Thursday, May 13, 2021

Zone 11 water supply

 When we started to work on the front yard, we destroyed the sprinkler system.  There were two zones in the front yard -- zone 10 from the sidewalk to the neighbors and zone 11 from the sidewalk to the driveway.  Although we only worked on zone 10, the water supply line for zone 11 went across the yard

and so it was removed too.


 Now that the rock and stump excavation is complete, we need to put this water supply  line back.

On the sidewalk side, we have a 1 inch PVC pipe to attach to.

This pipe is 15 inches below the top of the rock wall, which should eventually be the top of the soil.

On the other end, we have the end of the water supply line.  This is a 1.5 inch PVC pipe that (at the moment) has a 90 degree turn and a reducer to take it down to a 1 inch PVC.

This is 21 inches below the top of the wall.

And the two ends are roughly 30 feet apart.


We will need 30 feet of 1 inch PVC, plus a valve to control the water flow, and the connectors to put it all together.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 10

 We keep digging out dirt.

and excavating the rock.

until we are down as far as we want to go.


Then we move over and do it all again.


until finally, we have all the dirt and rock dug out.



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Top dressing the back yard lawn

 We continue to try to improve the lawn in the back yard.  The grass was installed in 2014 and 2017, and top-dressed in 2018, so it seems that now is a good time to do it again.

We ordered 4 cubic yards of Screed Organic Compost from Whittlesey Landscape, which, with delivery, came to $293.60.


The back yard lawn is just starting to green up after the Winter.


We use the wheel barrow to move the compost around to the back, and distribute it around.


Then this has to be more evenly distributed by raking it all smooth.


The same was done to the part of the yard between the kitchen and the raised garden.


Rain is predicted to help wash it in and settle it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Adding a Whole House Surge Protector

 Out power went on and off multiple times last week, and while we had no apparent long-term problems as a result, it reminded me that we could.  The main problem with power supplies seem to be surges, and so we have some of our stuff plugged into surge protectors, but things move around, and maybe it would be best to just protect everything.  And I've seen suggestions this can be done at the circuit breaker box with a whole house surge protector.

There was a discussion on NextDoor about this, and several people recommended Grayzer Electric, so I sent them a note. They wanted to know if there was room in our circuit breaker box -- it needs two slots.  So I sent them a picture of the circuit breaker box.


This shows the two empty slots at the bottom, right.

So they came out and installed an Eaton Surgetrap.


They put it at the top, in slots 21 and 22.  These were previously the Stove and Oven circuits, which got moved down to 37 to 40. 


That pretty well fills the circuit breaker box, with the exception of 20, the half slot at the very bottom of the left column.  (Also circuit 26 had a breaker, but is not attached to anything, and the wire inside the box is capped off, but must go to something?)

We now have an additional thing -- the little black plastic box below the circuit breaker box, which tells us the status of the surge protector.

The two little green LED lights at the bottom show it is working correctly.  If there is an issue, those should change.

At the same time, as long as he was already here, we had the circuit breaker itself changed for the Solar Grid Tie in slots 18 and 19.  This had tripped twice in the past few months for no apparent reason, so either it has just aged badly, or there is some other problem in the solar system that we will probably encounter again.

 Both items -- the whole house surge protector and the replaced solar grid breaker -- took about an hour and cost $316.24



Monday, March 1, 2021

Fixing the Air Conditioner Filter Access

 We had the entire A/C and Furnace system replaced last Nov 2020 and with it came a new air cleaning system.  They put in a 20x25x4 inch HEPA filter below the fan and other parts of the system.  Basically it is just a metal box to hold the filter below all the other components of the system.

It being 3 months since then, I figured I should check the filter to see how it is doing.  There is an access door on the front of the filter housing.

But when I went to open the access door, it would not open.  It was wedged between the floor and the fan sitting on top of it.  It seemed that the upper units had settled down on top of the access door, or the floor had expanded up, so that there was not enough clearance to allow the access door to swing open.

So I called Service Wizard, since they had installed it, and a guy came out, looked at it and said "Yep, it's stuck" but had no idea how to solve the problem.  I suggested that the floor, being plywood, could be sanded down to get enough room to open the door.  He agreed. And then left.

So I got out my belt sander, 80 grit sand paper, and ran it for about an hour in front of the filter housing, getting it worn down enough to allow the access door to be opened.  Then I sealed the newly sanded wood with polyurethane and, the next day, with Kilz primer (and as long as I was at it, painted the rest of the floor in the utility closet.

And I will order some replacement air filters.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Lost an Olive Tree

 We have two olive trees, one North of the raised garden and one South.  Neither has been doing that well.

But the South one is apparently doing much worse.  It had two main branches from the trunk and one of the rotted and fell off just a couple weeks ago.  Then we had the coldest weather ever here in Central Texas,  snow and ice everywhere for days. 

 

 

and the South olive tree is clearly not going to make it.  So I cut it down.

I will need to go out and dig up the stump, but that will require dryer soil, so it can wait.

The North olive tree does not look much better

but we will wait to see what happens in the Spring.




Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 9

In the front of the ditch, we have a few layers of dirt and rock.

 But with just digging down and moving it out, we can get down to just a layer of rock.


And then we can apply the jack hammer to reduce it to rubble

And clear that off, to get a smaller set of layers of rock


Repeating this process leaves just a small ledge of rock at the bottom.

 

We do the same in the back half of the ditch.  We start with a layer of rock

and after repeated rounds of using the jack hammer and cleaning up the debris, we end up with having moved the ditch closer to the sidewalk, moving rock out and mixing the remaining dirt and dust with leaves and piling it up behind us.


Then we can move on to the next section, digging out the overlaying dirt.

mixing it with leaves, to improve the organic content, and putting it on the pile of dirt behind us.