That's quite all right, you motley crew of young whippersnappers, I can withstand the abuse, confident in the (knock wood
) knowledge that my manifolds and valves don't break. In that copper manifold picture, there was a possibility of some mechanical abuse and/or landscaping incompetence/changes, so I chose to go the durable route. Timewise, it's as quick as gluing PVC, so only the cost of fittings would bother me today. The Irritrol valves have bodies that are plenty strong, and just slightly oversized in the thread area, so one can thread the brass pretty far in without exerting any fatal forces. Since all my above-ground plumbing is copper or brass, I will often have male brass or copper threads going into an Irritrol master valve, and no worries yet.
By the way, the water supply exits the house above grade, and there's a drain that's left open all winter long. We can still use plain faucets here, so it also serves as a blowout valve. If I have any doubts about a homeowner's ability to wait until freeze danger is past, come springtime, I will run a strap through the handle to keep the drain open, so no one can 'accidentally' put the system in danger.