Monday, June 02, 2008

Failure and Success

You know, when I think of a "rock garden", I think of a garden with a lot of rocks in it, and some moss growing on the rocks, and maybe some tiny little desert plants here and there.

Apparently, The Mrs. thinks of something completely different. More on that later.

I made a gigantic mistake this weekend. I decided to take the fambly fishing at a spot highly recommended by Carl, Jr. However, we decided to go in the morning before it got too hot, and so that we'd have the remainder of the day to finish up the rock garden. It was nice cuz we had the entire lake to ourselves. No other people fishing. No fish. Just us. We fished for a while, using every fancy lure in the tackle box, and then finally switching to worms. It was over an hour before we found a spot where the bluegills were nibbling.

They ate a lot of worms without ever getting hooked.

The Mrs. managed to catch two fish. One was a dead trout that was all tangled in fishing line. The other was about a 7" catfish. These are her first two catches in Colorado.

Now, for some reason, The Mrs. got it in her head that catfish are somehow too dangerous to touch. So she sent HannahC running over to the playground to fetch me to deal with it. I was watching MaxieC on the swings, as he got kinda bored with not catching anything. The little train that runs around the park was broken due to mechanical difficulties.

We all hustled our sorry selves back to find The Mrs. standing on the shore with her line in the water with an unhappy-looking but remarkably calm catfish on the other end. This was very exciting, because I got to use for the first time my Berkley Pocket Lip Grip that I got for Christmas. Remarkably, it worked fabulously well. Held fishie-fishie nice and steady while I reached in with my Rapala stainless steel fishing pliers and removed the hook. However, being that I had been baking in the sun for a while, I neglected to use the built-in tape measure to measure the exact length. Such is life.

Much of the rest of the weekend was filled with rock garden activities. The Mrs. managed to spend about 3 hours in two trips to the nursery, where I was left to babysit MaxieC the whole time. That, of course, went very well. The rock garden is about 20'x8', and The Mrs. managed to cram in over $600 worth of plants. I didn't count, but it was probably 20 bushy plants and 40 groundcover plants. I took a bunch of pictures, but they're in the camera.

In the end, there were so many plants I had to go with micro-sprayers rather than individual drips. I put about 10 of them. It's a fabulously water-wasteful way to go, but these plants are all low-water varieties once they are established. So I'll water a bunch now and then back off in a couple months.

I also tackled the UV sterilization system in the back pond. I have one in the front and one in the back, and the one in the front always trips the GFI, so I have it unplugged. The one in the back was also unplugged, cuz it didn't seem to do anything.

However, upon discussing with Mugsy, I learned that these things were great for fighting algae, something I battle in both ponds. So, being a sooper-genius, I plugged the light back in, followed the wires to the lightbulb, and noted that the bulb was not glowing in the little window that they put there so you can see if your bulb is working. Online, I learned bulbs last ~1 year at best, so given that it wasn't new when I bought the house, and I've been here almost 2 years, it should be a bad bulb.

So, again with the sooper-geniusitude, I unscrewed the bulb and began to withdraw it from the sleeve. I pulled it out as far as it would go (it was 6" from a rock wall), and then tried to lift it out. I heard the wonderful tinkle of broken glass and water started to pour out.


It turned out the bulb was intact, but the glass sleeve around it was broken. After a while, I realized the bulb was too long to be removed out the end of the tube, so I had to figure out an alternate plan. After removing a lot more flagstone, I found that there was a big-giant tube that was close to three feet long down there with quick-disconnect compression couplings. So I took the whole thing out.

Turns out the lightbulb is also damn near three feet long.

I could read the make and model off the tube, so a quick check of the web noted that the glass sleeve (called a "quartz sleeve") is a frequently-replaced part. I also found my local pond store was a dealer for this model.

Cool. There are two local pond stores, and I didn't want to switch. Turns out the other one is also a dealer for this brand, too.

That stupid quartz sleeve cost $70.

Now, the water is much clearer, but I also dumped in a bunch of algicide, and changed the skimmer box filters (though not the bio-filter), so I don't yet know whether the UV is helping or not. Next week, I'll tackle the front pond. That one, I suspect either the transformer is bad or the quartz sleeve is broken and flooding the bulb electrical connection on account of the continual GFI trips. The pond store was out of transformers (more arriving tomorrow), so I put this off until next week.

The previous owner's solution to the GFI trip problem was to run an extension cord through the front porch door to plug into a non-GFI outlet inside the house. I'm hoping to do better than that.

1 comment:

Manly Lesbian said...

Need Pictures!