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All Hands on Deck

June 2, 2010

Well, less than a week to go!  Essential Design’s projects are starting to look like permanent landmarks at the CYEC as they get closer to completion.  I feel like each team had a few adventures apiece, with maybe the most interesting one with the Anaerobic Digester team.  We filled up the digester with water today, and as it was filling up, one of our students, Jackson, dropped his key in the water!  This water is 3 feet deep, and this key is about 2 centimeters long.  The solution: dunk Jackson head first in the tank and hold his feet:

Anyway, each team made a lot of headway, while rolling with the punches:

High Tunnel:

Today was the day that the team put up their hoops, and the structure is taking its shape!  Min and Jeff had to go around and gather about 18 people to help bend the hoops.  We did it all in an inch-worm fashion, with Min and Jeff commanding one side take a step, then the other, and back and forth.  It was a great PVC caterpillar.  Very impressive.  They topped off the day by adding vertical supports along the center of the tunnel, and their clothes now have a shade of gray from the oil they painted on them.

Drip Irrigation:

Kerri and Graham spent the morning running shopping errands for Essential Design.  To all of our knowledge, all the materials we need are in!  This is good news because it’s becoming crunch time, with the planes to take off on Tuesday.  Kerri was a gracious errand-runner and got us all passion fruit and ketchup!  By the way, you never know how much you miss ketchup with your “chips” (fries) until you don’t have it.  When they came back, they laid out their drip tape and attached it to their mainline.  They have a couple of things to iron out still, such as protecting the main line from the intense sun and to find a nursery for their seeds before planting.

Anaerobic Digestion:

Our team had our plan laid out for the day, and as usual, it twisted and turned into something else.  TIA. The morning was supposed to be spent getting cow manure from the neighbors via wheel barrel, as well as visiting Wambugu Farm to gather their slurry from their functioning digester (we want their active bacteria).  The rest of the day was to be spent building the guide frame and setting up the gas line.

However, as it turned out, we were filling up the digester with water, and there was a leak at one of our pipes!  So, we had to empty the water to the level of that pipe; to save the water, we attempted to use a barrel to catch the water, and then drag it up the hill with a mass of people to be dumped into the chamber when the leak was fixed.  It ended up, though, that the water was sloshing everywhere and the digester ended up rolling down the hill with Mike, or the “Batista” as the kids say (apparently he looks like a certain pro wrestler), chasing it!  After that ridiculous scene, we got the leak fixed and Mike tapped the top of the barrel for the valve while Chris and I went to Wambugu Farm to get some of their slurry.  The slurry will have to be obtained tomorrow morning, as we found out; should be interesting to see how we will transport a 210 liter barrel of cow manure and slurry.

Sounds like a fun day tomorrow!

Posted by Liz Bell

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