Decided to build a garage. Now the fun begins.

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South VA

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I don't know what "green" means on this one. Streamlight has several different models in that same application... my current one is a 61702

A very long overdue update and thank you for this little gem: Just to let you know, I ordered this when you first mentioned it, charged it up, and it’s been sitting on my desk since under a pile of stuff. Today I remembered that I had it and finally clipped it onto my hat to look under the dash at the trailer brake controller wiring, and have to say it is awesome!

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Thanks again for bringing it to my attention!
 

Keeper

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A very long overdue update and thank you for this little gem: Just to let you know, I ordered this when you first mentioned it, charged it up, and it’s been sitting on my desk since under a pile of stuff. Today I remembered that I had it and finally clipped it onto my hat to look under the dash at the trailer brake controller wiring, and have to say it is awesome!

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Thanks again for bringing it to my attention!
Well you are very welcome!!
 
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South VA

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Yesterday I took a step (admittedly small, but a step nonetheless) towards running power to the garage.

The short version is that I actually dug a hole. Broke ground, as it were.

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The long version:

First off, we figured out a much better route through the garden. It will bypass most of the rock walkway and all of the plank walkway. Most importantly, we can completely avoid having to cross the main power line from the power pole to the house.

Almost as exciting as avoiding the main power line, is that it looks as though I may not have to hand dig the entire length of the trench through the garden. I'll be able to use the trencher for all but maybe five feet.

By cutting off of a couple of clumps of Nandina (which I'm told will grow back), removing a section of fence, taking up some rocks, and removing a couple of landscaping timbers, I should be able to maneuver the trencher through the garden. A far better scenario that I had been envisioning. It will be messy, but easier to put the garden back together once the conduit is in the ground.

Fingers and toes crossed.

The remaining obstacle is locating the secondary power line from the house to the barn. Miss Utility wouldn't locate it because the power co-op didn't install it.

Fortunately, my GF has a rough idea of where it is, and the electrician that installed it is her cousin. It seems that everyone around here is related in some fashion. Anyway, yesterday I talked with said electrician who confirmed that the line is a direct bury, rather than in conduit. Locating it by digging by hand therefore has to be done very carefully, as the ground is pretty hard and a bit rooty.

The power line shares a trench for most of its length with a water line to a frost free hydrant at the barn. My GF suggested, just for fun, dowsing for the water line. And why not? So she took her pair of dowsing rods, made from coat hangers, and 'located' a few spots, which lined up pretty well with each other, and with where she remembered the line was buried. She did this with her eyes closed and the rods held loosely, walking very slowly.

I am skeptical but not dismissive of such things. The rods stayed parallel and then crossed. She repeated this several times, at different points along a line. I know that she didn't peek, nor did she count steps to where she thought it 'should' be. That's not how she rolls.

I marked the spots where the rods crossed with some wooden stakes, and started to dig where the new power line should cross the existing lines. I kept thinking about hitting the unprotected power line, and stopped after going down about eight inches. I called the electrician back and asked him if he could locate the line. He said he could trace the wire. Why I didn't ask him when I talked with him at first, I don't know. A senior moment, perhaps. The good news is that he's coming out in a few days to have a look. Then we can get on with the trenching, in earnest.

And I'm very curious to see how my GF's dowsing the water line correlates with his wire tracing.

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PlayingWithTBI

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Most importantly, we can completely avoid having to cross the main power line from the power pole to the house.
Sounds good - enjoy! Just a caution; you can't have more than a total of 360° in bends in one pull, without a junction box or "pull El". Examples are 4 - 90° elbows, 3 - 90s and 2 - 45s, etc.

My GF suggested, just for fun, dowsing for the water line. And why not?
It really works! I've done it before too. It works better if the water is flowing through the pipe.

A little story; we used to manage pistachio orchards in CA along with our own. One 40 Acre plot had a well which couldn't keep up with the demand for the trees (even though they are a "desert tree", they love water when in full production). We called out a "Well Witcher" to look at it. He charged ~$500 (IIRC) if he finds water, otherwise it's free. He walked all over the orchard with his witching rods until he found some underground streams. Then traced them until they crossed each other. After that, he and his wife sat down at that spot where he held a long pole over that spot. She took a stop watch and timed it so, whenever he said "mark" she wrote down the time. The rod would start bouncing up and down for a while, then stop. He said "mark" and watched the rod until it started bouncing up and down again, rinse and repeat. After some time they stopped, his hands hurt like hell from that. Anyway, every second was ~10' (IIRC), he added up the times it stopped and calculated the distance. He said, you'll get about 1200 gallons/minute if you drill about 300' right here (the existing well only produced about 600/min). It was 20 rows down, 4 trees in the orchard. I'll be damned, it worked! Sorry for the derail...
 
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South VA

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Sounds good - enjoy!

Thanks! I'm feeling a whole lot better about this now that the route is sorted out.

Just a caution; you can't have more than a total of 360° in bends in one pull, without a junction box or "pull El". Examples are 4 - 90° elbows, 3 - 90s and 2 - 45s, etc.
I didn't realize that. I'm thinking we'll wind up with <360º, but this is good to know.

The trench will deflect slightly at a couple of otherwise straight sections, but not by much. Hopefully not enough to make a difference. I suppose that worst case, we could put a pull el inside the water valve box where the water line will connect for a new frost free hydrant at the corner of the garage. The electrical conduit and new water line will share the trench most of the way to the garage, if that makes sense.
It really works! I've done it before too. It works better if the water is flowing through the pipe.

A little story; we used to manage pistachio orchards in CA along with our own. One 40 Acre plot had a well which couldn't keep up with the demand for the trees (even though they are a "desert tree", they love water when in full production). We called out a "Well Witcher" to look at it. He charged ~$500 (IIRC) if he finds water, otherwise it's free. He walked all over the orchard with his witching rods until he found some underground streams. Then traced them until they crossed each other. After that, he and his wife sat down at that spot where he held a long pole over that spot. She took a stop watch and timed it so, whenever he said "mark" she wrote down the time. The rod would start bouncing up and down for a while, then stop. He said "mark" and watched the rod until it started bouncing up and down again, rinse and repeat. After some time they stopped, his hands hurt like hell from that. Anyway, every second was ~10' (IIRC), he added up the times it stopped and calculated the distance. He said, you'll get about 1200 gallons/minute if you drill about 300' right here (the existing well only produced about 600/min). It was 20 rows down, 4 trees in the orchard. I'll be damned, it worked! Sorry for the derail...
Not a derail - I started it!

That's a pretty cool story. I've heard enough similar stories to believe that it does work, at least for some folks. Guess one has to have the touch.

We're going to try it again with the hydrant turned on, so the water's running through the pipe.
 

Keeper

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My power lines got buried a while back by Dominion Power. There was a septic line that runs up to a drain field that the new power line needed to cross right near the cabin. No lie, the foreman pulled an old marker flag out of the ground that I use to mark yellow jacket holes. It's 18" long or so, metal with a little plastic flag on it. He bent it, walked around the area in question based on my recollection of where the line should be and marked the spot for his crew to do the hand digging. Bam! Dead spot on.
 

South VA

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Decided to keep digging, and found it.

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Just shy of 24" down, in some pretty hard digging.

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Those two stakes mark the line according to dowsing. The actual water line was less than 3" off of that line.

Close enough.

She also saved her cousin the electrician a trip out here to trace the wire.

Of course, this could have been a matter of luck, since she knew generally where the line ran, within five or six feet. But I'm not willing to bet money that it was pure luck. Truth be told, I'm impressed.

Now we can start clearing a path through the garden for the trencher.

Progress!
 

South VA

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Onward towards the garden.

We cleared most of the way from the yard to the garden this morning, before the sun reached it.

Pulled out a section of fence, cut down some nandina, pulled up a brick border, and removed a layer of rock where the trench will go through two sections of path.

Before:

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Fence is out, and brick border starting to be taken up. That clump of nandina to the left of the power pole needed to come out.

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Two clumps of nandina are gone, cut off at the ground, and the brick border is removed.

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There's a layer of rock (not sure what size it is) on top of a layer of old carpet that was put down in the late 70s to keep grass from coming up through the rock. It worked pretty well, but is a pita to deal with. I'll have to cut out the sections where we remove the rock, so the carpet doesn't get tangled in the trencher.

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So the path is basically clear up to the garden proper, where the fence was removed.

This next section, in the foreground, is where the large rocks are. It will still be a bear, but I'm very glad we didn't follow the original route I had planned, as that would have been even worse.

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It's been getting hot lately, and promises to get hotter. This little project should have been done during the winter; but no, there were other things going on, and I didn't really grasp the amount of effort involved. Had I done so, this would have been started a few months ago. Ah well.

My GF tolerates the heat much better than I do, but it's hot enough to bother her too. So we decided to work at it in the mornings before the sun hits the garden, a little bit at a time. If we stay at it, we should have a path cleared to the house by the end of next week. We'll see.

I'll also go to the rental place and have a look at the ditch witch ahead of time, to make sure the path we're clearing will be large enough, and have enough maneuvering room. Probably should have done that already, come to think of it.

No matter. We're moving ahead.
 

PlayingWithTBI

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We set a new temperature record 2 days ago, should have made its way out to you guys about now. Good luck with that!
Meh - we're already hitting over 110° this past week. We just stay out of the sun in the morning, hibernate in the afternoons. At least our steaks get done quicker on the grill :biggrin:
 
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