Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Great Trenching Project

     A couple weeks ago, when the temperature in our little town reached 114, we had no water.  There is nothing like living in triple digits with an abundance of livestock and no water for three days to help you learn not to take your water supply for granted. We are blessed to live in this country and have plumbing. I'm sure we will take it for granted again but for now we are very aware of how fortunate we are.
     We soon discovered that the problem was due to some type of wiring failure. This was good news as it meant that we did not have to replace our well pump or dig a new well. However, it also meant that we needed to replace the wiring as locating the actual failed wire was going to be nearly impossible.
     Originally we had decided to hire a professional to dig the trench from our well to the electrical box in the garage. But, they must have been overwhelmed with other projects because they never showed up on the appointed day and never returned our calls. I will say the company we were waiting on came highly recommended so perhaps there was some type of communication breakdown there. We set out to fix the problem by ourselves. Well, really John did all the work and had all the know how. I just kind of fetched things like Gatorade and shovels.
     I don't know how many feet the trench was from end to end but close to 400' I think.
The trench through the pasture. Trenching in a straight line is much harder than it seems.
John trenched on both sides of the fence and then we hand dug under the fence.

Another view of the trench through the pasture. It may not look like it is very far from one end to the other but our "240' fish tape" was too short and we had to cut the conduit at one point so we could pull the wire through but then only one wire emerged and we had to start all over again. It was a long day.
Setting the conduit into the trench to make sure it was going to be OK with a couple curves. The trench is 18" deep but this photo makes it look much more shallow.
Measure twice and cut once. Well, we measured and measured and measured and still had way more wire than needed but we wanted to make sure not to short ourselves. The prospect of pulling the wire through the conduit a third time was enough to cause us to be overly cautious.
The section from the pasture fence across the drive was was easier and much shorter so the "fish tape" worked without any problems.
John was very clever at making the big curve we needed around the side of the garage to get to the electrical box.
Once the trench was complete under the fencing; the conduit came in from both sides. One pipe across the pasture and one across the driveway. By separating the pipe at this point and placing a Christy box around the conduit and wires you create an access point for future problems and hopefully future fixes.
A closer look at the individual conduit pipes coming into the future Christy box site.
The far end of the trench, way out by the well pump, with a support 2 x 4. Although it looks a bit like a grave marker, the 2 x 4 is just protecting the conduit until the future well house is built.
Soon we will build a well house that will protect the electrical supply for the well and keep the goats safe too. At the moment the fencing you see in the background has been secured around the whole site.
Although it looks a bit like a disaster in this photo the wires have been cut to the right length and the conduit is now buried. Soon we will build a house around this area too.
I neglected to take a photo of the area before the Christy box was put into place and the trench closed back in but this gives you an idea at what it looks like now. Notice the full bucket of water! Oh it is so nice to be able to give the animals fresh water.
The trench is all filled in but still visible. I will place some large boulders along the trenched area to mark it for future access or avoidance.
The trenched area across the driveway is barely visible now, gravel does wonders at hiding holes. This area is a very straight shot from the corner of the garage to the Christy box so it will not need any markers for future access.

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