This is our journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

A House – Update III – Root Cellar/Storm Shelter

Part of the house design was to have a root cellar/storm shelter in the vicinity. I wanted to have house access to it so it would be quick and convenient to be able to get into in an emergency. In thinking about designs, I had hoped to not interfere with the layout of the foundation piers as much as possible. And so, the plan was to dig out the main area of the cellar under where the porch is to be, have the landing area go between two piers, and then have the entrance way under the actual house structure; this would allow for the cellar to be covered by structure (the porch), easy entrance from within the house, and the foundation to continue to be laid out as it was without having to add piers or other modifications to it.

I decided to hire a contractor to do the digging, partially because the hole needed to be dug fairly precisely since the landing was going between the two piers, and also so I wouldn’t have to deal with damage that might happen to the equipment. But, after several weeks of delay with an inattentive contractor, I decided to just rent a backhoe and do it myself.

And so, here I am starting the digging process:

Well, not more than a few feet down I hit that rock layer that I’ve been setting the piers on. I thought for sure I’d be able to get through it with a backhoe, but one by one the teeth caps on the backhoe bucket started to break off. I went through several before stopping. We thought about it and then came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth proceeding because more possible damage could happen; I could possibly disturb the ground under the piers, thereby potentially weakening the house structure; and we already have a root cellar/storm shelter. So I filled back in what I had already dug, and parked the backhoe.

We had to pay for the damages, but the folks from whom I rented the backhoe went out of their way to help us. We rented from iRent in Brownwood, TX, and Milt the manager there really helped us in diminishing the fees as much as possible. He was a breath of fresh air in customer service, especially given our experience with the local contractor noted above.

I lost about a month of time with all of this but have restarted the foundation building process, and here is where it is currently…only five piers left!

Thanks again to Milt at iRent for his excellent customer service; and we again thank the Lord for His graces, mercies, wisdom in and sovereign power over all circumstances.

— David


  1. E

    Here's wishing good luck to the two of you with your root cellar/storm shelter. Also Happy Thanksgivings.

  2. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Eli,

    While we don't believe in luck, and as I mentioned we're not going to be doing a root cellar/storm shelter under the house like we had hoped, we do thank you for the well-wishes.

    — David

  3. Anonymous

    Man, where is your determination. The obvious next step is to blast!

    Fire in the hole!!

    – Todd

  4. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Todd,

    That might give us a basement we didn't want though. 😉

    — David

  5. Anonymous

    Responded to this via a PM to Susan, so wanted to let you know it's still waiting for her to read. Thanks.

    Basically shared that though it's humanly frustrating as these things happen; they ultimately are often God closing one door to open another, according to His Will; which you'll perhaps see further into the homebuilding project. Yes, praise God for safety in the attempt and for the rental place being very helpful with minimizing the costs.

    God bless you as you proceed. Thanks for sharing.


  6. David and Susan Sifford

    Thanks much, Beth!

    — David

  7. Unknown

    We live in a 115 year old farmhouse in Monroe Ga. We have a
    5'10" high ceiling root cellar that was built underneath the kitchen. I am wondering if it might be the safest place to go during a tornado? It has a small window at ground level, and a heavy pine bulkhead door. The house is a one story but has a high pitched roof.Very heavy milled lumber throughout. The worst case scenario would be if the house fell on top of us and we could be entrapped in the root cellar. But I know that would impossible because I would ask the Lord to place angels all around to protect us.. But does anyone know if it is safer in there during a tornado, or would an interior bathroom in the middle of the house with no windows be wiser?

  8. David and Susan Sifford

    Hi Christian,

    Since we don't know the decreed/secret will of God, and since we're dealing with an all-powerful and sovereign God, nothing is impossible, even if we pray for it that it might be.

    In answer to your question, I'm sorry, but I don't know enough to to be able to give any advice in that regard. Maybe someone else will be able to answer here; and if not, hopefully you'll be able to find that information elsewhere.

    It sounds like you have a really neat house!

    — David

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