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Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Agave Menace - a "wipe out" situation.

Today we started to remove infected and dead agave. The infection is the infection of a small beetle which bores it's way into the Agave roots, lays eggs, and then, boom, masses of hungry larvae.

Lucas and Viktor are starting to fill the "skip". You can see the eaten trunk - no white flesh - all putrid and dead flesh.

In these two pictures you can see how the larvae have eaten from the root base out into the leaves. This results in total destruction and death in 12 months to 18 months.

 Viktor clearing the "debris".
 In the "skip".
The white part is the healthy part of the Agave. The brown part is a soft mushy purification caused by hundreds of these larvae eating and defecating.
It seems as though infection is extremely heavy, This  wipe out is underway, though it is still largely invisible. 

Viktor has created a mixture which is toxic to the larvae - a mixture of garlic, cayenne pepper, tobacco and vinegar. We will protect what we can.

We are taking action before we are faced by masses of cactae in various stages of death and putrification.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Ram Pump repair

The "seal" is the most important part of the pump - it produces the "ram" part of the Ram Pump, blasting the water into the compression chamber - the longish tube. !

This is a picture of Andreas cutting a seal from old conveyor belt material. Note bleeding fingers. ! This is really solid material.

 The old seal - trashed. !
New seal fitted - it looks "rough" and that's no problem. The material is excellent for the job. Note: more blood. !
 Screwing down.
 And yes, she's fine - pumping at 4 atmospheres, 4 bar.


Friday, 21 October 2016

San Pedro. What a beautiful flower.

Building a sluice gate and weir on the Irrigation Line

There was a lot of water trapped behind a wall, so,
We took the wall away, and,
noticed again how big the wall had been, and

we built a new and different wall

with a sluice gate to close off the irrigation line in times of flood, and to allow the water to flow directly to the river where the big wall had previously been.
Time to go home
This is a weir, where the water overflows to the river. You see the new wall under construction.
The flood gate in position.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The ravages of the Agave beetle.

This is horrible plaque and we have very little defence against it. 

The beetle bores into the base of the Agave Cactus, lays eggs and then the eggs hatch into larvae which consume the centre of the Cactus over a period as long as a year, or maybe more, depending on the size of the Cactus. 

I fear that we have infection throughout the valley, and, on the plus side, we have an Agave nursery for replacements. 

We tried to kill the larvae with jabon sulphatico, sulphur soap, It does not work.

More adventures on The Irrigation Lne.

To continue the "saga". We lost a rod and it's end in the pipe leading into the big "crystal tank", then, the next day, we lost another rod and another "end" in the pipe leading out of the crystal tank. 

Obviously we needed to upgrade our rodding system. Victor undertook the job of making two new ends - here are pictures:
The large one. This is a good strong construction.
Here you see Victor feeding rods to Errol who is in the "tank". 
Inside the mountain.
I have ordered 48 new rods so we will be able to replace and upgrade all the substandard fittings and rods. With luck they will arrive in the next few days.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Irrigation Line maintenance after "the flood".

With so much water forcing it's way down "the line", maintenance was the order of the day. Joe re-assembled the pump and there was not enough water to run it - so - rodding the pipe again. This time Honsa and Errol.

At this next section, the two Diegos from El Mirador house joined us.
Now Joe is in the water rodding backwards since we seem to have a blockage of some sort.
Well, sometimes things go wrong, and we lost a rod in the pipe, so, Diego, Diego, Jochan and Daqlin are exposing the pipe so that we can make a "surgical" cut and remove the rod. !
In the meantme I used this flower pot to block water entering the "crystal tank", as I suspected a leak. 
 I was right - the water drained away.
This is one hole and this morning, I found another on the other side. I filled them both with quick underwater setting Yesso and some rag.
 Water levels up and Ram Pump on.


Ram Pump break down after the Flood. !

With so much water flowing up the irrigation line there was bound to be some sorting out to do.On Saturday morning the Ram Pump had stopped because of wear. It is a hard life in El Rio. !
Joe sets to work on the Ram Pump.

You can see the water squeezing out under pressure.

Lifting the lid. !
This is how it looks. Actually it is a simple mechanism.
Here you can see how the white rubber seal is being eaten where it meets the metal.
 Joe looks satisfied with progress.
 This picture shows the worn screw thread.
 And here are the parts.
Joe and I drove to Sorbas and ordered three sets of spare parts from Pedro, "the metal man". ! 

We are getting stronger rubber, stainless steel bar threaded at the top of the bar and at the bottom of the bar, and the middle bit to remain solid metal, unthreaded, and so less liable to such fast wear. 

When we came back the water had disappeared. ! See next entry on the blog. !