Sunday, October 12, 2008

Utilities in hiding

More than one city street is cut through granite, creating walls on either side of the pavement, with houses often much higher than street grade. Raising the interesting question: what about underground utilities? The mains generally run beneath the road; how are the connections made? See below.

A neat solution: an excavation into the wall for the pipe, covered up with matching pieces of rock, stacked and cemented. This is an old sewer installation (above). Grey mortar makes the similar, more recent job more readily apparent to a passer-by (below). Too bad, really. But maybe that cement will pick up granite dust to camouflage the work in due time, though that's a lot of pipe showing up.

Quite in contrast is this gas line. One the one hand, it too is carefully bricked in to match the stones. Then the good-looking masonry is ruined by that loud yellow stake and the wire fencing apparently introduced to keep loose rocks in place. However, I will say that the fencing makes an excellent trellis for wild morning glory vines (below).

I suspect the site also must collect water, as this very prolific skyrocket gilia to the left of the stake was covered with flowers the day I strolled by. Spent blossoms in surprising numbers piled up at the side of the road (below). I find a fair amount of this biennial plant in shadier locations on the west side of town. This is the same Arizona skyrocket gilia that once made the cover of Science magazine, which featured a study of plant adaptations to night nectar seekers published by an NAU team.

9 comments:

worldphotos4 said...

They are doing a pretty good job of hiding everything.

Anonymous said...

Interesting workmanship!

Granite is one of my favorite rocks, probably because there's so much of it around me.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

steve -- it sure beats those ugly gas meter monsters that sit out front of some of the most elegant homes!

anon av -- I think that, properly speaking, what we have hereabouts is not absolutely pure granite granite but something more like grandiorite, a member of the same family. Anyways, our stuff is mainly a pinkish color, rather than blue.

sheoflittlebrain said...

Gilia is such a lovely little flower...

Granny J said...

brain -- I especially like it when the roadside embankments along I40 in the high country are awash in gilia in late summer.

TomboCheck said...

How very interesting. I have to say I have never even considered or noticed these hiding around town. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for them. :)

Granny J said...

tombo -- I'll be very curious to see what you turn up -- you're pretty good at spotting the outre.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

The pink hue likely is orthoclaise feldspar.

Hermano

Granny J said...

Thank you, bro, for the explanation. Around here, we were always told that if you want good granite for building, you needed the blue granite as opposed to the pink stuff which weathers badly. I know there once were quarries for structural granite hereabouts somewhere. I've often wondered just where.

 
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