rain rain

don’t go away, its nice to have you to cool things down again..

Its been another crazy busy week work-wise, hopefully its done and dusted by the end of tomorrow and I can return to the more sedate pace I was previously used to.  Its also been a hot week, peaking at 39C on Friday, which was pretty warm given that my air con went pop again.

We’ve had a nice rain front blow in this weekend – much needed really as there has been precious little of it this winter.  Its been warm though – its 31 outside and pouring with rain right now – we have all the windows and doors open to try to capture some of the cool air.

I just went to the DIY shop for some replacement pop-up sprinklers for my reticulation – after a while they get battered by the mower and the seals start to go and they start leaking everywhere.

To you non-Aussies (or those without garden irrigation), pop-ups look like this

So I have 6 new ones ready to replace the old battered ones – that should sort out some of the dry spots on the lawn and also should stop some of the water being ‘wasted’ (it goes back into the ground anyway) with inefficient spray.

I just need the rain to stop so I can sort them..

I stopped by the beach on my way home as the sky was looking a bit interesting – and yes, interesting doesn’t do it justice – within 2 minutes, it was pouring down!

The rain has stopped again now, so I’m off into the garden to sort those sprinklers.

garden antics

You may have guessed that I rather like gardening. There’s something very satisfying in getting nature to bend to my will. I’m kidding myself, its more like nature doing what the hell it pleases and me carving a little order within it all.

We got given a load of big outdoor pots by Jay’s parents a few weeks back as they were moving to a place with much less garden. The trouble with pots here is that the summer is very dry and hot and they would need watering every day or they’d be frazzled really quickly. And ideally, this means irrigation (again).

As luck would have it, there’s a valved riser by the patio that I guess was meant for this kind of thing, so yesterday I popped off to the hardware store for piping and drip sprinklers, potting compost, plants, flowers etc to get it all hooked up and looking nice.

I had to go back this morning (at 7:30am as it turned out, thanks to the fookin’ dog that started yapping and carrying on at 6:30 so I had to get up) for a couple of parts that I needed, but was back in time to have it all done and dusted before 11am.

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is some of my garden so far – there is still muuuuch work to be done though, which will keep me happy and busy throughout the summer.

This new grass may not look like much, but its growing really fast

new grass

Pipes go up the wall, along the pergola, down the upright and along the ground.

pipe

The patio is starting to look nice at last. We have a grape vine that is busy growing over the top of the patio – hopefully it’ll look all Mediterranean before too long.

patiopatiochilies
irrigation pipe

fixed it, I did

Fixed the irrigation this afternoon.

It just required the fuses to be replaced and the new cable runs that I did the other day to be rejoined with proper cable connecting clips. I also re-wound the tape round a few of the older (but as far as I know, non functioning) cable joins, just to be sure.

Tested the connections with a multimeter to ensure I hadn’t stuffed up and joined the common to the power circuit by mistake (I hadn’t) and then did some test runs.

And blow me down if it doesn’t all work. I replaced a few old and crap sprinklers with new pop-ups and thats it, job done.

Tomorrow, the adventures of the world’s most boring man continues with weed and feed and preparing the ground for grass seed. Go me.

Think I’ll go out and take some photos tomorrow, its been a while.

rebranding

I’m getting so boring with this I might have to rename my blog “my adventures with irrigation systems” *rolls eyes*

I fixed the main problem with that 5th solenoid valve yesterday, the common wire (a bodge by the previous owner) had broken just out of sight of the hole I’d dug to uncover the valve. Fixed that with a new spur from a known working common wire and once I attached one of the spare wires in the control box to a spare terminal, the valve sprung to life. Woo!

A few tests and stuff later, it really looked like it was all working, so I set about routing my new spur common wire under the ground to the 5th valve. Once it was all wired up, a quick test showed it was all working. Buried the cables, filled in back over the valves and tested again.

*pooof*

The fuse in the control box went. I must have a dodgy joint (most likely the power or common to solenoid connection) or the originally broken common is stuffing up. I’ll get some new fuses some proper cable joiners (rather than just tape) and fix up the common later and see whats what

So near, and yet so far..

waterworld

Irrigation, reticulation, sprinklers, watering, call it what you will, its all the same and I flimmin’ well hate it.

So, after getting a new pump for the bore, it turned out the pump relay was also busted (probably happened as the old pump burned out) so that needed a sparky to come out and replace it – simple job actually, but not one I could (or would be allowed, regulations here being what they are) sort.

So, with working pump again, all the sprinklers were working, except the troublesome single station from before. It took a few hours of buggering about with the retic repair guy, changing cables, wires, testing with multimeters, changing solenoids, cleaning valves etc before we kinda diagnosed the problem.

Problems, actually.

The wiring is crap – each of the control wires for the other 4 stations has power when they shouldn’t
Theres no separate common for the valves, just, it seems, a shared one for the pump.
None of the wires to the troublesome 5th solenoid seem to work at all.

So, to fix it – I need to run a new cable from the control box to the 5th solenoid with a new common and new control wire. 30 metres of it, up the wall, along the garage roof, down the wall, along the bottom of the fence for 20 metres and into the valve.

Then, just need to rejig the order the valves are wired into the controller, put the last of the turf back and its done. And I’ll be $1000 poorer.

And then there’s the aircon, which I suspect isn’t working because the ducting has come away from the bottom of the evaporative housing.

Contourhouse

I’ll take a look, but I bet I’ll have to call someone out.. *sigh*

more things off the list..

Been a busy boy this week – managed to get a few things done from the list

Fixed the leaking hot water relief valve. Well, thats a slight untruth – one of my friends who had some spare PTFE tape and a spanner put the new valve on for me. I could have done it, but I’d just spend a fortune on tools and didnt want to buy a wrench just for that one job.

Uncovered another solenoid valve in the garden – the mystery of the reticulation continues – one of the wires was broken but fixing it didnt wake it work. However, removing the inspection screw and allowing water to escape from the top of the solenoid valve made the non-functioning sprinklers work. Go figure.

Have no idea what that means or how to fix it. I might just cut the bloody thing out of the loop and be done with it – I’m not sure I need another working station in the back, it can all run off the one circuit and I’ll throttle the individual sprinklers as needed to adjust the flow.

The good news is I can put most of the garden back now, fill in all the holes and settle and fix all the remaining sprinklers. Its just a matter of chopping the valve out and gluing in a new T section. Easy job.

Weed and feeded (fed?) the front lawn last night. Its quite a big area and used an entire 11kg bag of the stuff. However it was a bit windy and I managed to snort 1/2 the bag up my nose like Amy Winehouse on a coke bender. I hope Ammonium Sulphate isnt toxic, cos all I can smell now is eggs and cleaning products. **sniff**

Oh, and I have a cold too. Which is nice. Not.

digging in the dirt

No, not a song by Peter Gabriel, but my own attempts at turning the back garden into a scene from Time Team.

time-team-dig

Spent yesterday digging up the back garden to try to make sense of the irrigation system. First, I fixed the broken pipe and sprinkler – a five minute task made much harder as its not obvious in the shop which parts go with what. I got there in the end.

I now have an archaeological dig of a garden, complete with exploratory trenches. All I’m missing is a seismic survey report and some broken pottery.

So, I’ve randomly found a blue control wire (which I know is important, as I found it in another part of the garden and when I fixed a break in it, the irrigation started to work again), a solenoid valve (used to control where the water comes on from the main control station), doubled up pipes and also a vanishing pipe (is in one trench, but has vanished by the time it should have hit a second trench – where it goes and why is anyone’s guess)

I’m kinda resigned to the fact that I shall have to unearth the whole damn system before I know how it works. I have my suspicions (for the record) that the non functioning sprinklers are on a separate control station, but I haven’t found the solenoid valve that controls that yet.

More digging later and possibly some photos too.

bore-dom

I think I wrote about this before.. The bore packed up working at the very end of last summer – suddenly the pump was only pumping air and the grass had a few weeks of cooking (from which is hasnt really recovered over the winter)

A few attempts at restarting the flow of water earlier in the year had no effect, but I finally got it working today.

You have to run water into the inspection valve in the pump body with a hose to refill the pump and, depending on the specific arrangement of valves and pipes, the bore shaft itself.

Then (advice from fellow photographer – Tristan – thanks!) run the pump in short bursts, refilling the pump and bore to allow the head of water to be drawn back up the bore and expelling the air. Eventually, after a good few bursts or water and pump runs, the water started gushing out of the pump inspection valve and the irrigation came on. yey!

Spent the next few hours digging up the pipework to try to work out where the pipes run in order to fix a couple of non working pop-ups. Not easy as this was all laid 15 years ago and is no buried 2 feet under tree roots and stuff. Have hard hands now – callouses and everything!

Was a good day though 🙂 back to work tomorrow – poo!