Sunday, March 8, 2009

Freedom Rink: Final Edition

We had our last skate of the year this week. The weather has been crawling towards Spring. I knew the end was near so I encouraged the kids to go out and get one last skate. Half the rink was snow and not ice, but we were able to shoot the puck around and they skated for a few minutes.

This weekend the temps were in the 50-60 region. And the ice really melted. We still had a large glacier in the middle, but I know we won't get enough of a cold spell to make it skateable again.

You can just barely see how the pressure of the ice has bowed the frame. I must admit it has held together very well despite the crude construction. The picture doesn't do justice to the amount of bowing on the sides.
At first I was ready to flood the entire area. Just pull the tarp down and let the water find it's way to the sea. I was a bit nervous about flooding the neighbor, but guessed the yard's slant would keep it from being too much trouble. Neighbor (fearful of being flooded) suggested I use a hose to siphon off a majority of the water. I thought it was a good idea. I had often used the same method to get water off our pool cover when I was a kid. I set up the hose to drain into the creek behind our cul-de-sac and then, after a few long draws on the hose the draining began.

Cory enjoyed taking his bat to the ice to "help it melt."
A couple of hours later I decided this was taking too long. I was about to do some real flooding. Neighbor again suggested an alternative solution. Two hoses. So we tried that. A couple hours later and the large pond is still there. I wanted to get the whole rink up and out. I knew the base would not be pleased at my unauthorized swimming pool (although all the kids were excited about it) and I was concerned about all the little kids. Even though it wasn't that deep - I wanted to remove the temptation. Hey I've gotta keep the tarp good for next year and kids with rocks would just lead to rips and tears.

My buddy suggests we build a canal/aqueduct kind of thing to help flow the water and keep his shed from flooding. It would speed up the process and allow me to get all this cleaned up on a nice day. By this time I have a large portion of the circle out watching and helping. I decide strike while the iron is hot. Let's do it. First we had to gather enough tarps and lawn furniture to protect the shed area.

I removed some of the higher elevation boards that no longer had water pressing against them to help build the canal.

Then we had to remove the boards without destroying the tarp. The exterior boards were too high in the deep end, so we removed the top row and began the flood. It was exciting for a few minutes. I yelled for Kristi to get the movie camera so you missed the rush of water, but here's the same drainage area, just less volume a few minutes later.

The lower board was a little tricky but we got it figured out. Now we were left with lots of ice on the tarp. I wanted that to be moved off so we could pick up the tarp and boards. We are supposed to get snow tomorrow - it won't stick or stay - but it would add more water for me to get rid of, so cleaning it all up today was a bonus.

Then someone decided push brooms would help. A couple of people volunteered and we swept the tarp clean. We pulled in one end while they swept the remnants of the ice out our exposed corner. Neighbor is a diver, so he came out into the ice with his wetsuit booties and gloves to pick up large chunks of ice and sweep it out. Everyone else was in tennis shoes getting their feet cold and wet.

We pulled out the stakes and posts then piled the lumber. I felt like it was some sort of community project as we shared a beer and marveled at our work. Here's a video of the last pull on the tarp.

My neighbors rock!

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