Saturday, May 17, 2014

We like to stay busy

Odometer - resting for the summer
Trip Meter

Friday May 16, 2014

So many projects to do and so little time..

The weather is fabulous, and the lake is full- I like to slip out early in the morning and get in a good row before the wind comes up. 

We built a raised-bed garden box to try our hand at growing a vegetable garden.  It took us some time to find some topsoil to fill it.  A local sheep rancher sells composted straw and manure so most of the box is filled with that. 

We then had to build a cage over the top to keep the deer and other critters from eating everything. Jeff decided to use electrical conduit for the framework and standard poultry netting for the cage.
We used the little MIG welder for the first time since the pack-up and move from Medford, and of course, towards the end, ran out of shielding gas.

The results are, well, very cage-like.  The two front panels are on hinges to allow us to open up the entire front to do our weeding and- if we are fortunate enough- our harvesting.  I used zinc-rich paint on all the places I ground the galvanizing off to weld, but I still expect the coastal weather to pretty much destroy it in about 5- 7 years.

While our planter project was underway, Joan came to me and said she could hear water running in the house piping during times that she was quite sure we shouldn't be using any.  A quick check at the city water meter showed a leak of about 4/10 of a gallon per minute- yikes!   That's about 600 gallons a day, and our water is very expensive here.  

I crawled under the house to see if I could find the leak there, either in the crawl space or dripping from one of the walls above- nothing wet (thank goodness!)
Next, we decided to dig a series of holes to  A) find the route of the pipe from the meter to the house, and  B) to see if I could find a wet spot that would indicate that we were close to the leak.  After about 7 holes, Jeff had the serpentine route of the service line established, but did not have a wet hole.  We decided to take the pipe loose at the shut-off we installed last summer near the city meter, and hook up a garden hose to the house piping, just inside the foundation.  This would confirm that the leak was in the service line to the street, and would save us 600 gallons a day until we had the leak stopped.

And- It did work!  Thanks to Sharkbite (R) fittings the whole process took less than a hour.  If you have not heard of Sharkbite- it is the greatest invention since plumbing was invented.

Here is a picture of the fitting I used under the house to adapt the male hose end into the 3/4 copper water line.  I cut the line with a tubing cutter, cleaned the pipe with some very fine sand paper, and pushed the fitting into place on the end of the line- that simple and LEAK FREE !

A good friend and local contractor, said if it were up to him, he'd replace the line with plastic right now, rather than chase more leaks in the near future.  Copper, which is an aweome product for a water service, does not do well in the acidic coastal soils around this locale.

So, to sum it up, Joan and I dug the whole front yard up and laid PEX plastic piping over the 40 year old copper main line to the house.

Total cost, about $60 in pipe and fittings, and a bottle of Ibuprofen for our aching backs!

Thanks to Joan's efforts, the front yard looks beautiful and undisturbed again.

All's well, that end's well, and this is a pretty awesome ending to this day!

Your Traveling Friends,

Joan and Jeff

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