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We Are Flying Solo

November 26, 2013

How To Dig A Hole

You have a tractor and a big auger that has been dying to eat some dirt, so no problem, right?  Perfect timing, because you have a mailbox to install!

But it looked really cool!!
(1) 811, call before you dig!!  No one wants to be that person dodging the neighbours' bullets because you severed their phone lines.

(2) Carefully select perfect spot for mailbox placement next to driveway and flag your point.

(3) Place tractor so your auger point is over your point.  Lower until the tip touches the ground (PTO off!), then maneuver/tug/finangle until it is reasonably straight.

(4)  Drill!!  Drill more!!  Yeah...

(5) Realize that all you have done, despite shoveling out a pilot hole, is made a very shiny, very shallow divot.  The ground is too hard and your auger is going nowhere.

(6) Pout in disappointment and dejected gloom that your auger so cruelly failed you.

(7) Dig hole with pointy metal stick (which was surprisingly effective, worlds better than cursed posthole diggers!) and shovel.  At least it only had to be 18".

(8) You still have to put auger away.  Knowledgeable-type people have recommended drilling a hole before you disconnect it from the 3-point hitch so it can stand on its own and you can hitch by yourself next time.  Skepticism abounds.

(9)  Return to attachment storage pen and back tractor into place.  Turn on PTO and begin drilling with substantially lowered expectations.

(10)  Use your quick reflexes to hit the clutch and stop the auger before it pulls the tractor into the new well it has just dug, sinking at least 3 feet in about 15 seconds like a mole on Ecstasy.

(11) Try not to let the whole street hear your cursing.

Moral of this important lesson:  when you want to auger a hole with cool equipment, make sure it is somewhere where you don't really need a hole.  If you require a useful hole to actually place mailboxes, fenceposts, and other such useful items, abandon hope, all ye who attempt.


  1. I don't mean to laugh at your frustration but you just make it so dang funny. :) Hopefully you'll have better hole digging success next go round.

  2. OMG, I have SO been there with the auger. The only thing I can say is that when you're drilling post holes, its a he!! of a lot easier than doing it by hand, despite the endless frustrations!

  3. That has got to be one of the best farm inventions ever, but I have never attempted to use one myself.

    When we had fence put in at our house, the crew included this crazy-strong guy who could dig holes ridiculously fast. He was a human auger.

  4. Omg, I would totally do this!! And then I wouldn't have a mailbox for 6 months until I got over it, lol

  5. ROFL, please laugh away, I did! I was so excited to use the dang thing.

    In retrospect, hey, I did use it and I DID drill a hole. Fingers crossed for better luck later...

    Intruigued by the human auger tho! The pointy stick was pretty impressive, neighbour (who owned it) said farmers had been using those for decades. I totally see why!

  6. LOL welcome to the farm. It only gets better from here ;)

  7. I have used a post hole digger and various kinds of shovels myself, but never a power auger or a "pointy stick thing." Never even knew the latter existed! Very interesting. The "Big Strong Guy" method sounds pretty good, too. :)

    We will hoping your future tractor-attachment experiments go better!

  8. Could you elaborate on ye old pointy stick... details please.

  9. Gotta love the auger... it may help for when you're putting in more posts to get a few geological cross sections of the area!

  10. CFS, old pointy stick was awesome -- and surprisingly little work if you just a need a few holes. You can start with a couple shovel scoops, then, you basically just poke at it with the pokey stick and it breaks dirt loose from the edges. It was being run by a 65+ year old guy, he didn't even get short of breath. Then you just scoop out the loose dirt. If I needed to dig some holes and only had a shovel, a t post drivers, and horrible post hole diggers, I would be ordering pointy stick right now.

    NSR, you may be on to something -- I should just call them x-sections instead of holes and then it will work every time.