Flooding and Playground Equipment: What's Been Happening at the Urban Ranch


A photo of Nebraska DaveThere's just not enough time to get every thing done.  My blogging has been suffering, but I just had to take a little time to let everyone know what's been going on at the Urban Ranch.  It's been a busy place this summer, and it's a great life if I just don't weaken.  I've been making it through the night after a long day working outside with a little help from my two friends.  They're called Aleve and Ibuprofen.  The heat index has been really up there this year.  Today the temperature was about 95, but the heat index which takes the humidity into account was about 110.

This is a picture of Interstate 29 heading North from my city. The area you see here is supposed to be all farm ground with no water at all in this area. The Missouri river is about a half mile to left of this Interstate highway. Due to extreme snow fall in the Rocky Mountains and extreme spring rain fall in Montana, the four dams along the Missouri are filled to capacity and have to use extreme water release measures to keep the dams from failing. These waters will be like this through September maybe longer depending on the amount of rain received. The Corps of Engineers is releasing a record amount of water from the Gavin's Point Dam just over 100 miles north of my city. They are releasing 160,000 cubic feet of water a second. This equates to well over a million gallons of water a second.Missouri River Flood  

I have never seen the dam in this condition in all my years of life. Usually the down river side of the dam has a 30 to 40 foot drop to river level. This is an incredible picture for sure. Fourteen flood gates are open and dumping water as much as possible. It's just been a crazy year for river water control.
Gavins Point Dam 

Many years ago I built a PCV structure to help me paint the house up high. It has been silently sitting in the side yard doing nothing for all but a couple of those 8 years. I decided to help with the cleaning out of the side yard to use that structure to build a fort for Bradley while he is away visiting his Dad. This picture is the structure upside down. The plywood which was on the top of the structure needs to be replaced so I'm removing the old rotten plywood from the structure assembly. Bradley doesn't know that I'm building a fort while he's away, so it will be a surprise when he returns in August. 

Support Structure for Fort 

So far things are progressing. The foundation always needs to be the strongest it can be. Here you see the holes being dug into the ground. They go approximately 3 1/2 to 4 feet into the ground. Form tubes will go part way into the hole and 4 foot long rebar will connect the ground pillars with the actual PCV structure. You can see the bottom of the support structure and one of the foundation pillar tubes that will slide into the holes. The hole is actually deeper than the tube by a foot or two. Some may recognize that the bottom of the PCV structure has toilet phalanges attached to them. The beauty of used toilet phalanges is they will fit perfect into the tubes and they have built in bolt holes to hold the structure to the concrete. Nice. I hardly ever use something for what it's intended to be used.
Dave Digging Hole

You can see the tubes are filled with concrete and the bottom of the support structure is in place. The top of the carriage bolts you see in this picture are 5 1/2 inches long and have been pressed into the wet concrete to solidly hold the structure in place when the concrete dries. Also another thing done for strength of the structure was four foot rebar pushed down from the top of this bottom section into the hollow legs. Two foot was pushed into the wet concrete in the ground and two foot stuck up above the concrete base pillars inside the hollow legs.
Bolts holding the structure to the base 

Nebraska Dave
7/20/2011 8:03:07 PM

MBD, this is the worst flooding I've seen in all of my over 60 years of living near the Missouri river. Many are blaming the Corps of Engineers for not letting enough water out of the four dams along the river but for all the years of the dams in existance their water management methods worked. This year there was record snow in the mountains and record rains in the spring. The two combine caused an unexpected rush of water that couldn't be dealt with any other way than to open the 14 flood gates in the dam and hope for the best. It's been a huge loss for the folks that live near the river. Farm land that's been flooded for that long will have mountains of sand on what used to be rich bottom ground. It will take years to recover the land from such a deposit. It hasn't really affected me personally but coming from a farming background my heart goes out to the farming community. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Muck Boot Diva
7/20/2011 10:13:12 AM

WOW! We have just the opposite problem in CNY -- no water! Right now, you have to pick between your house water, and your gardening water. It's one, or the other. My well went dry for a while in the house when we were trying to water our plants outside this weekend. Praying for the rain to come to CNY and the farmers -- but not like in your blog! MBD

Nebraska Dave
7/18/2011 10:55:22 PM

MW, The water, so the local weather man tells me, is slowly receding. The dam up river is still releasing record amounts of water and will continue to release the high level of water until September. I've been working on Bradley's fort today. The heat index was well over 100 today. Right now at 10:30pm the temperature is 88 with heat index 100. I think I'm going to need a little help from my friends Alieve and Ibuprofen tonight. One more day and the basic construction should be completed. Then I'll have to start working on the floor. I have to seal it up good as the flooring is not weather proof and well kids will be scuffing around on it. Have a great day in the garden.

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