Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our baby owl is about to fly!

We want to talk a little bit about our pump and water system here at the park, but before we get to that we'll show you some more pictures of our baby owl. Actually, it's not so much a baby anymore...it's a youngster.

The changes in the owlet have been amazing over the last two weeks...

Here's the first picture we saw, taken May 8th...

Just a baby.

Taken yesterday, May 20th. Mom seems to be giving the little one a bath.

"Hey Mom, leave me alone!"

Ruth has been doing some research, and apparently the young owls leave the nest and start walking on nearby branches at about 6 weeks old. At that point, it is another week or so and they begin to test their wings, but they don't become competent flyers until they are about 12 weeks old.

Yesterday was the first time we saw it outside the nest.

Okay, on to our pump and water system. I think now that I have it figured out, but if anybody has any ideas for improvement, I'm all ears!

Here's the pump itself...

The black hose to the left supplies the campground, and of course the white hose on the right is the intake from the lake. The green hose is simply a bleed off hose with a tap valve on it. We use that valve and hose to keep the bucket on top full when priming and bleeding the system of air.

The whole thing is pretty unsightly.

The main problem has been the water level. Where that bucket is floating is only about two feet deep. The intake filter and check valve has a brick on the end of it that sits on the bottom, and the floating bucket has a rope that is about five feet long to keep the intake off the bottom. Right now, the flotation system doesn't work of course because of the low water level. The water level will supposedly rise about six feet over the next month or so.

The system has a pressure switch.

The system is designed with the pump supposed to be running constantly 24/7. But they've installed a pressure switch that shuts off the power if the pressure drops below 40 psi. We try and keep the pressure at this part of the line around 80 psi when everything is working properly.

This T is simply a pressure release valve. The pipe going straight ahead supplies the campground, and the valve to the left bleeds back into the lake. It is this valve that we use to adjust the water pressure.

Bleeding back into the lake.

When the system is working, it works well. But what's been happening is that the system shuts down for no apparent reason. 

I'll have it fired up and running fine for hours on end, and then out of nowhere it shuts down. The cause of the shutdown is that the water pressure drops below 40 psi and the pressure switch kicks in and shuts off the power. When I go to fix things, the entire intake line is full of air, not water. So what's happening is that the intake is somehow getting a gulp of fresh air, and the pump instantly loses it's prime. I know that it's related to the low water level, but I still couldn't figure out why it would run for literally hours without a problem, and then stop. I think what may have been happening is that it's causing a vortex and that the intake is close enough to the surface that the vortex sucks some air.

So, after the above pictures were taken, I fashioned a longer intake pipe and got the intake filter out into some deeper water...

This seems to have fixed the problem, because when we woke up this morning, the pump and water system are still working! First time since we've been here that it hasn't shut down overnight.

On to something else.

Last year, the campground purchased a brand new fancy zero turn mower. I haven't talked about it yet because it's been sitting in the corner of the shop waiting for new blades. This brand new fancy mower (worth $8,000 or so at least!) hadn't had any service work done to it since it was new, and was simply parked in the corner last fall without even as much as a thought about cleaning it up for storage. Covered in grass clipping and mud.

I'm sorry, but whoever was the manager last year was useless. Obviously had zero pride in equipment maintenance. Or the maintenance of anything for that matter.

But the new blades came in the other day, so yesterday I put them on and got the machine cleaned up. They sent me the wrong oil filter, so I'll pick up the proper one today and get the oil changed for the first time. Fortunately, it's only got about 42 hours on it so it's not like it was overdue for an oil change, but it still should have been done before being stored last fall.

All cleaned up.
 The mower you see in the top left is our old one, but it still works fine. Our hired help parked it there and didn't clean it off first. He's been told.

Yesterday evening, we took a walk in the hills behind the park.

The leaves are starting to come out.

A deer making it's way through the park.

It feels like summer has arrived! Calling for sunshine and 24C (75F) today, and sunny and 27C (81F) tomorrow. Yeehaw!

36 comments:

  1. the owlet is so cute! all white and fluffy!!
    hope the water problem is solved and the campground starts to fill up!

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    1. Well the water problem seems to be solved for the moment. Kevin just came in and said that the water level has gone down by quite a bit again so hopefully it won't go down too much more or he will have to add another pipe to the intake pipe that is already out there.

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  2. You guys yet the weather we get one day ahead of us - I'll keep an eye here for my weather report from now on!

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    1. I bet we will be more reliable than the weathermen! You should have a fairly decent day tomorrow! ;-)

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  3. I can't help you with the pump :) but the owl photos are absolutely adorable!!!!

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    1. Thanks Que Vida, we think so too!

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  4. Yup...kinda sounds like the park Steve works at.... Nobody held his job for 2 years before they hired him on. It was only temp workers using stuff, and dumping it in the shop when done. Arrrgghhh. Took him many months to get all the machines back up to snuff and serviced.


    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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    1. We will only have two others helping us out and Kevin will let them know what needs to be done to the machines when they are finished using them so that they will be left ready for the next time. I know that our student worker is pretty responsible so now that he knows, I am sure he will make sure they are left in the proper condition.

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  5. Sounds like you have it figured out - gulp of air, pump loses prime, and then the intake line drains. Would it be possible to put a backflow preventer valve at the intake in the lake? If you keep water in that pipe, maybe the black campground pipe can re-prime the pipe if it has enough head pressure. Crazy that it is designed to run 24/7 - not only an unsightly design, but not very efficient, and its got to be loud. Any way to put a large tank on one of the surrounding hills and use gravity? Mexican tanaka thinking! Most of all, if it is working right now, leave it alone! Great job troubleshooting!

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    1. There is already a backflow check valve at the intake. But when it sucks air, it sucks it all the way to the pump. So it can't reprime itself.

      Yes, love your idea about a holding tank, Mexican style. You're right, having the pump run 24/7 makes no sense.

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  6. Sucking air seems to be the obvious problem and you seem to have it figured out. I agree the 24/7 method seems odd and that a demand system like in an rv might work better. But what you have is what you have and it is working now,

    I love the owl photos. We have had baby eagles on our property and they are fascinating to watch as well!

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    Replies
    1. The demand system won't work...the pump simply isn't designed that way. We will make some changes over the course of the season!

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  7. Great owl shots but especially love the header photo with the newly emerging greens.

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    1. Thanks Contessa, I can't wait for another week to go by, there will be more green and the owl will be even bigger but I don't want s/he to get too big and fly away, we really enjoy looking up at them each day.

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  8. Been there and done that with folks not quite "getting it" when it comes to equipment maintenance. Enough to drive a person around the bend. I'm sure you'll get it all sorted.

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    Replies
    1. You can be guaranteed that it will be sorted out and then it will stay that way.

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  9. This is your second park management gig. Must be to your liking. Seems like you guys do a great job. Both were in Canada. Any reason for this? Thanks

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    1. Yes, this is our second park management job and yes we do like it. We like being outside, we enjoy the people and we only have to work from May to September so we have the winter off to go to warmer locales. They are both in Canada because we are Canadians and can't work in other countries without a work visa which is difficult to get.

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  10. Seems kinda dumb to have a system that requires a pump to run 24/7. I think that's why water towers were invented!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, we need a big 5,000 gallon holding tank!

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  11. I think you need a check valve in the bleeding hose. When the system is under high demand, the flow through that hose reverses due to the venturi effect---eventually sucking in air.

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    1. No, the bleeding hose runs constantly and it's situated after the pump. The air is definitlely coming from the intake. But since I put the intake in deeper water...problem gone!

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  12. Not a clue int he would about your pump and water system but LOVE the updates on the baby owl. Owlet I think is the fancy term although he's pretty big for that name. Hope you've told the managers/owners whoever employs you about all the extra work and terrible care the former manager left for you. You should get a bonus for doing his work as well as yours.

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    1. I think the board of directors are aware of the extra work that we have had to do and I think they are also aware of what was left behind and that's why we are here and not the previous person. A bonus would be nice! ;-)

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  13. Will the baby owl try to fly before he gets his feathers? S/he looks like there's still too much down to fly.

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    1. I know it is hard to tell with these pictures but it actually has quite a few feathers but know it won't fly until it is ready to. I know that in the short time we have been here it has changed a lot so in one week it will change even more. I was only going by what they say should happen with the owlets. They are approximately 6 weeks when they go out onto the branch and then about a week later they start to fly. Like anything in nature, nothing is by the book.

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  14. I am in love with your owlet.

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  15. Great pics of the owl. Had a pump like that many moons ago in the U.S. It would bring up some sludge from below when levels were down, make it burp and the air would shut it down. Gravity is best and tanks are relatively cheap and easy to disguise but that requires a lot of pump. What about an underground tank that pumps on demand, don't remember what the system is called in English though.

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    Replies
    1. If we didn't have the blue plastic bin floating on the top with a rope attached to the intake line, it too would be sitting on the bottom of the lake collecting sludge.

      I think Kevin will be mentioning to the board about the possibility of putting in a tank. Right now the pump is working quite well, now that Kevin has put the line in deeper water.

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  16. Great owl pics.
    Machine maintenance is a must if you want them to be reliable. Nice that you have that straightened out now.

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    1. Yes, it should be easy to keep them this way now, and the boys using them will know this too.

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  17. How do you elevate the mower to change the blade?

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    1. The deck design makes it a pain to change blades! You have to actually drop the deck and get it out from under the mower. Good thing it should only need doing once a year!

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  18. Replies
    1. She/he really is gorgeous, Everyday I have to go and have a look at it. Today, I couldn't find it or the Mom. After some searching I found them and the baby has now started to fly. We haven't see it flying but it is in a different tree and the only way to get to it would be by flying. He is growing up too fast!

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