Building The New PDQC Pits -
A Step-by-Step Pictorial
This page documents, from start to finish, the construction of two sets of quoit pits with lighting, in the back yard of a newly built home with some very unforgiving, back-filled ground. These photos are a great reference for anyone planning to install quoit pits in their own backyard. Hopefully your experience will not be quite as trying as the work needed to get the Pitching Dutchmen's pits installed in rock-hard ground during a long, hot summer drought!
During the Spring and Summer of 2002, the quoiting activities of The Pitching Dutchmen Quoit Club were severely hampered by a lack of available quoit pits to play on. In the Fall of 2001, Troy "Clay Stolzfus" Frey, aka The Quoit Master, moved from his old house where all the Quoit Night Out parties had previously been held. He and his family built a new house in a development only four blocks away, but the new yard had no quoit pits, or even grass for that matter. After the grass became somewhat established in late spring, It was time to begin work on the new pits. Two sets of lighted pits were planned, and with help from some of the other club members, the task was begun in earnest!
A pit box made from 2x10 CCA-treated lumber is seen in Time to dig! Rick Gantz, his son Josh, and Fred Rowe
Troy's garage in the late evening sun. The interior remove sod to dig a hole for one of the pit boxes to be
dimensions of the box are the required 36 inches on a side. sunk into. The ground turned out to have large chunks
Three 16-penny galvanized twist nails were used of concrete and stones that had to be pried out with the
to attach each corner of the boards. digging iron! Troy's other major project, a new deck
on the back of the house, can be seen in the background.
Josh, Fred, and Rick bask under the glow of the work lights. The first pit box is set into the ground and leveled.
The pits will be illuminated by spotlights on a post When it is positioned correctly, it will be back-filled
when finished, similar to the ones at Troy's old pits. around the perimeter and narrow strips of the sod
will be replaced around the outside edge.
This is some of the clay I collected from lots in my About a half mile from my house there is a large
development that had foundations dug for new houses. construction site where a new school is being built.
The brown clay in the foreground I will use on the There are big piles of clay there, so I made a trip
bottom of the pits as filler, and the orange clay will be in my truck to collect some. This fairly large pile is
used as the top 3 inches or so, since it is the more actually enough clay for ONLY ONE pit!
desirable of the two.
Here is a view overlooking my pits as they were on It was over a month until we had time to work
June 20. One set of pits is dug out and have the the pits. July 25 was scheduled as a work party,
wooden boxes and lids in place, and the other set and ten club members arrived to help out with
has the sod removed and is ready for digging. the work. Here, Gene Shaiebly supervises
Bring your pickax and digging iron, the ground is Ken Wiggins as he drills holes to mount electric
hard as a rock, and filled with them, too! boxes on the metal light pole that will be
installed on the new quoit grounds. Note the
condition of the grass now compared to photo at left!
digging with a manual post hole digger would not be switch is on? How many Pitching Dutchmen DOES it
possible, so a rented one-man digger was brought in to start a one-man digger? Lets try 5 this time!
for the task. Contrary to the name, we felt 3 people Gene and Ken Mosey on over to see what the problem is.
could do better - here Troy Frey tries to start the engine, Turns out the switch was on but the ignition wire had fallen
Dick Parsons steadies the auger and Greg Sollenberger off the bottom of the switch. Hey! Now it starts on one pull!
mans the throttle. Seems 5 heads are better than none!
Dog-gone rocks! The gas-powered post hole digger works So THERE'S where all my topsoil went! After digging down
until you hit something solid with it. The ground is full through two feet of rock-infested clay fill, Brad hits pay dirt -
of rocks and debris, which makes it even tougher to dig nice dark, soft topsoil. Dave Callis, Dick Parsons,
the hard clay ground. Dick Parsons uses a trusty digging iron Chuck Schneider, and Greg Sollenberger admire Brad's
to loosen another rock, as Brad Kramer puffs on achievement as he bottoms out the auger 3 feet down.
cigar and wields the manual post hole digger.
Brad switches his efforts to the pits themselves. It looks like Gene "Paul Bunyon" Shaiebly hams it up for the camera.
he's uncovered a big rock during his excavations! What are you planning to do with that maul, Gene?
The auger worked well at loosening the hard soil I don't have any trees in my yard ready for harvesting - yet...
in the pits, making the effort to dig them out much easier. Meanwhile, Dave and Greg attack the north-east pit
May as well put the auger to some good use while we have it! to get it ready for setting the pit box into place.
The ladies look on from the deck in amazement as the work
progresses...probably amazed at how many men are wasting
their time playing in the dirt! Hey, it's a guy thing, I suppose!
Dick parsons uses the top of a digging iron to help tamp Who the heck put THAT there? Dave Callis was digging
down the backfill around the pit box after it is installed. the trench for the buried electric service to the light
looks like it is ready for a pin and the clay! pole, when he dug up a big, twisted piece of rebar.
Who knows what was attached to the other end!
Troy got out his reciprocating saw and cut it off
below ground rather than try digging it all up
Gotta love my builder for all this "clean fill"...
Break time! Dick, Dave, and Ken get a rest and some When the sun goes down, I keep them working! Out
refreshment after all that hard labor. Don't dally come the work lights as Jay Martin mixes a wheelbarrow
too long there, fellas, it's getting dark... load of cement to set the light pole in place.
Water boy Gene adds a dribble at a time with the garden hose
to make the consistency just right. Fred Rowe is
ready with another shovel as Dick checks out the action.
Dick and Fred guide the cement into the hole around the The light post is seen here just after pouring, with the guy
light pole, which was held into place with guy wires. wires barely visible in the dark. Gene and Ken did a
A post leveler works great to make sure the everything is great job of pre-wiring the post with two light boxes
plumb. The buried electric wire is coiled up under Dick's and a receptacle box before we set it into the ground,
foot - little does he know the other end is tied to a making the final wiring much easier.
bent-over tree sapling, ready to snare him by the leg
and fling him over the house roof...
they look from up on the deck. This will be a nice spot to the post and wiring the lights. All the dirt and stones were
watch the proceedings during our future Quoit Night parties! cleaned up, some mulch was placed around the light pole,
the areas around the pits and the trench were filled, raked
and are ready for some grass seed. All that's left is two pins,
the clay, and new wooden lids, and the pits will be ready!
A view of the quoit grounds and the new deck, my two major projects And the Quoit Master said: "Let There Be Light!"
for the summer. Looks like we're just about ready for some great - and there WAS light, and it was good...
parties, no? The Bilco doors lead down into the basement where a
ping pong table and English darts will be available for entertainment.
Tuesday, August 6, 2002 - I found a great construction site less Getting the clay into the second set of pits was a fun chore. than a mile from my house that had beautiful red clay soil About 4 wheel barrow loads of clay was required for each pit.
strewn about in big chunks, so I used my truck to load up
enough clay for the remaining two pits. Here is a photo
of one of two loads it required.
One of my new stainless steel pins for the second set of pits. After the pin is driven into place, Dick Parsons uses a heavy
The metal shop did not make the pins quite the way I described hammer to break the hard, dry chunks of clay into smaller
to them over the phone - the wedge was supposed to be on pieces. This will allow them to soften quicker when
both sides of the pin rather than just one. The extra plate is to water is applied to the pits.
help keep the pin from moving backwards or down in the clay.
Troy Frey waters down the clay to soften it. The clay must Troy prepares to throw the first quoit into the new pits.
be the consistency of soft taffy for proper play. This set of pits had the clay installed a few days ago,
so they are ready and waiting!
Troy ceremoniously pitches the first quoit... ...and the effort is a little weak, but the quoit sticks nicely into the clay,
which is just a tad wet right now. Let the first game begin! Troy and Dick decide to pitch a short game to 11 points.
Dick takes his turn at pitching his first quoit of the year. Dick Parsons gets the first ringer on the new pits,
albeit a She-ringer. Being a gracious host,
I allowed dick to score the 3 points anyway,
but later regretted it, as Dick won the game in overtime
The pits have been christened, and the first Quoit Night
will take place on August 8, 2002
Hopefully they will see many years of fun and great competition!