Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two hours of work becomes six.

Can wear and tear occur even when a piece of equipment goes unused? Of course. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it is to be expected.

The pernicious weeds are flowering already and I’ve been waiting for that sunny day when the air temperature hits 70°F and there is a relative surety that the skies will remain clear for a couple days. Today was that day and the fifty-gallon PTO sprayer with a pistol nozzle attachment was my weapon of choice.

This sprayer came with the place, and up until now, the only thing that has been in it is compost tea and soluble lime, and even then, I can say that I have not used it more than twenty times in seven years, and not at all last year. So, I rather assumed I would be good to go, except as I engaged the PTO to disperse the last two thirds of my dual mixture of salts, something in the PVC aspects of the lines gave way.

I got wet.

Now, normally I wouldn’t worry about a little dampness, but packaging labels had expressed how important it was to not stay wetted too long unless one wanted (and should) get a bit wetter from a garden hose or some such source of plain water. And, had DW been about, that is precisely the action I would have been encouraged to take. However, alone, I was more concerned about the thirty or so gallons of pricey cargo that, should it be leaked to the ground in one location, might be more than that area could endure for a good many years after. Also, in order to fix the sprayer while the sun still shone, it was clear that the plumbing would need to be completely dismantled.

So I found some buckets.

And I got to cutting 1/2” and 3/4” hose so that I might unscrew various plastic parts. And then I unscrewed plastic parts from other plastic parts in order to replace the broken piece. There were several separate pieces when all was done, yet nothing too complicated, or so I thought, and so I didn’t diagram the dismantling.

Replacement parts acquired, I sought help from the manual that came with the sprayer. A saving grace, if I understood how the generic diagram of sprayer principles applied to my particular set-up. But I guessed as good as I could, and once the plumbers putty dries, I’ll engage in a little trial and error.

In the meantime, I have a nice backpack sprayer and as of this writing about twenty gallons still to use.


Crash said...

Hmmm. Why not just take your wide mower and mow them a few times per season, just before they go to seed? No dangerous sprays.

bastinptc said...

Good question, Crash. Monitoring invasive species plants over a fourteen acre tract of land can be a chore. All of these plants are perennial, so cutting them has little or no effect except to stress the plants into bonsai type plants. You can't locate them to see them go to seed then.

The first year or two we tried using acetic acid (vinegar)on those plants too big to pull out by hand (digging them up spreads and plants dormant seeds) to no avail. In fact, it only gave the plants a chance to 'regroup'. Now, after four years of an annual spray, I am almost back to where we began.

I don't like the sprays, and spot spray only. Plus, I never use them around food plants. But to not use them here means decimation of pastures by weeds amuck. Mind you, we're not talking dandelions here. A plant like Scotch Broom will make land nearly uninhabitable for animal or other plant.