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.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A "door" in the fence

We occasionally need to get "behind" the fence, mainly to trim out stuff that starts growing there -- volunteer trees, and such.  I need more than one slat to gain access.  Two might do.  Three certainly is enough.  I was making use of the need to replace slats occasionally to also gain access, but thought I probably should just solve this problem on it's own.

So the idea is to take 3 adjacent slats and make them one large piece, so that it can be removed and replaced as one.

We first remove 3 slats.

We then re-attach, temporarily, the center slat with the new one.

Use the other two new slats to make sure that this center slat is positioned correctly.

We take one of the old slats that we removed, and don't need anymore, to cut out two short sections.  Each slat is 6 inches wide, well actually 5 1/2 or so, and we want it long enough that it extends across the back of all 3 new slats, so about 15 inches long.  We need two 15 inch long pieces -- one for the top and one for the bottom.

We position the two short sections so that they sit on the 2x4 cross rails for the fence, centered behind the one slat that is attached to the fence.  Then put the other two new slats, one on each side and attach them to the short section, not the 2x4 cross rails.

Do the same at the bottom.  Now the whole section of three slats is attached to the fence by just the one screw  in the middle slat.  You can use another screw at the bottom, but in our case, it slides behind the stone edging and in front of the lower railing, so it stays in place.

The three slats are all held together by the short pieces cut from the extra slat, and can be easily repositioned, because the short piece rests on the cross railings.