged to fight germs though! I’m sure that if the bathroom was overly luxurious that you wouldn’t get a complaint. I don’t think your budget needs any of that, nor would the inspector, but I can dream. Maybe you can put up a fresco on the ceiling with an epic scene of a figure in a lab coat being touched by a glowing hand from the sky.

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