Friday, May 1, 2015

Progress in Paradise...

Progress in Paradise...  Yesterday was one of these days that just don't go as planned :)

First thing on my agenda was to fix the broken riser we discovered yesterday after the Paradise Irrigation water was turned on by surprise.  The first step of that project involved digging – in sloppy-wet saturated soil.  Oh, joy!  The first photo below shows the top 8" or so of the broken-off riser.  You can see that it snapped at a coupler (the top half of that coupler is visible on the left side of the broken-off part in the second photo).  This coupler was there to fix a previous break!  In the third photo you can see my riser repair kit.  The blue tool is a cordless oscillating saw – absolutely the cat's meow when it comes to cutting off broken PVC pipe.  The two little cans are the PVC pipe glue and its primer.  The glove keep my hands (sort of) clean, and the wet blue rags are how I cleaned the pipe off.  The screwdriver is for scraping off hard-to-clean dirt (there was lots of that!).  The glue joints need to be made on absolutely clean and dry pipe, so this is critical.  Finally, the box itself – that's what keeps me from having to kneel in the gloppy, gluey mud.  The last photo shows the broken-off riser after I sawed off the coupler, cleaned the pipe, and cleaned the shavings off the sawed end of the pipe (with my pocket knife).  I glued it all together and then turned on the water – and the joint held.  Yay!  Then I forgot to take a photo of the finished project :)

Next on my agenda: help spray my neighbor's yard.  My neighbors to the west have a 1 acre parcel, about half of which is lawn.  Starting this year, I'm letting them use an adjacent acre of my south field as an extended yard (they have five kids, and they need some space!).  They bought the 2,4-D spray, and I sprayed it all for them.  The arrangement we have is that my neighbors will turn that acre into a lawn, plant some trees that we mutually pick, and handle the care.  In return, we let them use it rent free.  Win-win!

Right in the middle of that spraying project, I saw a dejected-looking fencing guy waiting for me to pull alongside him.  I figured he had some questions for me, and wasn't happy about waiting for my slow approach.  Nope.  He was there to tell me that while drilling a hole for a new fence post with his power-auger, he'd drilled into a water line.  Unbeknownst to me, Loony Lake was forming just east of our house.  Yikes!  I high-tailed it to the site of the rapidly filling lake with the fellow, and quickly saw from the flow rate that it had to be Paradise Irrigation water.  Dang it!  I just fixed one leak, and now here was another!  Only this one was much worse: a six inch diameter main line buried 3' down.  The line was located in a spot where I had absolutely no idea that a water line existed.  I couldn't really blame the fence guys, as they had no idea the line was there, and they certainly didn't get any warning about it from me.

From the leak's location, I guessed that it must be the line that supplies the series of risers that run north-to-south along the east edge of our property.  That line, I knew from past experience breaking a riser, had a shut-off valve located in my back-yard.  The valve was underground, and needed a “key” to turn it off – but I had the key, and I was able to shut it off within 10 minutes of the hang-dog fencing guy stopping me.  After about 15 minutes, enough water ran off or soaked into the ground that we could get to the site of the leak.  I scraped off the first couple feet of soil with my backhoe, and then the fencing guys dug it out by hand until we could see the pipe.  Once we knew the pipe's direction, I scraped off a 8' long trench over top of it, about 2' deep again, and the fencing guys dug the rest out by hand.  We had water draining into it from the long length of pipe feeding the risers, so I rigged up my sump pump to get it out of the hole.  All this took about five hours of hard, dirty work by three of us, and completely derailed all my remaining plans for the day.  By the time they went home for the night, we had the hole mostly dug out, but water was still slowly draining into it.

Right in the middle of those repairs, my jointer arrived by freight truck, and I needed to go pick up the pallet with my tractor.  That beast weighs 380 pounds, so we weren't even going to attempt to do it by hand!

Today I'll run to Valley Implement and pick up a patch kit for the line.  Then either today or tomorrow, after the water is completely drained, I'll clean out the last dirt and mud around the pipe, saw out the section that's broken, and insert the patch.  Next week the fencing guys will be back, and they'll (very carefully!) install a post there.  Then we'll fill that hole back in. 

What a mess!

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