Last Sunday, the Farmer said it was time to do some Spring road maintenance.
Notice he didn’t say he’d decided, or it looked like a good day for it.
It was time.
You see, when the temperatures start to warm up and the snow & ice start to melt, the water on the uphill side of the road to our North place (fed by a spring that starts running in the ,… uh,… Spring) ….
….has to travel through a culvert under the road & continue to drain downhill towards the river on the other side of the road.
No, that’s not a lake.
Going to have a hard time getting into that pasture through that gate!
But as the temperature rises above freezing, then drops again, then rises & repeats, the water in the culvert can slow down & freeze up.
The water on the downhill side freezes over, creating nature’s own version of a skating rink, making it even more difficult for water to flow through the already partially plugged culvert.
The problem, is that once the culvert is plugged, the water has nowhere to go, but over the road.
Or under it.
Last year was the first year we saw this happen, & didn’t realize it until it was almost too late.
And you can see the soil erosion that’s taken place as well. That’s definitely something we want to avoid in the future.
So GP (that’s Grandpa for short!) came up with a plan…. and a darn good one at that!
The Farmer has a bulk water container on the back of our fire pickup. Add a pressure power washer with a hot water feature. Connect that to a generator on the back of the service pickup, and voila! Instant culvert cleaning ingenuity.
The end of the power washer, which is spraying hot water, goes into the end of the ice filled culvert on the downhill side. And the hot water starts melting the ice.
Once the power washer wand has created an opening and has gone as far as it can go, it gets pulled back out.
Then the rubber tubing coming from the power washer is attached to sticks of pvc pipe & fed through the culvert, melting more ice as it goes.
It makes pretty good time… the water is hot enough to melt a trench where the tubing is laying on the frozen ice.
As the ice continues to melt, the Farmer adds more sticks of the pvc pipe until the pipe eventually comes out the other side of the culvert.
When it does, the water starts flowing pretty quickly & creates pretty good suction too!
It doesn’t take long for the the force of the water rushing through the culvert to clean it out.
The Farmer caught those last two pictures after I left.
We had all planned to go to the 3pm matinee movie that afternoon (‘The Imitation Game’. Excellent must see, true story movie about World War 2. The kids got extra credit in history for watching!)
As often happens on The Farm though, the whole culvert cleaning process took a little longer than expected, & the Farmer had to meet me and the kids at the movie… 30 minutes into it. Ya, we’ll be catching that on on Pay-Per-View soon!
Out here, it’s not about beating Mother Nature. Because you’ll never win. It’s about respecting Her, and learning to work with Her.
Taking the difficulties She hands you & using them as an opportunity to challenge yourself and get creative.
You hear a lot about farmers ingenuity. And certainly I think farmers & ranchers are cut from a certain mold.
They enjoy making something out of nothing.
Planting a seed and harvesting a crop.
Or modifying a traditional wheat header on the combine to make it work to cut corn.
But I think they’re also born of a certain breed.
A breed that enjoys the challenges. Welcomes the chance to do better than they’ve done before. Looks for the invitation to nurture a culture & a hone a heritage.
We’re proud to be part of that heritage here on the Farm. And we take the responsibility seriously.
Even on a Sunday afternoon.
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I’ll see you soon on The Farm! -Shauna