The preservation and maintenance guy for the Old Church, John McCandless, is not one to lounge about even as COVID-19 invades captivating Corrales. He reports that “The pandemic has impacted some of our preservation and maintenance activities, but essential maintenance has continued. The biggest impact so far has been on our revenue stream.
“With public gatherings out of the question, events such as music performances and weddings have been curtailed. The funds generated by these events help sustain our preservation and maintenance activities, so we’ve scaled back or postponed some plans. However, necessary work is continuing.” A month or so ago, some creature was spotted tossing odd bits and bobs up into the air from a hole in the ground just east of the church. On further inspection it was seen to be McCandless, who by necessity was ripping out some old plumbing.
McCandless explained that back in February with the help of Master Gardeners, Corrales Tree Preservation Committee members John Thompson and Don Welsh and the Village Public Works Department, “We planted 10 trees that were donated by Trees of Corrales. The process of setting up a system to keep them irrigated uncovered some weaknesses in the water supply system which kept me busy on a sporadic basis for several months. This culminated in the failure of the pressure tank, which filled the well pit with water and ruined some of the electrical components. Public Works helped by pumping out the pit and removing the old tank.” McCandless subsequently installed a new tank, pressure switch and piping.
Those usually involved with maintenance definitely missed the volunteer help typically available in abundance on Mudding Day, usually held in late April, yet another event canceled because of the pandemic. “In past years we have re-mudded the courtyard wall, cleaned up the grounds, oiled woodwork and cleaned the chairs,” he pointed out.
Still, with the help of Kathie Lehner, “we worked on taking care of these maintenance items until mid-summer when it got too hot for much besides the weeding. With the arrival of cooler weather I’ve finished plastering the wall and there are a number of small projects —patching exterior plaster on the church and repainting the windows— that I’ll be working on in the coming months, along with the eternal weeding.”
A needed project definitely shelved is the replacement of the floor in the Old Church. McCandless explained that the Historical Society board had been discussing various approaches to funding that enterprise, “but once the virus hit, we decided that it wasn’t the best time to approach the community for funds, and put the project on hold.”
According to McCandless, “the current floor was installed in the 1990s and refinished once in 2009 but is showing significant signs of wear and should be replaced sometime in the near future.” Ironically, as McCandless pointed out, “since the Old Church isn’t getting used these days there isn’t any additional wear and tear, so the urgency to do the work has decreased,” but at the same time, an Old Church devoid of people and events seems perfectly positioned for McCandless to get in there and get cracking on floor replacement. That undertaking is unlikely to occur for now.