Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Slow Steady Progress on Days Four & Five
Days four and five have brought slow but steady progress. When dealing with heavy stones piled one on another, all held in place with only a relatively few dabs of cement, its best not to get in a rush.
Even so, the primary wall of the waterfall is up and in place, as well as all the basic plumbing for the eventual waterworks. Speaking of which, on the fly we came up with a markedly different idea on how to manage the flow of water from where the pump pushes it to the top of the wall where gravity then takes it on back down to the basin.
Edgar has the most experience on the subject so he is in charge of making the water drip and splash the way we want it to; and so when he asked me what my thoughts are on how I’d like to see the water make its merry way from top to bottom I gave him my wish list:
“Okay Edgar, you asked for it. If possible, I’d like to see the water come down the rocks by three distinct methods—first, a nice slow drip all the way across the wall; and then I’d like to see a full on waterfall from the very top splashing all the way unobstructed to the surface of the pond; and finally, I’d like to see a series of catch pools, maybe three or four in all, staggered from top to bottom, each emptying into the one below until the final pool empties back into the pond. What do you think? Is it possible?”
He never answered me, already completely distracted by the possible solutions racing around the creativity racetrack in his head. By the end of the day he had it, and working with Eddie, the two of them had the primary components in place.
Each style of falling water would have its own water source. That means the main up pipe had to be split into five separate ones. One is an overflow, to allow for excess water pressure, if there is any, to bleed it back into the pond. Another pipe empties to the back of the falls when drainage is desired. And finally, the last three are each routed separately to the top of the falls; one each for the three distinct flows of water down the rock face.
When viewing all the convoluted piping and valves, none of which has actually been tested yet, it all seems very Rube Goldberg to me. And at this point we still are not sure how the water will actually flow. I imagine we will tweak it as we go. We’ll put the pieces together, turn on the water and adjust as necessary.
The drip pipe solution is probably the easiest one to make work. They simply placed the pipe horizontally along the top where drip holes will be strategically drilled along the length of the pipe.
The top primary falls will be the last thing we work on and will likely require the most adjustments. The top basin will have to be perfectly leveled so that the water empties evenly from side to side.
The catch pool pipe is probably the easiest to put in place since all it must do is to empty into the top catch pool. The concern then will be properly attaching each successive catch pool so that they correctly empty into the one below.
The staggered catch pool idea was updated by me when a flash of inspiration struck me while viewing the rock wall from within the porch. I realized that the view of the wall was not quite correct since only about 70% of it could be seen from there. The answer was obvious: extend the wall to the viewer’s right by adding an angle of stones. To get the water to it the obvious answer is to let the water flow into the final catch pool installed on the face of the new wall. Problem solved? We’ll see. At this time it’s still all hypothetical.
Power to the pump is now complete including all the camouflaging. One of my concerns had been how to hide the pump’s power cord. It runs necessarily from the pump and then up and over the side of the basin to where it plugs into a power receptacle installed on the mango tree by Edgar. I made it plain that did NOT want to see that cord. The next morning I took my coffee outside to where the boys had already been at work for over an hour. I was delighted to see that the black cord was nowhere to be seen. In its place was a very convincing tree root extending from the tree and right into and along the pond wall down to the pump. Mission accomplished—the power cord is now encased inside that “root” of cement.
Another unique feature of the rock wall is the pair of posts bookending the wall like structure. These posts are critical supports without which the heavy stack of rocks they support would surely eventually tip over. These posts, now decorated to resemble two concrete bamboo logs contain two thick steel rebars. The rebar goes both deep straight down into the soil as well as at a right angle into the mound of earth behind them. Additionally, horizontal sections of additional rebar runs from post to post every two feet or so. Now that the cement has set up, that wall is not going anywhere. It will be right where it is until someone purposely demolishes it.
Today, day six, we should start the construction of the three waterfall systems, as well as work on the completion of the sides of the stone wall by adding additional large boulders to try to create an illusion of thickness, to give the flat stack of stones more of a three-dimensional effect.