Sunday, June 21, 2015

Morning in Paradise...

Morning in Paradise...  I woke up at 3:30 this morning, and I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep.  So I got up, took a shower, and then walked outside with Mo'i.  The sky was moonless and slightly overcast, so it was dark but I couldn't really see the stars very well.  The night was
quiet except for a few birds peeping occasionally, and the sounds of hundreds upon hundreds of sprinkler heads irrigating the fields all around us.  These sprinkler heads come in all manner of shapes and sizes, from the bog-standard Rainbird impact sprinkler at right to the monster “guns” like the one at left, with nozzles as large as 1" in diameter.  Not only does each model of sprinkler have its own unique sound, but various accessories also do.  For instance, many sprinklers alongside a road have “shields” that stop the sprinkler from spraying the road; these have a very noticeable sibilant sound.  Then there are many sprinklers that have the ability to reverse direction, so they sweep back-and-forth over an area; these make different sounds depending on which direction they're rotating.

The most complex sounds of all come from some of the big guns that have computers controlling the water pattern so that it makes even coverage over a rectangular field.  The computer moves several controls on the gun to make the water shoot exactly the right distance to hit the corners of a field without over-spraying the sides.  They even compensate for wind drift!  A few weeks ago, I stopped to talk with a farmer setting one of these up.  He looked like an IT guy, with a laptop plugged into his “gun”, a wind direction and speed sensor, and a GPS surveying system to plot out the fields geometry.  He told me that his “gun” cost a little over $3,000, but would pay for itself in the first year by evenly sprinkling his whole field without over-spraying.  He figures he'll save around $1,000 in fuel alone (the sprinkler is powered by a diesel pump). 

I could hear all these sprinklers as we walked.  Some of the sprinklers I heard were likely over a mile away.  It's quiet at 4 am in Paradise :)

Today is mowing day.  I haven't mowed for over a week, and I irrigated this week.  The fertilizer I put down a few weeks ago has kicked in, and the warm sunny days have done their thing.  My lawn will have to be reclassified as a forest if I don't mow it down soon.  I'm going to generate enough clippings that you'd think I could bale it and sell it as hay :)

Usually when I finish mowing, our driveway is covered with lots and lots of grass clippings.  Today I'm going to blow them all off with the wheeled blower I got last week.  Should look very nice when I get done!

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