A Sticky Situation

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6 December 2017 - 14:21, by , in Blog, Propane News, No comments

Since my November Newsletter the price of propane is up slightly but at this point it’s fairly close to the price it was the first part of November. In my last Newsletter I was hoping for a freezing cold November. No such luck. I know you’re all thinking “Ya wasn’t it great” being so warm not using much heating propane, didn’t need snow tires yet, don’t have to plug in the vehicles at night and you are probably hoping that this warmer trend continues. Well, I believe that our Canadian Economy works best on four seasons and when these seasonal trends don’t happen there are a lot of businesses that have a hard time making a go of it. Now having said that, I also know that we as Canadians are good at adapting to adverse conditions, turning lemons into lemonade as they say.

The little lake on my property has an outflow stream that takes water away from the lake in the spring when the water is high from snow melt and rain.  This stream is usually dry in the summer, however this summer with all this rain it just kept running.  Where this stream exits our property and into a neighbor’s forest there is a culvert which allows access between two farm fields for farm machinery like tractors, wagons and harvesting equipment. Over the years with the advancement in farm machines most of this machinery has gotten bigger.  The length of my existing culvert was sixteen feet about five metres.  Not quite long enough for the expanded width of the new machines which were causing some issues with movement of machinery.  I decided this summer to replace this culvert but kept putting it off waiting for a dry spell before I dug up the old culvert pipes.  Guess what? It rained off and on all summer, so the stream kept flowing.  By October I had to do something about his culvert.  Now I still go to work everyday so tackling the culvert had to be when time and weather conditions would allow.  Oh ya and now its’ getting dark earlier in the evening.  Put the backhoe attachment on my tractor and proceed to dig out the old culvert.  This area is at the low point between two fields so with the stream still running and the surrounding ground area sopping wet it was one awful muddy mess getting the old pipes out.  Oh did I mention this area is mostly clay?  Ever work in wet clay, easy to get stuck, suck the boots right off your feet trying to walk around and it sticks to everything making your boots weigh many times what they would normally.

Now that I had excavated the trench I had to bring in a large water pump to pump the stream level down so I could shore up the two new 15” diameter twenty foot culverts to get them level and then brace them until I could backfill them with gravel.  This gets to be a little tricky when you are working alone.  My Sweetheart asked me why I didn’t have someone helping me when I explained that having to work around the weather and random available times it was almost impossible to coordinate with another person especially if it was running late into the evening on some occasions.  Had a local service bring twelve cubic yards of gravel for the backfilling and grading procedure on this culvert.  With the wet conditions I couldn’t have the dump truck drive back in my fields to the culvert for fear of getting the truck stuck so he dumped the load in my driveway.  I moved the gravel back to the culvert with the bucket on the tractor but it took many trips.  Now that this first load of gravel was in place the area around the culvert was sloppy and unstable due to the wet clay so I hand loaded up the tractor bucket many times full of rocks and dumped them on both sides of the culvert pipes to give the ground some stability.  All this was over about a week and a half.  I had another twelve yards of gravel dumped in my driveway and again took this material back to the culverts to continue to cover the pipes and the rocks I had laid in.  I also had to install many boulders I collected from around the farm on one low side of the access area by the stream to keep the gravel from washing away over time.  Most of these boulders I had to move into place by hand.  Quite a workout.  I graded up the gravel now I’ll just wait for nature to settle everything in place.  I put a little more into this project than maybe was necessary, but I figured if I made it to last then the next time it would have to be addressed I’d be way too old to worry about it.

We all know these projects won’t do themselves and sometimes my Sweetheart asks me why I work so hard on them.  My reply is usually the same that I look at them as a challenge, I’m grateful that my health allows me to continue to participate in life to this extent (can’t imagine being in poor health or confined to some health apparatus) and these jobs give you a feeling of accomplishment when they are complete.  Just got word we are going to get (cut down) this year’s Christmas tree.  Now there’s a challenge I have to get my mind around.  Challenge yourself to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate in any way you can.

From all of us at Waterloo County Propane and our affiliate Cedar Signs that would be Matt, Bill, Mike, Bob, Pat, Ginell, Tracy, Lorie, Jen, Dave and Dave, Adrian, Donny, Tom, Mel, Christian, Christie, Peggy, Shaun, Andrew, Terry, Darryl, Anne, Larry and Myself, sincerely hope you have an inspired Christmas Season.

Yours truly,

Peter Rivers

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