Construction · Pests - General

Filling in trenches!


First trench
Case backhoe

A few weeks ago, hubby dug the trenches for our water lines.  The piece of equipment he wanted wasn’t available, so he got the Terramite backhoe way in the back of the picture to the left.  It managed to dig out the packed clay, but stumps defeated it.   Our wonderful neighbor, BH, came over and offered us the use of something a little bigger.   Hubby had lots of fun digging with this one and managed to get over 400 feet of trenching done in two days. We finally have the right water pipes, have them installed, pressure tested for leaks, marked well, and we are ready to fill in the holes.  The first thing we tackled was the break in the driveway as we either had to carry everything over the trench or take the long way around with the four wheeler — which I won’t drive cross-country!    I’m still getting used to it and have only reached a maximum speed of 7 m.p.h. on the driveway so far.

Water line inside a sleeve
Pipes clearly marked

BH suggested that we feed our water and power line to the well through a larger piece of PVC pipe in order to protect it some from the pressure of us driving across the section that runs under the driveway.  Most of the damage he sees to underground pipes stems from rocks abrading the plastic and that is more likely to happen under a heavily traveled area.  Other suggestions that he made were to wrap the pipe in caution tape and tie wrap the electric line so that it stays under the pipe.   That way, if we forget where the lines are and start digging, the first thing we’ll hit is the water and that’s only if we don’t notice the caution tape.   The next step was to rake soil around and under the pipes so that when we backfill the trenches, the pipes are supported and the soil immediately around them is clear of rocks.  That was my main job today, and I only got a short run finished.  Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

Back to the driveway….

Hubby rented a soil compactor so that the driveway remains stable over the long haul.  Haul is a good word as we pretty much had to haul the darn thing up the trench and sometimes give it a helping hand on the downhill run too!   That’s why I’m back at the RV typing instead of still digging and raking out in the 97 degree weather with the men.  (8 hours of that was enough.)  It was an interesting and tedious experience, but I know that section of driveway isn’t going anywhere.

Woodford faucet

The outdoor water faucets hubby installed drain when you turn them off, releasing the water back into the soil and preventing the faucets from freezing.   They are available in a variety of lengths so that they can be buried deeper in colder regions.  The ones we have are buried two feet in the ground.   The base is surrounded by drainage rock so that water can drain easily, and hubby covered the exit with fabric to prevent dirt and roots from entering.   We have other faucets at intervals along the long run of pipe so that we can attach drip irrigation lines eventually, but the main water sources for the RV and the workshop are these very robust ones.  (The drip irrigation faucets will be low to the ground and easy to cover in winter.)   Another of BH’s suggestions for these long runs of pipe was to install telescoping repair couplings at intervals to enable expansion and contraction without the pipes having to bend.  This afternoon pipe that was straight in the morning was significantly bowed by 3:00 p.m. and the installation of couplings like these took care of that.

We also installed a spin down water filter on the main water line coming from the well.   (I’m not sure if it’s the same brand as the one in the link.)

Spin down water filter

This style was the third filter we tried on the irrigation well at our house after having non-stop problems with sprinklers not shutting off and other zones not turning on. The more traditional filters clogged too easily with the fine sediment, but this one worked perfectly.   It also doesn’t require any additional purchases, like replacement filters.  When it becomes clogged, simply turn the handle and it flushes out.  We had to do this multiple times a day for the first month we had the irrigation well, but only flush it a few times a year since we had a heavy rain flow that apparently flushed out the water table.   We have a bucket with gravel underneath it as water rushing out onto bare ground created a muddy mess, but we have been very happy with the system.

When hubby rented the soil compactor from Taylor-Foster Hardware, he also rented an Outback Brush Cutter for me.    My first hour with it was a little hair-raising as I felt like it was in control and was intent on dragging me into the woods!    After that, I simply slowed it down to a pace at which a snail could have easily passed me and then I didn’t stop until it ran out of gas.   It did a great job clearing brambles and other weeds.   I’d planned to use it along our fence line today, but never made it out of the trenches  until I made my escape to the air-conditioning.  (I’m preparing to teach a unit of World War I poetry, so thoughts of trench warfare are always hovering around somewhere in my brain.)    The brush cutter certainly did a better job than the weedeater and in less time.  Each one puts a different muscle group to work, so maybe I need both after we find gold and can afford a $5,000 piece of equipment!

Until we find that gold, we’ll definitely keep renting equipment and shopping for supplies at Taylor-Foster in Manchester, GA.   The people there are always so friendly and helpful and they have an amazing selection of supplies for a small town store.  They also have an ice-cream freezer right next to the checkout counter, and you won’t find that at the big box stores.   We bought plumbing parts yesterday and then bought strawberry shortcake ice cream bars for lunch!

The bees continue to do well here and are bringing in lots of pollen.  The city bees abandoned my lavender for Echinacea while we were away.  I spotted 5 different bee varieties on the Echinacea and Pholx in just a couple of minutes.   The bees are happy.  We are happy.   Life is good!


Bees on Echinacea, July 2016

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