Thursday, April 30, 2015

Progress in Paradise...

Progress in Paradise...  The fencing folks showed up yesterday, and started reconfiguring the post-and-rail fence in our back yard.  We're turning it from a yard-and-paddock into a single bigger yard.  They also started installing “goat wire” over the post-and-rail fence.  This is sturdy wire with 6" square holes – small enough holes to keep the dogs in, rugged enough to keep them from destroying it, and large enough holes to allow our neighbor Tim D. to feed his irrigation pipes through to the risers inside the yard.  I helped them for a bit, with our tractor –  we lifted out the posts being removed, and loaded them onto their truck.  Some of those posts were filled with concrete, and weighed close to 200 pounds.

In the early afternoon the fencing guys came to let me know that I had water erupting onto the field, from a point just south of our barn.  To my great surprise, the Paradise pressurized irrigation water had been turned on!  We weren't expecting it for at least another two weeks.  One of the risers on the east/west line about 20' south of our barn had broken, and water was leaking out at a prodigious rate: a 3" line completely open.  Just west of our barn, in a slight depression in the field, a small lake had formed.  Yikes!  I grabbed the valve “key” and took off on my ATV to the valve, which is a couple hundred yards west of our barn.  I got it shut off in a jiffy.  When that ground has dried out enough for me to dig, I've got a repair job.  Dang.

I spent most of my day building a wagon kit.  Not a child's wagon, but rather a pull-behind-the-ATV wagon with four-wheel steering.  The kit I bought (see photo at right) is for the chassis.  I managed to get the kit built, but it turned out to be practically an all-day affair.  There were some challenges.  First, it had been packaged quite poorly, and some of the tube ends were bent badly enough that parts wouldn't fit together.  Some banging with a small sledge fixed that.  Then one quite important bolt (the one that holds the hitch bar pivot) was too short by a half inch.  Jeez.  Off to the hardware store I went, and got a perfectly fitting replacement.  Then later I found I was missing two bolts and a large washer.  Back to the hardware store, where I found perfectly fitting substitutions.  The final challenge was alignment of the steering system.  There are six adjustable ends on the tie rods, and the must all be aligned correctly for the wagon to track correctly.  The instructions (which were quite poor overall) gave no method for doing this.  I came up with a way to use my laser level (which emits both a horizontal and vertical line) to do it: separately for the front and back, I lined up the axles and the pivot bar to the laser line, then adjusted the tie rod ends until they fit.  That worked, but my previous two attempts did not.  I burned a couple of hours on this.  Next step: to build a stake-sided platform on top of that chassis.  I'm planning to use this to collect brush and weeds, two things that we have her in large quantities :)

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