Friday, February 05, 2010

Oy ve
Keeping these reserves going is often a challenge. We have had a spate here of stuff breaking down. Well, we have a lot of historic buildings. That is, "Old". Over the January break, the main water supply pipe at the School House failed in two places. This is a 1929 pipe, and it just erodes and fails. Back in 1992 we replaced the main line, but not the old pipes up to the house. Jaime del Valle, with help from Eric spent days digging toward running water. An old hot tub was moved. A deck taken apart. Finally, they found the hole where the pipe was just rusted thin and gave way. Jaime wrapped the pipe with inner tube rubber and placed a pipe repair clamp over it, and on the 5th try, it held. Then the pipe gave way again, and the digging and repair process went on once again. On Jan 10-11 the power went out for 24 hours during heavy rains. Our roads, culverts and drains all had to be dug out, and several trees or branches had to be cut out of the roads. On the 18th, a rare electrical storm wiped out our entry gate electronic panel, and as we found out, about 15 more gates all up and down Carmel Valley Road. Then the forced-air heater at the Stucco House failed (pilot valve assembly), and on the 28th the water heater failed (14 years old) and we picked one up in Salinas and Jaime and Eric replaced it. That
removal-replacement cycle revealed some stunningly corroded plumbing under the Stucco "Bell" house, but they also fixed a long-standing leak of hot air under the house. From Jan 18 to 24 we went 6.5" of rain to 14.5". About the same time the Hughes internet service failed at the Hallisey House. After 10 days of fruitless attempts, a tech slipped that by downgrading to a "slower" service, one could switch from a chronically broken transponder to one that worked. Turned out to be true. Then the power to the well there failed. At the breaker panel we had 220v and at the well the wire had 110v. Somewhere in a 300 foot run to the well house, under 3' of soil, an old romex (nope- not direct burial, not in conduit) wire had failed. Rod Lambert came over and helped us find the wire's route. We dug up a 3' x 4' x 5 ' hole to explore a likely junction, but came up with only a dead wire. So, we
replaced the entire underground run with code wire from the house to well. We rented a trencher and Jaime bucked out 4 wheelbarrows of rocks. Scott Eagle came over and put in new conduit and installed (finally!) code breakers, junctions, and the run of wire in conduit. Now, we think all the systems and houses are running. Knock on wood.
We are cleaning mud off the tractor, putting tools away and getting the chain saw sharp. Whew.