(Only) the Transit Doesn’t Lie

Amanda and I are hard at work getting our deer fence installed. Trust me, you’ll hear all about it shortly. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a little nugget we’ve learned about using a transit.


My brother Dave Gray loaned us his transit when we were first preparing the site for our pole barn (which later turned out to be a better site for the lodge, but that’s another story). We quickly learned to appreciate how easy it is for our eyes to be deceived, particularly mine, when looking at terrain. I am a sucker for a tree line, and it fools me every time. Amanda has a better eye, but in so many things agricultural, she tends to defer to me even when she shouldn’t.

We are the proud owners of our own transit now. It looks a lot like this one. We were preparing a level platform the other day for the drive-through gate in the deer fence, and I thought we had it level. Amanda wasn’t sure. So we decided to check it with the transit. Glad we did.

The platform I thought seemed level had a grade change of 10 inches from one end of our 12-foot gate to the other! There’s no way that could ever have worked. We might have been able to remedy it after sinking the posts in concrete, but it would have been much harder and would never have been satisfactory. With the benefit of the transit, we were able to add a few loads of clay/gravel and solve the problem quickly and easily.

We’ll probably use our transit once every few months, but we sure are grateful for it when we need it. Because Longleaf Breeze is so hilly, we’ll probably be using ours more than most folk.

If you’re dealing with site drainage, and especially if you’re trying to build any kind of flat platform, there’s just no substitute or a transit. You could buy one, or get to be friends with somebody who already owns one who can loan you theirs. They’ll probably be able to spare it; but they’ll want it back. Promise.

2 thoughts on “(Only) the Transit Doesn’t Lie”

  1. Thanks, Chuck. Dave Gray has what he calls a “quick level” that you hold in your hand. Not sure it has the same optical architecture as your pilot’s sight level, but if it does, it’s no substitute for a transit! We used it for a couple of quick and dirty leveling tasks before we bought the transit and got ourselves in trouble. It didn’t seem much better than the naked eye. Maybe yours is more accurate than that.

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