Monday, January 21, 2008

January 16, 2008-Brick Maintenance

A few of us ventured out into the cold Central California winter to do some upkeep on the bricks and perform weed control around each pallet.The first job was to clear the quickly growing weeds surrounding the pallets. We also attempted to clear the dirt underneath the pallets (pushed up underneath by gophers) to ensure a steady air flow from the ground to the bricks.

From left to right-Charlie Kieffer, Jim Brownson, Jim Toney, Jessica Kusz, and Barney Levy (Randy Widera-not pictured).

We also took the covers off a few sample pallets to check the condition of the bricks. Most of them appeared in good condition although some had suffered a bit of water damage generally due to covers shifting in the recent storms and exposing portions of the bricks. Some bricks exhibited moisture from condensation although this is a fairly common occurrence when bricks are covered and stored.

Charlie Kieffer, Barney Levy and Jim Toney check the bricks.

We also noted that the dirt piled up underneath the bricks did not appear to be causing the expected damage to the bottom of the bricks....of course we didn't discover this until after we had cleaned out most of the dirt!

In one instance, the plastic cover had blown off half of the pallet which exposed a portion of the bricks to the elements.

Note the difference between the tops of the brick. The smooth surface had not been exposed to the weather while the other had been exposed.
Some rubber bands surrounding the pallets covers had snapped due to UV exposure and each one was re-secured and tied down with either poly-propylene rope or with duct tape. We also cleared any downed tree branches and leaves off the tops of the pallets. We didn't find many tears in the black plastic and it seems to be holding up quite well.

Thanks for all the hard work from the Friends board members, Jim B, Barney, Charlie, and Jim T! -JK

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January 2, 2008

Today we ventured out to the Castro to do a a primary check of the adobe bricks to see how they are faring this winter. Our main concern was water wicking up from the ground and penetrating the brick as well as water pooled on top of the bricks infiltrating the pallet covers. We uncovered a sampling of bricks and found that our method of covering them with plastic pallet covers is mostly working to keep the bricks dry! The overall condition of the bricks was excellent with a few displaying a small amount of moisture/condensation on the tops of the bricks (see photo 2). One brick had some wicking at the bottom and was soft enough that with a strong force (Randy's thumb) an indentation was made into the brick (see photo 3). That condition only appeared on one brick and overall the base of the bricks appear to be withstanding the rain and moisture (see photo 4).

One issue we noted was that the large rubber bands used to secure the tops of the pallet covers are snapping due to UV exposure. The bands that have broken will be replaced with twine and thus the twine vs. rubber bands experiment has been answered. For use outdoors, twine endures much better than the large rubber bands.

A big storm is approaching tomorrow and our next steps are to clear away any branches that have fallen on or near the bricks. We also plan to clear the weeds growing around the base of the pallets. This should ensure our bricks are protected for the remaining winter months. -JK