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Contour mapping, the cheap way!  RSS feed

 
pioneer
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I just got some contour mapping done on my property, I now know what exactly I'm looking at with building a dam for one pond and repairing an existing pond.

I HATED the price I was seeing for the little flags, $6.00 for 25 of them!? And I wanted about 300? Ack! So I got creative... and much cheaper!

This is an untweaked photo of my markers in place, I needed to be able to get my phone camera to pick up markers about 75-100 feet away, in grass. What you see are bamboo barbecue skewers ($1.00 per pack of one hundred at the dollar store) with empty water bottles from the local recycle bins stuck on them. Looks like landing lights on the airport runways. Awesome way to get the visuals I wanted! Once I tweak the colors, they will stand out even better.

I am always horrified by the water bottles at the recycle place, so many of them, for no good purpose, and too useless to reuse... until now!!

We did remove the bottles after the photos, although I'll leave the skewers in place for a while longer, we had tornadoes walking last night, and I didn't want to see bottles everywhere. It's easy to drop them back on if I need them again. I also hit a bunch of cheap clothespins with pink spray paint, and clipped them to the tops of the hardest to see skewers so I didn't lose them. And my water level worked great :) YAY!! Ponds are finally figured out!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Once I tweaked the colors on the picture, it looks even more clear. Not bad shots for an old phone camera, my real camera decided it was not in the mood to work that day. The bottles worked great!
 
pioneer
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Nice approach!
 
pollinator
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Brilliant.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I HATED the price I was seeing for the little flags, $6.00 for 25 of them!? And I wanted about 300? Ack! So I got creative... and much cheaper!



You could have gotten 100 of them for $7.97 at Home Depot or Menards, 300 would be $24, better than the $75 you were looking at.

Creative solution that you had though- can't fault that idea. I would be looking at the amount of gas and time I'd spend running around looking for bottles and sticks.

https://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/hand-tools/measuring-layout-tools-accessories-kits/21-stake-flags-100-pack/15081/p-1444426530887.htm
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Empire-3-5-in-x-2-5-in-White-Stake-Flags-100-Pack-78-006/206260220
 
pollinator
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I wish I had thought of the skewers when planting tree seeds this spring! At least I can go back this fall and put them in so I will know if I'm growing a 2" tall tree or weed to feed the deer! Perhaps if they are all in a container at once, you could hit them with landscaper paint (that you normally spray on grass for marking) that is pink or something bright? I'll be making a note to try this, thanks!
 
Pearl Sutton
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J Anders: the closest Menards or Home Depot is 40 miles from here. I wanted them soon, so I looked at shipping, Home Depot will drop them onto their delivery truck that comes to town for only $103.00!! Um. No.  All the prices were getting silly, and I had a great weather window I could do this in (dry enough that I got it all mowed so I could see it, staked before the rain hit so I could see if my stakes were correct.)  The utility folks stuck flags in the yard a while back, and they told me do not remove them. The flags shredded, then I couldn't find the wires till I hit them with a cutter.... Bamboo rots if you lose it in the grass, a definite plus over plastic and metal flags. But yeah, it seemed like there oughta be cheap ones around, I was surprised that local prices were so high.

Mark Tudor: I wonder what would happen if you soaked bamboo skewers for a couple hours in a food coloring and water mix... Might stain them nicely. I know cheap Popsicle sticks stain from cheap Popsicles...

Everyone else: Thanks for the approval! I thought this was just too fun and useful to not share it! Plus use some trash that I have always thought needed something done with it...

The rental we are in right now backs up to two cemeteries. After this worked so nice, we went to the trash pile there and got a bag of silk flower sprays, to use as things like path marker stakes for truck/machinery paths during construction, to make them visible, and a bit more entertaining. They have the metal wire issue going on, but hey, flowers!! 

I think I spend too much time in the sun alone.... :D
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

I am always horrified by the water bottles at the recycle place, so many of them, for no good purpose, and too useless to reuse... until now!!



Pearl,
Just a thought about those bottles ... Once you have finished with them, you may want to continue recycling by saving them for filler/insulation in a ferro-cement "garbage wall". A free-standing wall on the north side of the garden is a great place to plant semi-hardy fruit trees and shrubs or anything that would appreciate a bit of warmth. It's a good way to screen trash cans or other unsightly things as well and makes good use of trash that would otherwise go to a landfill!

To make it, just create a double fence of wire (like cattle panels or field fencing) parallel and at least 6" apart. (The thicker, the better for insulation.) You could use posts in the ground or t-posts for attaching the fence to. For a really permanent wall, you may want to dig and put in a concrete foundation first. To make it stronger so it doesn't fall over, it is best to make it curved or to incorporate buttresses or zigzags into the design. Cover both sides with 3 layers of chicken wire tied to the heavier fencing with wire or zip ties (closing the ends, too, of course) and then stuff the space between the fence sections with your empty plastic bottles and other plastic trash you want to throw away. Cover the open top of the space after you finish filling it, then finally, apply a thin coating of cement to the wire over the entire structure. (Make the cement about an inch thick overall, but be sure all the wire is completely coated or it will rust.) When cured, you have a nice wall that you can paint, stain with concrete pigments or even apply stone or brick in front of for a nicer finish.

If walls aren't something you need, you can always make trash rocks or benches using a similar technique. This particular idea (not very artistically done, unfortunately, but it gives you the gist) uses a similar technique -- substituting fish net for wire.  Instructables - Trash Rocks I would use the idea but use chicken wire instead. It is stronger and easier to find. Have fun!
 
J Anders
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Pearl Sutton wrote:J Anders: the closest Menards or Home Depot is 40 miles from here. I wanted them soon, so I looked at shipping, Home Depot will drop them onto their delivery truck that comes to town for only $103.00!! Um. No.  All the prices were getting silly, and I had a great weather window I could do this in (dry enough that I got it all mowed so I could see it, staked before the rain hit so I could see if my stakes were correct.)  The utility folks stuck flags in the yard a while back, and they told me do not remove them. The flags shredded, then I couldn't find the wires till I hit them with a cutter.... Bamboo rots if you lose it in the grass, a definite plus over plastic and metal flags. But yeah, it seemed like there oughta be cheap ones around, I was surprised that local prices were so high.

Mark Tudor: I wonder what would happen if you soaked bamboo skewers for a couple hours in a food coloring and water mix... Might stain them nicely. I know cheap Popsicle sticks stain from cheap Popsicles...

Everyone else: Thanks for the approval! I thought this was just too fun and useful to not share it! Plus use some trash that I have always thought needed something done with it...

The rental we are in right now backs up to two cemeteries. After this worked so nice, we went to the trash pile there and got a bag of silk flower sprays, to use as things like path marker stakes for truck/machinery paths during construction, to make them visible, and a bit more entertaining. They have the metal wire issue going on, but hey, flowers!! 

I think I spend too much time in the sun alone.... :D



My closest Menards & Home Depot are both 60 miles away.
I forget not everyone owns a Prius. Costs me less than $10 to run to the city and back. What is worse is wasting 3 hours doing it.

:)
 
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