When the most prevalent sound around here is twin-engine airplanes with bright red tails flying over the house, you know it’s that time again. Now we have a wildfire burning to the northeast, shutting down Highway 140, the middle way into Yosemite National Park. The park is being powered by its emergency generators since the utility lines are down. The fire was caused when a motorhome’s propane tank caught fire. The motorhome was completely lost in the conflagration, and the residual effect was that several thousand acres of rugged country are now burning.
When I discovered a few weeks ago that the valve controlling our fire hydrant was split, I bought a replacement. Installing it was something else again. The old one was on so tight I couldn’t budge it with my puny eighteen-inch pipe wrenches. I had a 24" and even a 36" wrench but they were nowhere to be found. Probably went to the high ranch where the pipes are bigger. So I put together the rig shown above. The green nylon strap load binder can exert 1,500 pounds of force. It worked. I got the new valve on. Now if only those noisy airplanes would stop flying over all day long, things could be pleasant around here once again.