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Posted by Rob in Washougal, WA on 10/23/2018 6:04:56 PM

Summer has come and gone. We were busy through out though, no moss growing under our feet. If we weren't doing things on the property then we were off traveling in the RV someplace. Where to begin for the update...


The upper rock wall is done. We rented a mini-excavator over Memorial Day weekend and got it done. No small feat. That was running the machine and working sunrise to sunset. My arm's felt like they couldn't move anymore, sore to do anything. Advil does wonders thankfully. After the wall itself was done, it was another week of grading and picking out rocks to get the ground ready for planting grass seed and then spreading grass hay over the whole thing. 

After grading it was time to get on with installing the irrigation pipe and direct burial electrical cable along with 5 hydrants around the property so we could have power and water in far corners of the property. We also put 7 zones of watering in the vineyard so all of the existing and new vines could get watered regularly (12 zone system in total). It took us a month to get all the pipe underground, put the zone wiring in, put the electrical line in, do all the junctions and connections, test it all, and then get it all buried. That's all the stuff you don't see! The above ground work still needed to be done which was putting the finishing touches on the multi-function hydrants, which had the water spigot on one side of a 4x4 post, and an electrical quad plex with outdoor cover on the other side. Our well provides outstanding flow (we have a 119 gallon pressure tank on the line as well), which is great for pushing water all around the property but the high pressure means we had to use pressure reducers on all of the drip lines. We laid out almost 2,500 feet of drip hose and every single plant and tree that we have planted is now watered with a dripper, resulting in over 500 drippers dripping. We also cut and drilled 450 special home made deep watering pipes to put the drippers inside with a 45 degree angle cut on the bottom and multiple holes on the side, with a cap put on the top to keep dirt and bugs out of the pipe. I'll post a picture of what they look like. Though well water is 'free', we like the water to get down into the roots directly. 

My wife had to put a mesh netting all the way around the vineyard to keep the wild life out. Unfortunately we didn't think of birds as being a potential problem and sure enough, in mid-September while she was preparing for a first small grape harvest, a flock of crows decided otherwise, and in 24 hours ate every last grape that was waiting for harvest. She cried for an hour solid she said when the issue was discovered. Maybe it was the $300 in equipment that has ended up sitting in their box now on a shelf or the class she had signed up, that while informative didn't mean much when you have no grapes for production. Disappointing to say the least. 

The septic system is fully installed and working now. We did a go-around dance with the county on getting it approved. The county initially approved it before I buried it all, but then came back via telephone and asked if I was on the state approved list of installers. I said no, of course not, I am a resident owner installer of a single gravity feed family system (ie I can do it myself). They said I still needed to take the test, and it required a proctor fee followed by a state grading fee to verify I passed. I hedged my bets and took the test and only paid the proctor fee. While taking the test, it was obvious the test was for a contractor level person, asking questions about pressure systems, raised bed systems, and the like, more about other systems than the gravity feed single family residential system that I had installed. So long story short, I balked at paying to have the test actually graded, and spelled out in an email to the original inspector why I believe based on the county and state code that they were forcing me down a flawed path. It took a month but they ultimately came back with a compromise that they would approve my install if I agreed to an 18-month inspection by a county list approved contractor. I said fine. After that was all said and done, it was the very dry month of August here in the NW so we didn't do the final grading and put grass seed down over the drain field until the end of September. 

In the aerial photo I'll post, you'll notice a number of RV's in the driveway... it was Labor Day weekend so we had multiple friends/family and their rigs up for the long weekend to relax and enjoy the great outdoors with no fee's attached.  Campgrounds on long weekends can be so crowded!

Photos

Getting the vines in the ground
Read some research reports about deep watering systems so we created our own pipes to stick in the ground with a dripper in the pipe itself.
Aerial view over Labor Day weekend.
Renting a trencher was faster than trying to use our tractor's backhoe. Less mess as well.
Septic tank ready for inspection and then burial
Grow tubes for the grape vines... keeps them protected from the elements and mammals both.



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