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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finally home at CMO

I arrived around noon and rushed around trying to do the most critical things first. Servicing my hummingbird feeders took priority. The feeders I use (Dr JBs) are the best, but after a big rain, water gets in and overruns the internal baffles. Bees invade then. So I put out clean fresh feeders but didn't fill them since it's supposed to rain the next few days. (It's sprinkling now.)

Next, as I was checking the stucco tank, which fortunately only caught a few inches of water on the high end, but 4 feet on the deep end, I noticed a couple of bad places opening up on the wall. I think there's an area there where the cement is bad, maybe mixed with dirty sand, or too much moisture gets behind the wall. Anyway, it was crumbling. Not good. So I waded out and patched those. But I think the tank is leaking under the water level too. So I'm measuring it overnight (if rainfall doesn't mess up my measurements) and may drain the tank tomorrow, looking for leaks. I do not want to fill it and have it lose 3-6 inches a day like last year. And normally it doesn't leak when there's this little amount of water in it, so it's concerning. Early in the rainy season like this, I'm not worried about losing water. More worried about fixing the leaks. I'm sure with the tank full with all that tonnage, I'll lose some, but at least I'd like to keep it down to half an inch a day or less. Here's the tank. I put an arrow where the corrosion is. The photo might be confusing with the wall reflection under the water.


Next is a closer-up of the bad areas.


And last is a really close shot of the upper leak. I pulled off a chunk of stucco to see how bad it was underneath. Really bad. I stuffed it full of concrete patch.


If I was 100% positive the tank was leaking, I would have pumped it out today, but I want to get an overnight reading to be sure, because it's a pain to pump it out. The Drylok seems to be making a tough surface, but it can only do so much.

Luckily, the big tank is holding perfectly. I'd like to keep it topped off with water from the stucco tank until at least next March. This tank is the heart of the oasis.


The wildlife pond leaks bad; just holds water for wildlife. I don't ever pump from it. Whatever leaks from it, waters the nearby vegetation. If I pump out the stucco tank, I'll probably put the water in this pond. The cottonwood tree loves when this pond is full. It has roots right through the concrete and laps up the water. This pond also gets some really neat birds and dragonflies at it.


As I was hanging the hummingbird feeders, I noticed the tubs I had embedded in the citruserie had flooded and all my citrus had been totally submerged for nearly 2 days. So that was the next emergency operation. I just plucked them out of the water until I could do something more permanent. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll plant them in the ground and what survives, survives. The kumquat is the one I'm most concerned about, and my son has a big kumquat tree in his yard in Alpine, so surely, it'll survive here. I can maybe cover it somewhat during northers.

For today, I raised the containers a few inches in the ground so water won't run into them. I expected a little might. just never dreamed that two plus feet of water would fill the containers. I've always said this place is a work-in-progress. All trial and error, mostly the latter.

The recent rains have increased insect populations. I saw this large bee on the beebrush. It's twice the size of a honey bee. I don't know what species it is.


But I do know a Gulf Fritillary when I see one. Even a ragged one.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have time to find some butterflies that I don't recognize. That would be fun.


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