Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Power to the (Barn) People!

Big Project #2 got under way on Saturday morning - we are finally getting power out to the big silver barn!  I know the entire staff of large animal vets at OSU will be celebrating right along with us when we get done.
The entire project is not just to get power out to the big barn, but also to correct the power problems with the dairy barn garage, the old red barn, the greenhouse and for the gate opener, provided we ever see the gate in real life.  Seen pictures of it, it's pretty awesome.  Someday, God willing, we'll see it for real.
We had two major problems with the trenching.  When Mainline Pump installed the piping for the house from the old well at the bottom of the north pasture, they got lazy 3/4 of the way through, and didn't run a signal wire the entire run.  From the wellhead all the way up to the dog run and halfway thru the dog run, we had a signal.  But that must have been when the wire ran out, and of course, the part without the wire was the part we really, REALLY needed to know about, because that was where the trench was going across.  We tried to guess where it might have come across the front yard, tried to triangulate based on the old pipe from the shared well down at the rental south of us, poked around and dug some holes, but in the end, we closed our eyes, said a prayer or three, set the trencher to only go about 19" (we wanted 24") deep, and went for it.
The other major problem was the grey water leach line.  We did know about where that was, but what we didn't know was how far south it went.  Turns out, it went further south than we trenched, because Dale found it within minutes.  Lucky for him, he can't smell.  The dogs, cows and I, however, steered well clear until the 50 gallon holding barrel drained completely.  Dale had to wait as well, because the trencher was flinging nasty, muddy goo everywhere.  The good news is, we now know how far it goes, and the other good news is we can extend that leach line quite a bit more, which we fully intend to do.
As it turned out, the last 10 feet of what we dubbed 'No Man's Land', the area where we strongly suspected that the main waterline into the house crossed our trench, Dale managed to plow thru without hitting it.  We were prepared, however - the water was shut off and Dale had two repair kits and a plan ready to go, as we fully expected to hit it.  Halfway thru that last patch, a chunk of white PVC pipe came flying out of the trench and we both just knew we'd hit the main.  But it was old, huge, thin walled and dry as a bone, so we figured it was some old stuff from some other long ago line.  And then we both drew a big breath and finished up the final few feet without incident.
Thursday, Jason of 360 Electric in Harrisburg, our go-to electrician, will be here with 400' of conduit, wire and all the fixin's, and we will finally have lights and power to the barns!
 Let the trenching begin!  Starting the first leg
 Uh oh.  Mud in your trench is a bad thing, because that means there is water
 Waiting for the holding barrel to finish draining.  Be glad you can't smell this
 Prepping for the big run from the barn to the greenhouse
 I'm sure Hoke is wondering if he's gonna be blamed for the smell
 Pipe in the pasture that we DIDN'T hit.  The blue wire is the signal wire.  A locator unit is hooked to one end of this wire and a portable unit is waved over it to pinpoint where it is.  An absolute must for digging deep trenches to prevent severing pipes
 The stretch from the barn to the greenhouse is complete
 Dale bravely prepares to cross No Man's Land to meet the other trench from the greenhouse
 Success!!  No water is a good thing
The final meeting of the trenches, from garage/shop, to greenhouse, to barn

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