In a wildly unguarded moment this spring, I told my husband that I would learn to fix the sprinklers “by myself” this year. It was partly to relieve his work load, since he is usually working 12 hours a day, plus multiple out of town trips, while busy with a major bedroom/bathroom remodel. It was partly because I don’t want my garden to die from lack of water. But I’m a person who doesn’t set my digital watch by myself. I had dark premonitions about the whole project as I struggled to fold his new metal ladder to get it out of the yard. I have warned him to be cautious next time he uses it, as I am unsure about what I have adjusted and I know the two sides are no longer equal in length.
My first challenge was to get the sprinklers to cycle through so that I could see what needed work. This “went so well” that it took me a week to recover and actually attempt repairs. A late night pep talk, including phrases like “you are a college graduate” and “I’m so excited you are doing this” nudged me into action last Friday. Thus began the longest sprinkler repair process in the history of Nampa. You see, I never did figure out how to do more than turn the whole system on, so had to wait for each section to run. This was frustratingly perfect because it took me nearly 45 minutes to work on each section of about five sprinklers. I worked on eight of the ten sections on our one-plus acre yard.
A fraction of the time, I finished a few minutes ahead of the timer and took a short break. If I went in the house, my innocent girls usually judged it best not to ask me about progress. They did occasionally risk a loving smile and comment about me being soaked and muddy. I’m thinking I should have tried it when all seven youngsters were at home. They would have seen the mess and wanted to join in the fun.
Somehow, I managed to correctly diagnose replacing sprinkler heads on risers, being grateful that there wasn’t a leak in the line underground as I had originally thought. I found that rubber jar openers are useful for unscrewing them, but rubberish garden gloves work better.
I was near to tears adjusting the fancy new pop-up Orbit heads in the lawn, but remembered the internet just in time and looked up how to adjust sprinkler rotation. I had, in my altered state of mind, attempted every language on the Orbit pamphlet that came with my sprinkler head, but it did not tell me how to change the rotation starting point that somehow reset itself over the winter. Many thanks to Hunter Irrigation Innovators for their clear, concise instructions.
Parts were needed from the store before I was done. In an effort to legitimize myself as a sprinkler repair person, I went wearing clothes containing three times their weight in water and dirt. (You should see what humidity and a breeze does to my somewhat curly hair… or maybe not.) I may have just looked like a half-crazed middle aged woman in Havaiana flip flops, but everyone was friendly and helpful.
Almost every thing is getting water now. Next on my sprinkler list is drip irrigation in some outer regions. I have a new empathy for the mad scientist inventor types. It gets in your blood. Bwahahahaha. If I, some day, I appear to be lost in a private world of sprinkler calculations, I suggest my loved ones take me by the hand and show me some of my flowers.