Thursday, March 30, 2023

Central Yard Part 6

Even in the context of the wettest Winter we've had in fifteen years, the last week has been horrific. Last Wednesday we were lashed by one of those storms that's so big it got its own name. Trees were down all over the East Bay, and a big rig was blown over on the east bound Bay Bridge right at commute time*.

Nevertheless, by Thursday evening the storm was over, and at the time of writing we have enjoyed three full days of sunshine and roses. I had a few chores to do on Saturday morning, but once they were out of the way it was straight out to the yard to finish digging the hole for the mailbox post. The hole finished up being 29 inches below grade - a little bit deeper than I planned, but whatever. The post to which the mailbox will eventually be attached needs to be 31 inches above grade according to USPS I need a post 60 inches long. I made one of those from a pressure treated 4" x 4", and I added wood preserver to the cut end. (Note the wheelbarrow cutting table!) 

There is steel sleeve which slides over the post. The sleeve is about 44" inches long, so it will also be partially buried. 

I made a collar out of scrap lumber - this will be useful when I need to brace the post in position.

The sleeve fit was quite loose so I used to shims to center the sleeve on the timber post....still working on top of my wheelbarrow!

I connected the sleeve to the post with some galvanized steel lag screws I happened to have in the shop. 

As I mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful day, so I headed outside to install the post. I wrapped the upper section of the post in clingfilm, so I won't have to worry about wiping off any stray concrete. The post was secured with a couple of 2" x 4" braces which are connected to stakes which I sunk a couple of feet into the dirt. Getting the post plumb took a bit of back and forth because I was working on my own.

This is later...the post hole took three and a half bags of concrete which I mixed by hand in the wheelbarrow; it didn't seem worth getting the ent mix out for such a small amount.

With that done, it was time fort cuppa tea and un ox-tongue sarnie in front ot fire. Or something like that. After a suitable interlude I headed back outside and set to work on the irrigation system. With the trenches pretty much completed last weekend, it was time to start laying some pipe and making connections.  I started by digging out a couple of barras worth of dirt from around the main supply line. 


This is after the main line has been connected to the pipe which passes below the walkaway - I used a threaded coupler in case I ever need to disconnect this line or drain it, if it ever gets that cold...

Started laying some pipe! I'm using 3/4 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe, the first section of which is shown below: 

Made the necessary connections to the section which passes below the walkway. The two vertical pipes at the rear do not carry water; one is a conduit for the electrical cable and the other is a spare.

Pipe to station #2 installed; this one terminates next to the new mailbox. 

So far I have been installing pipe on the house side of the walkway and connecting it to the sections which pass below the concrete. However, to make the system work, I need to install valves between the incoming line and each station. The valve manifold will be going in the spot Delilah is inspecting below, which is where the pipes emerge from below the walkway.

This is the same spot after several barra loads of dirt (and Delilah) have been removed:

The valve manifold was installed on top of some landscape fabric.

Made the connections to the incoming water, and to the pipes which serve stations #1 and #2, that I installed earlier, and added three more pipes to serve the other stations. We have six valves, so one of them is spare for now.

Extended the pipes to stations #3, #4 and #5, each station has an separate pipe beyond the valve.

The next day I made the electrical connections to the valves and to the control box and tested the system. The good: all stations work as intended, and there were no leaks in the PVC pipe...and the bad: several valves were leaking slightly, just dripping really. Research on the interwebs tells me that I probably need a pressure moderating fitting at the incoming water line, so that's next weekend's project.

 Luckily there was just enough time left to install the new mailbox and backfill around the post...

And remove the old one. It was quite an effort to remove the concrete and the mailbox/post in one piece, but I can promise it will be much more difficult to get rid of the one I just installed. After snapping this photo, I went inside to mop my brow and neck a quick cup of Rosie. When I came back outside, our mail person had delivered mail to the old box! He/she/they had to get out of the van and walk across the yard to do that too. Who says USPS is lazy? Poorly trained maybe. I retaliated by yanking the old mailbox another ten feet away from the street and turning it upside down. If I get anymore mail delivered to that box, I really will be (un)impressed...

(*first two photos from CHiPs SF twitter).

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