Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011
Category: Live from the Ranch
I asked Jonathan to take a picture for me today because my camera is missing. Again. Of course Jonathan tried to take a picture of me so I would have to talk all about myself. Lucky for me, I caught on to his plan and moved the bucket to block the view of my mug just in time. I think the picture turned out pretty well.

Jonathan and I spent the day helping out on pipeline work. We are in the process of setting the last few tanks and are coming to the home stretch. I know everyone is going to be very happy when this huge project is over. Stuart is already talking about a pool party in the next couple of weeks in one of the new tanks. Come one, come all, everyone is invited. Check the blog for further details...
Posted by Duke I. on 09/28/2011

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011
Category: Live from the Ranch
Pipeline Mess (I will explain)

Apologies for the unclear picture. It was taken at dusk and there was just not enough light to make it as crisp as I would have liked.

There was a leak in a water pipeline at the well head and water was seeping up from a depth of 40 inches and flooding a low area by my house. Cooper, Stuart and I spent a nice evening digging trying to solve the problem. First we brought in the backhoe to dig through the saturated clay. It would have been all but impossible to do it with shovels. It was tricky work in the backhoe because it is so powerful and pipeline systems tend to be very fragile. The rusted pipe sticking up in the middle of this photo is the well casing. This pipe houses the submersible pump which pressurizes the entire underground pipeline (Aprox. 25 miles). We dug down the side of this pipe (our first hole is the far one pictured) until we found the leak. The leak was cause by a broken 90 degree angle joint the was put in the pipe about a foot outside of the well casing. We had to constantly ladle the water out so we could be in the hole to work on the pipe We cut out the broken 90 and tried to get a new one glued in but the rising water was making this impossible so we decided to dig a new 'drain' hole (closer of the two holes pictured). While digging this drain, I hit the electric line that supplies the pump with power from the house (Black lines sticking out of the dirt in the left center of the photo). Yikes. While the water was draining into the new hole, we turned the power off and spliced the wires back together. Once the water slowed and we took care of the electric line, we tried to fix the pipe again. Our efforts proved futile and it was late so we decided to get at it again in the morning.

The next day we came up with the solution that is shown in the picture. As you can see the pipe comes directly out of the well without any turns. This was much more dirt work the next day but it is more sound solution and will last longer than trying another turn. The pipe is currently holding water and the cattle are happy again. The holes are still full of water so we will have to wait to backfill so that we can get a solid foundation for pipe. The whole project was a bit drawn out but ultimately we got it done so it will go in the books as a success.

Posted by Duke I. on 09/21/2011

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
Category: Live from the Ranch
Fuel Time

This is the other half of the equipment that Elliot and I used to do the infrastructure work out east. It is a big 924 Cat Wheel loader. It was the first time that I had driven one but luckily it was quite easy and we were able to get a lot of work done. It was a newer machine and ran like a  top but was unbelievably similar to a bucking horse when we were driving it between sites down the narrow two track roads. I rocked and rolled side to side, forward and backward. After the first day I came home with lumps on my head and bruises on my knees. Besides the rocky ride, it is incredible what modern machines are capable of.
Like Cooper wrote, our big bad Silver Dragon was a bit of a high maintenance and fragile dragon during the project. After a tire change, and two radiator changes, we thought we had beaten it. But, the project ended up with Elliot and I pulling the truck home behind the loader with two flat tires, a failing started and a burned up fuel pump. Pretty sad for the legendary Silver Dragon. It will be back. I guarantee it. Despite the troubles we were able to stabilize the ground around five tanks. For a few more years anyways. 
Posted by Duke I. on 09/14/2011

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