Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tweaking the greenhouse fountain

The lovely flowing fountain

that accompanies us as we
approach the greenhouse:
had ceased to accompany...just dried up...
So I checked the usual suspects: circuit breaker at the panel okay, GFCI switch tested normal.
Next step, open up the junction box to check for current at the wires feeding the pump:


With the switch turned on, current tests normal, but wait a minute...
Just loosening and tightening the wire nuts causes the pump to spring to life, so the diagnosis is: faulty continuity in the connectors...Problem solved, I tightened everything up and went on my way.
Except 1 week later I notice the pump is down again! Okay, go through the routine again; circuit panel, GFCI switch, pull open junction box...and everything is fine except no pump. So this time I open the reservoir to inspect the pump:
Pulling the pump out and prodding the impeller with a screwdriver seems to unstick the pump and it begins whirring away normally.
 After cleaning and reassembling the pump, it goes back into the tank,
which gets refilled,
and the brook murmurs to life once again:


Tweaking the boiler

It's been said that a classic story needs 5 elements: a Work, Workers, a World, Words, and Wisdom.
In other words: a plot, characters, a setting, a style and a theme.*
"All About Boilers" is not going to be the title of a best seller, but for the person who will have to meet this boiler, this blog post will be one chapter of a favorite bedtime story.
This boiler has a back story that hasn't been written yet. Who wants to embark on writing the equivalent of "War and Peace" for an ensemble of mismatched characters in a tragi-comedy of errors in a edenic setting where the stakes are, frankly, inconsequential?
Anyway, our chapter opens on a scene where the boiler is failing to fire because the "flow switch" is is failing to tell the gas valve to open and let gas go to the burners and 'fire up!' The flow switch senses that the pump is 'on', thus, flow is happening, so 'switch the gas on!'
But this flow switch is not working because the installer neglected to remove one of the two alternate paddles the part is shipped with to fit different sized pipes different systems are piped with. So no flow will be sufficient to signal the gas to turn on when two paddles are in place instead of one correctly sized paddle.

Above, one can see the second paddle removed from the switch.
Below, the fitting where the flow switch is to be installed and another fitting below that where a superfluous and dysfunctional thermometer has been removed and will be replaced with an additional air vent to address issues that belong to the tragi-comic backstory.

A new flow switch is installed by the expert and conscientious worker pictured above. The old one will be set aside as a back up, inasmuch as, with the extra paddle removed, it is still serviceable.
The sad backstory is for another day.
*thanks to Peter J. Kreeft in "The Philosophy of Tolkien" pg. 17

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SeaRock, before, just before, and just after Sunset

SeaRock, when it's just before sunset:
looking north towards the greenhouse along the Westerly Path.
Below, earlier in the day, the greenhouse and Point Lobos to the north, from above the garden shed along the Garden Path:
Inside the studio apartment
and bath: 
Outside the studio apartment: 
Later that same night, the moon was chasing the sunset:

See you soon!

Monday, January 14, 2013

look up

Sewer Repair

"oh, and by the way, there was some sewage spilling down the stairs out back," a guest said casually, one morning not long ago.
Part of the enviable job here is chasing the old cast iron sewer line from one replaced and repaired section to another, down the hill, under the stone walls and stairs, and on down towards the nether regions.
Every bend of the old cast iron, every joint, is
an opportunity for a rootlet to wheedle its way in and become an over-nourished root mass.
The nexus I unburied below the previous repair is a goldmine of cracks and crevices. At the 'wye', the roots had combined with a variety of 'flushable' products that should never be flushed, and had formed an impassable gridlock.  
Adding to the interest of the enviable job here is the proximity of 3 electrical conduits just under the iron pipe, and an electrical ground box.
Looking back up the hill you see the stone wall and stairs under which the pipe has come.
Time to call out the pros!
After the dirty dig, these guys had the iron cut and the problem junction replaced with a plastic sweep in under 15 minutes. I'll spare you further details, and let you just enjoy the pictures.

The truly enviable part of this job is looking up after the work is done: