Monday, December 31, 2012

Digging right to the fence in the backyard

We will continue the approach of putting a mowing strip along next to the fence.  In our case, we dig down to bedrock and pour a concrete wall and then cap it with a limestone brick.  The first step of this is to dig down to bedrock.  We have started that.

We will continue this along the fence over to the rock wall, and then start pouring concrete.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Second part of the final pathway walls

We continue pouring concrete to define the pathway.   We want the pathway to be about 36 inches across, so we pour the other side of the pathway accordingly.  First we put the forms up.

and poured cement in the forms.

We removed those forms after a day,

and moved them on to the next section

poured more concrete,

and did the same for the last section.

This gives us a complete walkway pair of walls, going from the completed part of the walkway, around the patio wall, and forming a smooth curve that should be easier to mow along.

This completes the current phase of pouring the concrete walls.  The next step is to fill the space between the walls with rubble rock and then top it with limestone blocks along the walls, and decomposed granite for a walkway base.  And we can start filling the pit back in with dirt, mixing it in with all the leaves and grass clippings that we have accumulated over the past month.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Restarting the irrigation system

It's threatening to freeze outside, and the radio says that plants survive a freeze better if the ground is wet.  Our city-allowed day to water is coming up (Saturday), so it might be best to water before the freeze.  Unfortunately, when we had the water line electrical wires extended, the wires may have been mixed up, so we need to determine which wire controls which zone.

This is time-consuming, but not difficult.  We turn on a zone at the controller in the garage, and then walk around to see what zone is actually running. We do this for each zone, until we have a complete mapping from the old zone numbers to the new zone numbers.


Once we have this table, we can see that to restore the controller to its previous zone definition, we need to
  • Switch the wires for 4 and 9
  • Switch the wires for 5 and 8
  • Move the wire from 6 to 7, the wire from 7 to 10, and 10 back to 6.
With these changes, we now have a working controller, with all the zones the same as before, and we can water.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Refrigerator

Our refrigerator died.  I opened up the freezer to get ice and found most of the ice had melted.  It's at least 15 years old, and was on our list to replace, so it was not unexpected.  It did mean we had to throw out almost everything in the refrigerator and freezer, but there certainly could have been worse times for it to die.

 So Monday night we went out looking for a new refrigerator.  Using Consumer Reports evaluation, we were looking for either a Whirlpool or Kenmore.  Our first stop was at Fry's Electronics, and we soon narrowed our choice to a Whirlpool refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom, and French doors with an ice-maker in the door.  We ended up with model WRF989SDAM00.

We arranged for it to be delivered on Wednesday.  Tuesday night I emptied out the old refrigerator -- luckily Wednesday morning was also our garbage pick up day.

First the installers took out the old refrigerator.

To get the new one in, they had to take the front door off it's hinges.  The new fridge came in the front door, thru the living room and into the kitchen.  To get around the kitchen island, they took it between the island and the dishwasher.  I took the dishwasher handle off.

Once the new fridge was in place, they hooked up the water supply for the ice maker, slid it back into place and plugged it in.

I spent the next hour or so taking off all the protective tape and plastic wrap, then washed out all the drawers and bins and shelves.

 But by the end of the day, we have a new refrigerator.  


 This replaces everything but the cabinets and the microwave from the original construction.

Trying to use the new refrigerator, they say to throw out the first 3 bins of ice and to flush 3 gallons of water thru the water dispenser.  It takes time for the ice, but I can do the water dispenser now.  When I start to use it, I find water on the floor.  Tracking it back, it's flowing down the side of the door gasket, and coming from the hinge at the top of the refrigerator.

Using a Phillips screw driver to remove the hinge cover, we find both wiring and a clear plastic tube to carry the water.

And the clear plastic tube has a hole in it.  Looks like it has been bent too much or too often.

Since this is a brand new refrigerator, I call Fry's.  They say to call Whirlpool.  Calling Whirlpool customer service, I get Kitchenaid, who says they are also Whirlpool.  Customer service wants to identify the specific part  that needs to be replaced, to decide if this needs a technician, or can be done by the customer (me).  So they transfer me to a separate company who handles all their parts (Marcone Supply), but they can't determine exactly what part it is, and transfer me back to Whirlpool/Kitchenaid.  This time they greet me as Amana, and says they also are Maytag.

In any case, they set up for someone from A & E Factory Service to come out on Friday morning (8 to 12).

On Friday, a technician shows up, agrees on the problem, but does not have the part on his truck.  He orders the part --  will be shipped UPS directly to my house --  and schedules for someone else to come out next Thursday to do the replacement repair work.  In the meantime, "don't use the water".

Digging up Zone 2

With the start of the cement for  the wall for the pathway poured, Zone 2 is completely defined.  So we can begin taking out the remaining rocks and providing better dirt.

We start digging out the dirt, to get down to the rock, mixing the dirt with some of the Fall leaves we have been collecting.

As we dig the dirt out, separate out the rocks, and mix in the dirt, we move it so that it fills in the parts of Zone 2 that we had dug out.

 We cannot get all of the rock out, since some of it is directly under the Chinese Pistache.   We are getting in as close as we feel we can.  If the tree dies at some time in the future, we should dig down and get the rest of this rock out.