Spring- officially here & chasing a leak underground

They are Back!
Well it is official, Spring is here because OUR osprey is back. Who cares about Belle? Actually it has been great to watch her progress, as of yesterday she was in CT. Ours was spotted yesterday as he/she flew right over the maintenance building. One of my favorite osprey memories is watching one fly into a dead tree right next to the shop trying to break off a branch to add to the nest. It was impressive.

Murph mowing greens for second time this week
The season has officially begun in my opinion because we started mowing. We tried an official "opening day" once but it really does not work when you are open all the time. There is something special when the greens get mowed and start to look and feel like greens again. We mowed Monday, then rolled Tuesday and then mowed again Thursday. I applied the Spring seed head suppression application. This product keeps the annual bluegrass (Poa Annua) from seeding. This will keep the greens smoother through the seeding process. As we convert the greens to more and more bentgrass this application will change to a Poa killing application. Well maybe not killing but certainly one which will put a severe hurting on it. Right now we still have a bit too much to take such extreme measures. The next post will explain how this product works and show some of the test plots we have set up to test the effectiveness and best timing for it.

With an 81 year old irrigation system that has main lines about 6 feet deep there are bound to be issues right? One of the main issues is that we drain really well and if there is a small leak we never know where it is. We have a small submersible pump in a small well that maintains the pressure in the system, 115 psi for those interested. For context the pressure on municipal water supply to your residence is 40-70 psi. We live and die by the cycle of this pressure maintenance pump (pm pump, or pm cycle). It tells us how tight the system is and whether or not we have any leaks and how bad. The pumps have settings for major blow outs and will hopefully shut down before doing extreme damage to the ground around the break but for smaller leaks they do not know the difference between that and us watering. Hence the reliance on the pm cycle. Historically we start the season in the high 20's and eventually settle out in the mid teens. Murph and I look at this cycle constantly. It is usually the first thing I do when I wake up, checking the irrigation system to see what kind of day I will be in for. We live every day waiting for failure due to the age of the system. 

I can honestly say this is the most excited I have been for a leak

Well, last Fall the pm cycle dropped to 4 minutes for weeks on end. We drove around and around looking for weepy heads and leaking pipes to no avail. We came up with a plan to open the system in small stages hoping to pinpoint the leak. This never really came to fruition since a couple of the fairway valves would not hold and filled with water against our best efforts. The newer system from the 90's is plastic and really the worst part of our system or the part that gives us the most trouble. The glued joints on this system are starting to fail and there are literally thousands of them so our worry was that maybe we do not have one big break on abandoned galvanized pipe down deep but many small leaks on plastic all over. After 4 days of tinkering with the system partially filled up, at an increased pressure of  120, the leak finally improved enough to show itself. I can honestly say this is the most excited I have been for a leak. At least I can stop worrying about where and when and whether the pm pump is going to burn up from such a short cycle.  

With a big storm predicted for today and tomorrow the sunrise was really good. Cheryl took these above. Mine are below and were too early and I was already off to work when it peaked.

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