Sunday, June 10, 2012

And I complained I had nothing to write about

Earlier this morning I was going to go Sheldon Cooper on someone's a$$. I found a new arch nemesis and it wasn't Will Wheaton but the people who mow the grass at the Ecology Center.  This has been an off-and-on battle of wits and aggravation for the last 4 years.

As you know, I mist net on Mondays at the Ecology Center and there are several components to my weekly enterprise. There are the nets, the poles that hold the nets, and then the pvc pipes or rebar that anchor the poles in place.  The pvc pipes are in the ground long term. They are in place so that I do not have to hammer rebar in every week.

The pvc pipes are OUT of the pathway and on the edge in the tall grass so that they are out of foot traffic and avoid getting run over by lawnmowers. But somehow, from time to time, the guys run over the pipes and shred them up. THEY are deviating from their path into the tall grass where they are not supposed to mow. Over the years, I've spray painted the pipes and placed flags around them and yes, they still get shredded up. But I will say last year the lawn service managed to avoid hitting my pipes. That was the first time in 3 years, mind you.

But already this year, one of my pvc pipes got hacked right to ground level. So I replaced 4 of the pipes. Here is another, recent attempt at making these pipes highly visible.

There is supposed to be grass around the area of the pipes. The guys have a path to mow that does not involve this weedy area. I still don't know how they manage to hit my pipes.

Then I have 2 nets out in the prairie and for those I use rebar. The rebar stays in the ground and is removed at the end of the season when the staff does a prescribed burn on the prairie. They are on a trail and for that reason I place the rebar as close to the prairie without actually putting the set up in the plants. The reason I do not put the setup in the plants is that the nets would not be able to touch the ground, or come close to the ground and I would most likely do unnecessary damage to the plants.

This is a little more tricky in terms of seeing the rebar.  The lawn service managed to avoid hitting the rebar last year so I thought I would be ok. This year, to be on the safe side, I placed 2 flags around each bar but refrained from spray painting the rebar. I thought you could see the rebar reasonably well (although in this picture one of my flags got mowed down) but I was WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Imagine my dismay when I went to put my nets up this morning and found one of my net lanes destroyed. The flags and both rebar were BENT.

I was so mad. I'm glad I set the nets up ahead of time. Hammering the rebar into the ground and erecting the poles takes time and if I was to do this Monday morning, I would have been eating up precious time. Well, no actually that net would have not been put up because I did not have spare rebar.  I made a trip to Home Depot and bought 6 extra rebar, reflector tape and spray paint. I spray painted all of the rebar but held off on using the reflector tape.

This is the finished product. I was a little dismayed to see how much the rebar still blends in with the plants. I'm thinking the reflector tape is going on at the top and bottom of the bar.

I'm at a loss over how to make these stand out. I do not want to pull the rebar out after every session. That means a lot of unnecessary and unsightly holes in the ground and contrary to what you may believe, hammering rebar into the same hole continually makes the hole bigger and therefore unusable. I'm not sure the Ecology Center would allow me to place a laminated sign on or near the rebar because there will be kids coming out for camps and adults coming in for seminars. But it is a possibility. Pvc pipes are an option, but would need to be removed before the prescribed burn and the lawn service would be more likely to hit the pipes more frequently, forcing me to replace them when damaged (and the pvc pipes are more expensive than the rebar).

I texted Stream Girl and she said she had an idea we could discuss tomorrow morning. I know I'm partially to blame for the rebar getting bent, but couldn't the mowers been a little more observant? I did have bright pink flags next to the rebar.

If there is no other solution, I suppose I will be hammering holes into the ground every week. I can't afford to continue to buy rebar and I don't want the lawn service to revolt because my little poles screwed up their mower blades.

I'm still mad about this.


  1. incredibly frustrating, for sure. hope you can find a solution.

  2. Hi Lime. Stream Girl and her co-workers are going to have a discussion (another discussion) with the lawn service. There may be some new mowers who don't quite know the ropes yet.