Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Start Of The Sprinkler Project At The Bamboo Lagoon

Valves and valve box
So, this wasn't on the "already purchased list", but it is something that has been looming since last year. When I had Jeff come out to look at the sprinkler system in front and teach me the basics, I noticed that the valve box for the system had a lot of water in it. We tried to see if we could figure out where the leak was, but at the time, there were no clues.

For the winter, I had the water to the system turned off but I always knew that I would have to figure out what was going on with it, if I wanted to have it set in full auto this season. So far this year, I have been just turning on the water valve when I need to, running the system and then turning it off when it is done.

Anyhow, time has come and it has to be dealt with. I opened the valve boxes so I could take pics. One of them contains the valves for the three zones on the front system and the other box contains the backflow preventors to keep the sewer water from backflowing into the city water system.

Closeup of leaking valve
Before taking anything apart, I wanted to get some information, so I headed to the Grange because I knew that at least some of the parts were purchased there. They didn't have a lot of info about valves but sent me to Ewing which is a great irrigation store. They were able to tell me that my valves and box were from the Olson company and while they didn't sell the parts for those particular valves, they did get me a number I could call to get parts once I was sure what I needed. Apparently Olson has a system that contains all the valves and wiring in a prebuilt system. Ewing gave me some good advice on how to proceed with all the other maintenance issues I wanted to take care of on the rest of the system too.

Inside of valve
I could see that one of the valves was leaking when I turned on the water, and with the box dried out, it was easy to narrow it down. I took that valve apart to look at the diaphragm inside. It seemed like it wasn't in great shape but decided I would take it to Ewing and see what they could tell me.

I also took out one of the large popups and one of the small popups from that same zone so I could get replacement parts while I was at Ewing. All my popups are Hunter brand and Ewing does carry that brand. I figured if the system was put in around 2000-2001, it was probably time to update all the popups.

To be continued...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Small Tidbits At The Bamboo Lagoon

Progress on a few projects have been slow but I have been knocking out a few little things where I can.

The St John's Wort was trying to take over the steps on the left side of the house again so I worked on that as I could, also cleaning out the side beds of any grass or weeds that I saw creeping through. Due to weather, this took me a few days to finish when normally it would be a short afternoon project.

This pic was taken when I had already gotten a few steps done. Since cleaning this up, I have sprayed the crevices with vinegar, which will have to be redone periodically but it does keep the weeds under control without being bad for the environment. I have two pump sprayers and one is for vinegar and one is for brush killer.
I have to use brush killer (which isn't good for the environment) on the blackberry, and small oak trees that keep creeping back up. It is unfortunate but other than burning the blackberry (which isn't an option) getting rid of it permanently is pretty hard to do. I have a huge section of it in the upper backyard that needs attention before it becomes a completely out of control. I have been waiting for the flowers on another weed to die so I wouldn't have to deal with the wasps that were all over the place. Now that the flowers are dead, it is time to get those weeds pulled out and the blackberry dealt with. The backyard is a little bit overwhelming for me so I am trying to just focus on small projects rather than the whole big issue that is a lot to deal with at one time.

I got some more mulch from my mom recently and I have mulched the bed that the new bamboos are in, which has really helped with the moisture retention of that area. It was a sloped bed and everytime I tried to water it, the water would run off before it would soak in. Now the bamboos are much happier and it makes the watering much easier and much more effective.

I also finally got the little bed in front that I created months ago, mulched and the plants there are so happy too. I have cut back the daffodills and other early blooming annuals that are done for the year so it is a bit cleaner as well.
I need to take pics of some of the blooming items. Just found some cool looking Chinese Poppies in the backyard but that is for another post.

I feel like I lost my momentum when I finished the main middle bed in the front yard, but I am trying to get back at it and not let the procrastination get the best of me. There is a lot of work to do to get the place back up to snuff but I think that once it is back where I need it, maintenance won't be too is just the catch up that is killing me.