Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Chibi

 

Chibi was one of Kathryn's cats, but developed cancer.  So she joins Inari and Jita and Pepper in Zone 2.

Zone 2 has filled out a lot since Inari and Jita were buried in 2014, but we continued along the kitchen/garage wall.  This put us into the Monkey Grass.

But Monkey Grass is resilient so we expect it will fill back in, over time.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 3

 Digging up the rest of the front yard will be difficult.  There is no shade now that the tree has been cut down.  So we will need a sun shade.  Luckily, we have one left over from a beach trip about 20 years ago.

Then we can start digging.  First we need to find the sides of the area that we dug up before.  So we start digging in what we think is a corner of the part yet to be dug up, trying to find the edges.  We were badly off, but eventually we find what we think are the edges -- no big rocks in the dirt, the dirt is fairly soft to dig, and uniform in composition.

Now it's just day by day making this pit a bit larger.  Finding big rocks as we do and pulling them out.

Repeat and repeat.

Widening the hole.

Removing the rocks, and the dirt, and then digging further and deeper.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Window washing

Washed the windows today.  Or rather, finished washing the windows today.  It took two days to wash them, 17 the first day and 13 the second.

While the windows could all be washed from the inside, that would leave the screens as they are, so instead we washed them all from the outside first.  We used the Windex Outdoor.  Listed at Home Depot as "32 fl oz Blue Bottle Outdoor Sprayer", $7.98


We ended up buying two bottles.  The first bottle did the first 17 windows (four hours), then we had to go get another bottle to finish it off the remaining 13 windows (three hours), a week later.

We first sprayed each window down with just a jet of water as a pre-rinse.  Then we used the Windex Outdoor to spray it down with a "soap" solution.  We finished with another clear water rinse.  This was done outside, using a garden hose for water, so it went thru the screens to the outside of the windows.

Then, after all the windows were rinsed, washed, and rinsed on the outside, I went inside and (a) cleaned the inside of the window, using regular Windex, and then opened each window up to wash the outside, again using regular Windex.

I tried using a squeegee, but it left streaks, so mainly cleaned the outside and dried them with old rags, wash clothes and diapers.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Irrigation system water usage

Our water bill is still very high.  For example, the most recent one was for 23,000 gallons, double the previous month, and 10X our normal winter usage.

So the question is, what is our current irrigation system water usage? We have asked this before, in July 2014, and October 2017.


  We ran each zone by hand, for the same time as what the schedule says, and our results are:

Zone Gallons Time
Zone 1 15 30  drip
Zone 2 100 30  drip
Zone 3 194 30  drip
Zone 4 624 30
Zone 5 32 30  drip
Zone 6 642 30
Zone 7 278 20
Zone 8 673 30
Zone 9 360 20
Zone 10
off
Zone 11
off
Total 2918

So figure about 3000 gallons per usage. And that will go up when we add back in Zone 10 and Zone 11 once we finish the front yard excavations.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 2

Digging out the front yard is hot, hard work.  I thought I might be able to make it a big easier by cutting the area up into a matrix of squares by trenching it left to right and front to back.  So I rented a trencher.  Again.  The cost was $207.89 for 4 hours from Home Depot.


I tried this back when I first started to dig up the front yard in April 2018.  As with that attempt, it takes hours to borrow the pickup to get a hitch so that I can pull the trailer that the trencher is on, and then to return everything.  This time I got somewhat more trenching done, but not more than probably an hour of actual work.  After making one trench, I got too close to it when trying to make a second, and the trencher "fell in" the trench -- one of the two treads got in the previous trench and lost traction.  I eventually got it out of that, but was so flustered that I drove the trencher -- backed it up actually -- into the pit that I had already partially excavated.  It took hours, literally hours, of work to get it out of the pit.

But before I started, the  yard was pretty uniform.



and after all that work, it is now pretty torn up.



So we will have to see how much, if any, help this has been.




Friday, June 5, 2020

Replacing the kitchen faucet cartridge

The faucet for the kitchen sink is starting to be more difficult to get it to turn off completely -- it prefers to drip a little, although if you jiggle the handle enough, you can get it to stop completely.  But it suggests it's time for a new one.  It was installed in 2011, so 9 years.



Our kitchen sink is a Delta Ashton 19922-SSSD-DST we know from our blog post for when it was installed. Naturally it is no longer available, but the cartridge that controls the flow of water is available: Delta RP50587 Single Handle Valve Cartridge, from several sources, including Home Depot.

To replace the cartridge, we first remove the handle.  There is a little button with blue and red to indicate cold and hot and we can pry it up.  Under it is a 1/8 inch hex set screw.

Loosening this set screw allows the handle to be removed.


The dome like stainless steel covering just unscrews -- it's just decorative.


At this point, be sure you have turned off the water supply, both hot and cold, to the faucet.  The next step removes the cartridge.  You can turn the water off at any time before this.

Once the dome is removed, it exposes a big copper hex nut.  Using a big wrench, remove that. 





Now the old cartridge just pops right out.  Replace it with the new cartridge, and reverse the steps -- big copper hex nut, then the dome, then the handle, and tighten the set screw, and replace the little button.  Turn on the water and test it out.





Looks just like it did before, and with luck, it will be another 9 years before we have to do this again.





A leak in the Zone 3 underground irrigation system

Linda found a wash-out near one of the rose bushes, and by turning on Zone 3, it was clear that this was a leak.  Digging down at this spot, it appears that a T-connector had broken -- not sure why -- and would need to be replaced.


This required cutting out the T-connector and the attached tubing and splicing back in, using straight connectors, a new T-connector.

Flushing the system and trying it out, showed another leak at another location, on the other side of the rose bush, where Linda had planted a milk-weed plant.  That was just in a straight part of the tubing.

And fixing that one, and then testing the zone, showed a third leak, a bit further from the other two.





This repair was just cutting the leaking part of the tubing, and then inserting a straight connector into both ends.  It leaks a bit, but that's what drip irrigation is supposed to do, so we won't worry too much about it.