My entire body hurts and I'm not sure I can lift my arms above my head but we got our 9 holes dug with a manual post hole digger. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. Once we got about 12 inches down the dirt wasn't too bad. It was nice to find a sandy soil rather than clay like we had at our last house.
Our holes were 12 inches in diameter x 3 feet deep. It took us about 3 hours in total with a few breaks for water and to get out of the sun. It's hard work but I'm glad we didn't bother with renting the post hole digger, it looked pretty unwieldy to me when we were looking at them.
We headed off to Home Depot to buy the concrete forms and a few other items. I have to admit I've not been a big fan of Home Depot in the past but I'm happy to say I'm pleased with our most recent experience. Several people asked if they could help and then we met Bob, who is in charge of the pro desk. He gave us some advice on the footings and also offered to give us a discount if we brought in our plans for a quote and our total was over $2,500.00.
Pictures from today's work:
This was our first hole, we learned a few things along the way...
After the 2nd hole we figured out that if one of us went ahead with the spade and dug the hole past the hard packed dirt, the rest of the digging went more quickly.