Actually, we started digging holes last week since I was very confident about the placement locations for the support poles for the platform, and that part of the work involved digging ten holes eighteen inches wide and thirty inches deep in dry, hard ground. We have had a little bit of rain but it's been a dry fall, and once you go down six inches, it's hard going. The solution we've developed to that problem involves using water and time to ease our way. After digging the first six inches, we just fill the hole up with water and come back the next day. By then, the bottom of the hole has turned to mud, and it's simple enough to dig out another six inches, refill the hole with water and repeat as necessary until you get to the depth you want. Since we had time to wait while the permit application was being reviewed, we weren't in a hurry anyway. Lots of folks resent having to go through the permit process, but I don't at all since it covers our organizational butt in a number of ways. No matter how smart someone may be about the things they know, they can be amazingly dense about other things. My favorite definition for the phrase "low bidder" is "the construction company that's trying to figure out what they left out." It's something that happens all too often with even the best of intentions. Since I'm the one who's going to look like a complete fool if some structure we build doesn't stand the load, I'm very happy to have the gang at the Building Department check my work, run the numbers and tell me where things need to be beefed up. And if something unfortunate should happen, then at least we did the right thing and let the pros call the shots on the structural details. In this case, the key change they made was to increase the number of horizontal supports under the platform. That sure seems reasonable since the platform is going to be supporting heavy fighters some nine feet in the air, and the deck and safety rails need to be rock solid.