But turning on the sprinklers revealed, once again, some of our sprinkler heads in the front yard were incapacitated. Every year, the first time we want to turn on our sprinklers, we have to go around with a little screw driver clearing the dead grass out of the pop-ups. Our heads in the front yard are god-knows-how-many-years old. We were shocked to find that those little brass heads still worked when we bought the house. Having resurrected the backyard last year, we'd survived long enough on the puny little sprayers and it was time to do something about them.
So Travis started digging. We both expected the risers to be PVC. We were wrong. This meant he had to dig all the way down to the laterals to splice in new heads.
And he had to dig very carefully. After all, we've spent plenty of labor and money to revive the grass out front -- killing weeds and filling in bald spots. So he had to peel out the lawn carefully so we could place it all back when we were done.
Of course, Pixie pitched in by supervising whenever I wasn't available to do so.
And these are what he dug out of the ground.
Let me clarify a little with a closeup. Those clumps you see on the risers aren't dirt. Travis has cleaned all the dirt off. The risers were most likely galvanized steel. This is what happens when galvanized steel is buried in soil -- wet soil that receives rain and irrigation -- for god-knows-how-many-years. In case you still haven't caught on yet, those clumps are rust and corrosion. Kids -- this is why you shouldn't use galvanized steel to run water lines. Ever. Or in places with high humidity. Ever. Or both. Duh.
And here's a closeup of the reason we have to go around cleaning out pop-ups every year. The head only manages to pop about an inch up. If we get lazy about mowing the grass in the middle of the summer, there's plenty of growth in one week to obscure the spray, giving us very odd watering patterns on the front lawn.
But have no fear. Travis is replacing these heads one-by-one with some elbow grease, a few PVC T's and elbows, and a bit of PVC cement. We got these Hunter heads from a specialty irrigation and landscaping supply store, Ewing, our landscaper referred us to. Travis is convinced these are higher quality than what you get at Home Depot. (They are what we have installed in the backyard but a wider diameter. I can at least attest that I've been very pleased with them.) He finished up one zone and tested it out this weekend. He'll wrap up the second zone next weekend. No leaks so far at least.