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January 5, 2006

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Today's the first time work took me to a friend's house--Matt and Eileen's 2 acre place on Bainbridge Island. Their 1890 house used to sit alone on an 80-acre strawberry farm. It had no foundation, so they jacked it up, poured a foundation, and built in a new ground level which will house painting and music studios. Still up on jacks, to get in and out we had to climb over a gaping hole in the floor where a fireplace used to be. As we were pulling up about 300 square feet of oak flooring, Matt came by to ask if we'd ever seen a rock thrower. We went around to the front of the house where a large dumptruck had its bed tilted way up, gravity feeding gravel onto a high spreed conveyor belt which sprayed the stone like water from a hose more than 15 feet precisely through a small opening into the basement where workers with shovels and rakes spread it. Because it was moving so fast, you can barely detect the rock stream here--it's about boot level--but you can download this movie to get a better idea. I had seen a rock thrower once before, but it was placing the rocks behind a wall, not hurling them. That time, the driver stood behind the truck wearing a large radio control harness unit with which he adjusted the conveyor belt and drove the truck.