Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer is here

We hit 117 yesterday.  It's only 110 right now but we have 3 more hours to heat up yet.  I'll bet all our landscape and construction people were glad this hit on a weekend when they didn't have to work out there in the sun.  Whew!!

You know it's HOT when:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Electrical lines

I had so many pictures and newsy bits to post today that I had to do it in two sections!  First:

Congratulations to our chief mechanic...Pascual.  Pascual has cleaned up the workshop and is steadily organizing the work area.  He's responsible for keeping ALL of the plethora of machines we have in working order.


I've posted his photo several times previously but it usually was when he was displaying his Harley at one of our car this.  :)

It takes a lot of specialized equipment to keep a golf course in good condition. I learned from Jim this morning, you need back up equipment for some chores too because if there is a break down, work must still continue until repairs are finished.


(Uh Oh.....I can see dirt spots on that picture above.  Time to clean my poor camera after being out in the field! )

Over at the tennis courts, I asked about why they meticulously framed out the concrete around the light poles.  Jim explained that the lights do sway in a strong wind.  If they were tightly surrounded by the concrete....especially along the back where the concrete would be thin, it would cause cracking.  I always learn something new on these tours!
Work continues at Palm Park to finish installing electrical lines.  Now that the pipes (conduit) are laid, they're filling in the trench.  I asked...why the water?.  That is to get the dirt to settle.  Then the rest will be filled in and compacted before paving over the area.  

Say hello to Joel and Faustino as they work on the project.

The electricity for Palm Park is coming from this transformer in the overnight parking area. 
It runs through these trenches all around the park.  I stood and looked at this maze of underground work and had to ask a question.  "They laid all this conduit through underground trenches, but how do you get the electrical cords through all that?"  Answer:  They have a gizmo that looks like a badmitton shuttlecock.  They tie a string to it and shoot it through the pipe with a blast of air.  When the gizmo pops up at the other end of the pipe, they simply pull the string with the electrical cable attached to it.  How clever!  Who thinks up all this stuff?!!!  This is a whole new world for little old me with my limited knowledge of the construction industry.
One more tidbit of knowledge for the day:  Sewer lines.  
After the sewer pipes are installed underground, they have to be tested before certified and approved.  A cord with a camera can run through the sewer pipes for visual inspection.  Then they can drag this "football looking thing" through the sewer line on a rope. 

 If it snags on something, there is a definite problem.  This test showed a snag so the street had to be dug up.  Whoops....somehow the pipe had gotten crushed so had to be replaced.  Better to find it now than later!!  

Remind all residents that they should NOT drive through or across sites in our neighborhoods as all those pipes run down the middle of the blocks.  

Newly installed water lines must be tested and pass inspection as well.  

This man is testing each of the water connections to assure that they don't leak.

Jim says we're close to the final testing stages so we can pass city certification.  

Posted by Picasa

Curbs for the new streets

The curb machine is here putting in curbs for all the new roads.

In addition to extruding the concrete to form the curb, this machine also has a final stage leveler that precedes the pour.
I find it an amazing marvel that the precision work is because this huge machine follows the small string line that has been meticulously laid out beforehand.  How can such a big machine traveling over a round dirt road lay such a precise pour of concrete by following a small string!  Lasers are amazing tools.
Here you can see the little metal "feelers" that travel along the string line.
Imagine what it took to do this kind of work in "the good old days".
Here's the first step after the pour.  This man follows along with a smoothing tool.  (That's not a technical term but its the best way for me to describe it.
A fine mist of water keeps it from drying too fast. Our humidity is ridiculously low this week.
Every so many inches, he makes a mark in the cement.  I'm sure Jim told me exactly but I'm doing the best I can with whatever memory I have left!  :)
Then he takes another flat tool that has a wedge on the bottom.  It allows him to make a crease in the concrete.
Concrete will crack.  These lines help maintain where the cracks can occur.
The next step along the way is the "sweeper".  He takes a special kind of broom and gently sweeps the concrete to give it that nice smooth surface we see.

Jim explained how the plumb lines were dropped from each metal post so they would be exact.  Measurements start with the wooden stakes driven by the surveyors.

The metal stakes are closer together as they go around a curve to keep everything in line.

Here is an expansion board set into the concrete.  Every 'so many' feet, they chisel out a section and insert a piece of expansion board.

Then "TA DAH..........." (drum roll here) the curb is finished.  The entire crew can take a bow for a job well done.  The curb machine will do about 4,000 feet per day.  That's a lot of cement so the trucks come and go all day.  

Posted by Picasa