Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Paradise ponders: puppies, sunflowers, cedar, and ridiculous amounts of copper edition...

Paradise ponders: puppies, sunflowers, cedar, and ridiculous amounts of copper edition...  In this mornings soft light, the wild sunflowers growing around my barn are particularly cheerful.  The bees are on them already!

When our dogs are out in our back yard, a walk between our house and our barn guarantees that you will be accosted by canines – most especially our two youngest, Cabo and Mako.  This morning as I approached the fence, these faces greeted me:

The trenches you see in the background are part of the great sprinkler project. That's Cabo in the first two photos, Mako in the second two.

Yesterday morning I tackled the hardest part of the remaining wiring on the sprinkler project: pulling 14 wires (each 14 gauge solid copper) through a 2" conduit that already had 15 such wires in it.  After that, wove the same 14 wires through a dozen or so hangers inside the cedar shed until they all come out neatly at the irrigation controller.  That's all done now.  Whew!  Once the sprinkler guys have all the back yard valves hooked up, I'll ring out those wires and install them into the irrigation controller.  At that point, all the sprinkler system wiring will be complete. 

The amount of heavy wire in the sprinkler system is kind of amazing.  If I kept track of the spools of wire correctly, there are about 7,000' of 14 gauge solid copper wire in the system.  The trenches containing big bunches of wires look like some kind of industrial installation.  If you haven't purchased copper wire recently, you might also be surprised at how expensive that stuff is.  I'm told that some larger construction projects have been put on hold until either the price of copper comes down or parts compatible with aluminum wire (very cheap by comparison with copper) become available.  Electricians in general don't like working with aluminum wire, as it has to be substantially bigger (in diameter) than copper to handle the same current safely.  The rule-of-thumb for this is to go up two gauges for aluminum wire.  In other words, where you might have used 12 gauge copper wire, you'd need to use 10 gauge aluminum.

Shortly after I completed that wiring, I called the vendor who is supposed to get the tongue-and-groove cedar for our deck ceiling.  My plan was to pester him every couple of days until he got it done.  No need!  It was done!  Woo hoo!  I called my brother Scott looking for some help (as he's got the pickup with a nice roof rack), and before noon we were at the vendor loading up 1,800 linear feet of 5" wide western red cedar (tight knots) tongue-and-groove.  That works out to 750 square feet, and my deck is about 630 square feet, so I'll be able to pick and choose the best pieces – and still have a bunch of usable wood left over.  This is awfully pretty wood, and a darned big pile of it on our deck!  Smells great, too, though that won't last too long outdoors.

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