Thursday, October 19, 2006

This past weekend

With the balloons grounded on Saturday due to rain and lightning the planned remediation for Sunday looked to be in jeapordy! Yvonne was consulting the weather by the hour, I was checking the farmers almanac, and we were both appealing to the weather gods for clemency! About 5PM we both decided that at worst, the weather would be ok, and at best, beautiful, after all it never rains on site remediators (is this even a word?).

Sunday Morning: Wow, clear skies and I can see Mt. Taylor from the balcony (the West Mesa is about 1/3rd of the way there). I send off a quick post saying it's a go and start loading Cynomys. I pick up snacks, ice, and Graziella on the way out of town and then off to 98th street (closest point) to get water.

Getting water proved to be more of an issue than I thought possible. First of all the hydrant was missing one of the caps, not normally a problem as I need to screw on to one of the outlets, but instead of the standard 2 1/2" thread it is 2 1/4". Now this is a problem as the other caps are the standard 4" and 2 1/2". I can't take the 2 1/2" cap and block the 2 1/4" outlet, what to do??? Improvisation being the mother of, or at least fair haired stepchild of, invention steps in and an idea is born (I won't use the other appropriate terms for what we are about to do). We take off the 2 1/2" cap, jam it over the 2 1/4" opening and then get a piece of scrap 2x4 to wedge it on "tightly" to permit us to use the 2 1/2" outlet. It was vaguely tight, but tight enough to fill the tanker.

My o my what a beautiful day.....plenty o sunshine coming our way.....the tanker is full and we are on our way!

With full tanker we caught up with the rest of the volunteers and headed out to the site. Dick, Catherine and Priscilla had gone on ahead and were awaiting our arrival. Brandi, Sharon, Margaret, Barbara, Tim and Naomi were at the office awaiting our arrival. After checking in we met up with the rest of the crew at the site.

The snack table was set up, water, drinks, coffee and tea set out, but all were anxious to start, and to work we went!

I would guess that we had about 1/2 mile of road to erase. The city had scarified the road and provided us with a pile of brush to disguise the remediated area (and discourage driving over the planted roads). We had 5 pounds of natural grass seed to spread and a lot of mulch, the tanker was full of water and we were good to go.

Does this man look ready!

My first mistake was failing to get a broadcaster. While our volunteers did an excellent job spreading the seed, we obviously were far too generous on the distribution. In a global sense this is not a problem as it gives a better chance for something to grow, but we depleted the seed before even getting to the new development area. No problem! We can get more seed.

Even in the cool temperatures the sun was unremitting and frequent water breaks were of the essence.

Progress was good, and by "lunch" we'd finished 2 of the roads and cleared out most of the stockpiled mulch. The praire dogs were barking at us. Margaret was convinced (as was I) that they recognized the suburban and tanker and were giving the warning call that FLOOD BOY was back. It was reassuring to see them gathering straw for their winter's hibernation. We saw some hawks and Catherine spotted 2 Tarantulas!!!!!

After several hours the weather started moving in and Yvonne arrived for lunch.

Despite dire predictions from Barbara about us being toatsed like burnt marshmallos by the incoming storm we finished lunch and the remediation before the first drop of rain fell.

Kudos to all the volunteers who helped this happen!


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