Friday, September 26, 2008

The Culvert

The Culvert - it sounds somewhat like the title to a horror movie, however, it was just another chapter in our life at Muddy Acres. The old culvert over which we need to drive to gain entrance to our property was a bit under-sized, considering the farm equipment that needs to gain access to our fields. We had been meaning to up-grade this detail for quite some time, and this September we had our opportunity.

First we needed to remove the old drain pipe. This task proved quite easy, given Eric's ability with the back-hoe. I was the unlucky soul who got to stand knee-deep in the mud. We were left with an open ditch, not quite a comforting thought, since we had no access to our driveway and needed to park our cars at our neighbour's place.

This is what things looked like at the end of the first day:

Thankfully, the sun was shining just like the forecast said it would, and we were able to place in the new, larger drain pipe. At some point, Eric was digging, asking me, "How much deeper do I have to go?", at which point I got very worried, mainly because I had no clue! I thought he had this figured out! Our measuring method wasn't very sophisticated, but it worked. We just took a long piece of wood and marked it with our desired depth, and yours truly, donning her best pair of rubber boots (a country girl can't own too many pairs of rubber boots!) waded into the muck and gauged the depth. ("Yes, dear, the mud is wallowing in over the top of my boots. I think you can stop digging now!")

We were precise, too, because when the new pipe was lowered in, we had a good fit with nice drainage.

We lined the base with some geo-textile membrane, probably over-kill, but we had some left over from our patio-building exploits, and lowered the pipe into the ground using chains and the back-hoe. We had 2 sections of pipe, since we couldn't get one the full length, so we had to make a join using a huge gasket specially made for the pipe. The gasket is made of hard plastic and joins at the top with 2 huge ties. It is ridged and lines up with 2 sections of ridges on either side of each piece, and it was a bit of a challenge to line everything up properly, but we managed without too many obsceneties. I had my doubts about the solidity of the gasket, but it was a seamless join and everything fitted together perfectly. Once the join was made, Eric was able to back-fill with the earth he excavated, and the ending of yet another project was celebrated. (And once again, when people asked how we spent the weekend, we just look at each other and grin: you had to be there to understand).

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