Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sprinklers for the beds by the River of Rocks

We have dug out a bed by the A/C compressor.  Doing so exposed a sprinkler head that is currently on zone 8.  The other bed, on the other side of the A/C unit, is on zone 9.  We will convert zone 9 to cover all the beds.

So we need to remove this head from it's current water supply and tie it into the water supply for zone 9.  Zone 9 covers the heads in the other bed, so let's dig down and tie into that line.  Although the paperwork of this other bed shows the line going from one end to the other, next to the house, once we dig it out, it is clear that it must run down the middle of the yard and then send a pipe over to the head.

So to tie the new bed onto this, we cut the line to the head in the other bed, and put in a t-union.  Then run a pipe in front of the A/C unit.  We cut the head in the new bed off of it's supply and attach it to the new pipe from zone 9.  

We need to dig back as far as we can on the zone 8 supply line and cap it off.

Then we can extend this new water supply to another head at the other end of the new bed.

This gives us sprinkler heads at both ends of the new bed.

And we can extend this around the corner of the house to the other new bed between the River of Rocks and the house.

Grab Bars for Middle Bathroom Shower

With Linda's Mother moved into the guest bedroom and using the central bathroom, we figured it would be prudent to install grab bars to help with getting in and out of the bathtub.

I bought a 24 inch and two 12 inch bars, from Amazon, and installed one of the smaller ones.

I want to install the other at the other end of the tub and the longer one against the wall in the bathtub/shower.  But I am unsure where the studs are behind the tile.  My stud finder does not seem to work reliably in finding a stud behind the tile, grout, and tile-board.  So I am waiting to install the other two until I can get a better stud sensor, or we replace the tile (and I can see where the studs are behind the tile before they put the new tile on).

4 February 2016

Was reminded that falls are the most common problem for older people, and most falls are at home.  So I went ahead and installed the second, longer grab bar.

I marked where the studs were, as best as I could tell, and then positioned the bar where I wanted it.  That should give me three holes for each end in the stud; the installation document says we need at least two.

Using a masonry bit to drill thru the tile.  First use a hammer and a point to make a dent where I want the hole, then drill.  It seems that the glaze on top of the tile is hard, but once I am thru that, it drills easily -- red clay dust.  Of the 6 holes, 5 of them hit the stud.  The inside one on the left misses the stud just a bit.  So we have two solid screws on the left and three on the right.

From there it is fairly easy.  Use clear silicone caulk on the holes to seal them from the water.  Put in the 5 screws. Put the covers over the screws.

Clean up the dust from the drilling.

This may seem to be high, but normal use now is with a bath seat, and it is not too high for standing from a bath seat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mulching the trees and beds

It has been a year since we finished most of the beds in the East Lawn, and we normally put down mulch around the trees in the Spring.  So it seems like the time to mulch the yard.  In addition, the City is actually offering a rebate to encourage mulching (to cut down on water usage).  The City wants us to use at least 2 cubic yards.

We looked at doing that in bags (27 bags at 2 cubic feet per bag at $3 a bag) but it is more cost effective to get it in bulk ($23.50 a cubic yard).  So we borrowed a pick-up and loaded it up with 2 cubic yards, put a plastic sheet over it and held the sheet in place with 4 bags (one in each corner).

We dumped that all out on the driveway so we could return the pick-up.

Then we started distributing it around.  First the trees in the front yard, starting with Fuzzy.

And then the large Spanish Oak in front of the house.

 The Chinese Pistache in Zone 2.

 And the plantings in Zone 2.

The bed at the base of the Monterrey Oak.

And finally the new pecan tree in the back yard.

Amazingly that was the full 2 cubic yards (plus the extra 8 cubic feet from the 4 bags).  We still didn't get to mulch the peninsula between the driveways, nor the North bed nor South bed on the East side of the house, nor the beds in the front of the house, nor the Elms on the West side of the house, nor the Oak tree.  This would take at least as much more.

Addendum, 28 June 2015

Home Depot is having a sale on its mulch -- $2.00 a bag for the Native Austin Hardwood Mulch that Linda likes.  So I bought 51 bags of it -- took 3 trips in my car -- 15 bags, 18 bags, 18 bags ($110.43 including sales tax).  That gives me 102 cubic feet, or more than 3.5 cubit yards.

I was able to cover the South beds, on both the right of the greenhouse (which took 12 bags)

and on the left side of the greenhouse (which took 10 bags)

and the peninsula between our driveway and the neighbors (which took 26 bags)

That leaves us 3 bags for the North Bed.  We had some Mexican Feather grass in one corner of it, but after two years, it has failed to thrive.  I want to put more dirt in this area, to raise the level some (I think it has settled some), and then I will put mulch over it for now.