Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Backyard Ice Rink Project: Nebraska's Schizophrenic Weather Taking It's Toll

This winter's schizophrenic weather has made it difficult to keep the backyard rink in good shape... Or even use. 65 degrees is great for a lot of activities, but ice skating isn't one of those. The ice gets covered in puddles, and begins pulling away from the boards, allowing the water to leak out.

Leaves in the ice
Even worse are the winds, which blow leaves onto the ice and drop the temperatures to the other extreme. A snowier winter would have helped on both problems. Snow makes for a great insulation and filler material to help keep the water in the rink, and snow on the ground would also bury the leaves.

Now, we're in the final stretch of the rink. Last week' swarm weather nearly melted the shallower sections of the rink, and the  stronger sun has led to more problems with melting. I suspect that the ice has been undercut by melting ice, as now a few holes from melting leaves have proven difficult to repair. The water just drains out somewhere at the low end.

Filling it with some crushed ice seems to have stayed the problem for now, and this weeks trip back into the deep freeze should allow me to get the rink fully back into use.

Hey kids, no skating here. There's a puddle there!

One part of the rink was unusable this week due to the melting. It's in the spot where the sun hits it strongest, and it's also where I suspect the water is channeling to underneath the ice and over the liner to find an exit point.

Memo to file for next time; be sure to secure the liner to the rink boards. I didn't want to put staple holes in the liner, but the result was a liner that easily let water flow over the sides.

Too late to do much about it now. I figure the whole rink only has about 3 more weeks before spring finishes it off...

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