Irritating Troll

Flipped Lid
Solenoid City“Irritating Troll” (which might be the Reddit sub-title of my blog) comes from the covers of the drip-irrigation system, “Irritrol”… Marketing-fail.

Which reminds me of an engineer guy I worked with when we were building the interactive On-Screen Guide, who wanted to start-up his own company.

As brand-savvy designers, writers, and marketeers he came to us and asked our opinion of a company named after his specialty line of work, doing engineering protocols.
We advised him that it sounded like a specialty all right, but a company called “Protocology” also sounded a bit…medical. Was he familiar with forceps and the speculum, etc?
He started a company under a less “catchy” name that was more clearly about his skill-set and went on to do quite well – I think.

Anyhow, one’s lost its lid, a dirt-catcher rotates far too easily and, “Hay LADY, you need a couple new Solenoids!”….

I need to dig it out a bit more and see what the lower-end connections look like, whether it’s glued-up or threaded – and the fixed-distance valve set-up is something to take into consideration too.

Then there’s the wiring…

Men Dentist id gud buth thoo things at onth ith a bith muth. Crown AND filling, same side upper.

Manifold Destiny

Meanwhile, back at The Ranch…our hero is engaged in a semi-aquatic struggle. I had turned off the sprinkler system through Fall while the celestial inundations of El Niño blessed us with drought-busting quantities of sky-water. valve array Now in the end of Spring we are approaching the traditional no-rain Summer and I’ve been fiddling with the pipes and leaky bits. The whole manifold leaks at various joints under pressure and I think I need to replace all the solenoids and maybe the valves. They are exposed to the afternoon sun and are simply baked.deck emitter
I’ve been testing the system and am frustrated with the opaque operation of main timer-board.
The button-press settings don’t seem to do what I expect, and I had to fiddle with each valve to identify just what circuit it controls.
One of the deck-side of the bunkhouse one of the field emitters had broken tips and needed replacing, while the whole set-up for the planter-beds was spraying water at each valve-lid.
They all sit exposed in the sun, and since the plastic was pretty crumbly we went off to Home Depot for replacements and tools.
Getting away from the Wide Open Prairie we return to the bunkhouse lawn to discover that one of the pop-ups had shot its little brass spray-head wad creating a fountain — and ALL of the pop-up themselves are pretty over-grown and need cutting-out from the dense grass just so they function. pop top
Meanwhile up on the Embankment I ran a 25-foot feed up to the fence-line drip-line and re-connected it with a T-junction. 100-feet of new fence-line hose has replaced the old crappy one, and now I can proceed to run individual lines down from that to various plants that I don’t want to see die.Embankment feed

“Happy Memorial Day” never seems to be the right thing to say on this day of remembrance for all the fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen who died to preserve this country. God Bless them.

Nasty Turd Patch

Whacking away at the weeds, there’s still a lot of this stuff is Rumex obtusifolius – Obtuse indeed! A single plant may produce up to 60,000 seeds so there’s a multi-year project in this. Even in Ireland: Docks are unpalatable, are a poor quality feed, and animals will only eat them if nothing else is available. ” After the second year, the plant continues growth and can become 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.” We’re at that stage for sure…
Nasty little turd. Cut it open and it’s orange-ish.
On the other hand some hippies like to eat this stuff, although I think just the greens. I’m not convinced because to me it looks just so unappealing and skin-crawling creepy, and I’m not a big greens-eater or a gardener anyhow. Although I’m not afraid of salads mine are more traditional lettuce and cabbage and stuff. It possibly qualifies as a Paleo Diet kinda drive-by food thing. Maybe. If Paleo-Man ate turds.
Also according to the University of Maryland…this weed is slightly poisonous. The milky sap can also cause dermatitis or blistering of the skin.
This is not gonna be a one-and-done project, especially if the kind of rains we got signal an end to drought conditions. Getting into the thickets of this stuff is squishy, that is where it’s still wet and muddy as the Ohio State Weed-Guide states: It is usually found on floodplains, along borders of woods, around buildings, in poorly drained and nutrient rich soils, but is also common in some upland sites and on acid soils. Sounds about right.
Chop-chop! I notice where my neighbor grazes his cattle there is much less of this stuff, but the land across the fence is much more dry and he has probably been spraying for it longer.

UPDATE: So upon Brig’s advice, I gathered my Corona 1-3/4″ hand-pruners in glove, and waded into the chest-high grassy-hell like Sherman’s march on Atlanta, laying waste to three yard-bags full of tops and seeds and stalks. I started with attempting to yank at them, but after one bag-full I thought better of it before my back gave out. The next two bags included hunks of grasses as well as stalks, and even some big tuffets of large rooty chunks as gave up the earth. BWWAHAHAHA!
I’m sure I missed a few and many seeds were already scatteredand some stalks lay-down hidden in the thick grass, but I got all I could see.

Breakthrough on the Western Front

Yard_Panorama2aFinally powered through the underbrush.
Had to walk through with the weedwhacker first, then drive it down with the mower, and there’s still a lot of bumpy stuff and thatch to cleanup.
In other news, the birdhouses have bluebirds and I have figured-out the drip-irrigation and sprinklers – sorta.
One pop-up is busted and vanished which accounts for the geyser effect, and I have to still connect-up the embankment supply hose and run individual lines to various elements. And the butterfly bush has sprung-back from being a stump so there’s more to kill. Flockets of quail run through the grass.
Also I got my RSO cert and temps are expected in the mid-80’s today.

Hydraulic Impediment

The concrete retaining-wall stones had been overturned and cast awry and about in a jumble. In the early spring I had removed about sixteen in order to build a walkway up the embankment – or so I thought. Talking with my neighbor across that fence however and finding them too small for stepping-stones, I returned and re-stacked them – somewhat haphazardly.
Hydraulic Impediment
The drainage from his pond overflow needs to function un-abated. While this year was unusual, it was also perhaps a sign that the 10-year drought is coming to a close so the wetness needs to travel-on. Nothing lasts forever but I think I might try to re-do this with a bit more “regularity” and add some river-rock stones to the catchment “bowl.”
In other news I made further mowing incursions into the waist-tall weeds, but one path lead nowhere and I hit the limits of traction, got stuck, and had to lift and pull and yank – eventually backed-out.Prairie_Panoramax1000with text


Stalinism. Pravda. Goebbles, etc. Media-manipulation and efforts to move and “nudge” people with subtle and not-so-subtle “social engineering” is a thing among the Left, also to twist and politicize at every opportunity — and at HQ Facebooger apparently it’s boringly routine, making non-trendy things “trend” and suppressing things that really are trending.
The practice is common in most left-leaning “Journalistic” media, from the New York Times on down the food chain to the electronics propellorheads at HuffPo.
It’s not my First Amendment they’re violating, they’re a private company and they can do what they want including all of the above, and I’ve never had an account with them and never will.
Anecdotally, a group (foursome) of their young goons rented a unit downstairs on the other end of the building from us back in Googlopolis, repeatedly believed they were re-making the world and we’d all eventually have Facebook email accounts. What? I was not impressed but I’m not impressed with most Millennials anyhow, either. Sad bunch really, they are the outcome of the Left’s Long March through the Institutions of so-called higher learning, that has come to produce such small and bitter fruit.

Happy Mother’s Day

The dogwood comes out a creamy-buttery color than changes to a pink center, and a lot of rock-roses are blooming.
I have been weeding the big ugly stalks out in the Prairie by hand, and filled six yard-waste bags with waist-tall weeds!m More mowing will commence when the sun returns.IMG_0609xDogwoods
It’s been a busy week with me helping Bill-the-Plumber install 1.) a new water heater to replace the sixteen-year old one, 2.) fixing the heater’s flue-thru-the-roof 3.) setting a new toilet, and 4.) hooking-up a re-circulation pump so that we now have nearly instant hot-water everywhere, instead of waiting (and wasting) for 60-feet and a couple gallons of cold water to exit the pipes!
Over the weekend I picked-up a new toilet for the hall-bath to match the Master-Bath. It’s a long-oval shape and “comfort height,” and I swapped the new oiled-bronze handle to it.
On Tuesday Bill braised-in the pump to the copper lines and wired it to a wall-outlet running through a piece of conduit. He also helped me by cutting back a big old clean-out that was sticking out of the garage-wall about a foot, so now the washer-and dryer can be pushed-back up to the wall instead of standing-out so far into the garage — and we set the new toilet.
Wednesday we drilled through the foundation-sill and came out underneath the floor joists, and ran “Pex” tubing to the far-distant hot-water faucet to complete the re-circulation circuit. The Pex had to be insulated with foam first, and then the copper was cut and a t-junction braised-in with a fitting for the Pex, and finally we strapped the Pex up the the floor joists…
Bon Fromage!

Cousin It gets a haircut.

That’s an old-old reference that many of today’s young Social-Justice Warriors might take offense to since it implies a hirsute-normative and male-sexist hairy-ball patriarchal agenda. The girth of the growth has been reduced considerably – by a couple feet anyhow.
UPDATE: Sorry that pic lacks scale and perspective so here: Redshirt beamed down onto Planet, what could go wrong?
In other Patriarchal-Normative man-cave events, the old (2001) 50-gal water heater in the garage has been replaced by my Plumber-Butt-Normative friend Bill, and is all to-code in-process to get a re-circulation pump going so water isn’t wasted while waiting for global warming, local warming will do it for us in an immediately intensified yet Byzantine and somewhat steampunk circuit. More soldering and pipe tie-ins on Tuesday, while the hot water is useable now.
UPDATE: And then we got some weather. In the midst of bright sunshine it was spitting down rain on one side of the house and not the other.:

More Moawr: Blades

Five clips and a cable to drop the deck. The cable has a spring clip on the end that makes removal tedious and you have to compress a pulley in order to get some slack. Needle-nose Vise-Grips are your friend in all endeavors.

One 16mm socket to remove the blades and a flat-blade screwdriver and a wire-brush to remove all the caked-up vegetation-gunk that is glommed underneath the deck.

A (futile) trip to Home Depot to discover they didn’t have squat, and then a trip to Tru-Value to find the correct size, shape, and “Made in America” blades — you don’t see that too often anymore these days with steel tools and hardware! And at about only $12 each, cheaper then the non-fitting cheap blades at HD!

The old blades are hacked, but they have enough meat on them for a few more sharpening-cycles on the grinder, and from the new blades I have a pattern to grind-to.