Monthly Archives: July 2013
I love this month’s photo. I think it captures the essence of Dakota right now just perfectly. “What’s that on your face? Can I grab it please?” (“Oh it’s your nose. Is it firmly attached? Oh, it is. How about your ear?”)
For some reason I still can’t get her laughing smile in these pictures. Probably she still thinks the SLR is a bit weird. Ah well, her smirk is still quite nice. It’s getting more exciting to try and get a staged picture in general as she gets more active. Here are a few other shots from today…
“What are these wiggling things on the end of my feet?”
“Does this fit in my mouth?”
If you’ve been following along, you may recall that we’ve had an extra green swampy patch of grass in our front yard for a while now.
We checked to make sure that it wasn’t a leak in the irrigation system by shutting off water to the sprinklers for a few days. Considering that the swamp was right along a straight line between the water meter at the street and our water main valve on the side of the house, we were pretty sure it was a leak in the water main line. To confirm, we shut off the water main valve on the side of our house for a few hours and checked the water meter to see if it had moved, even though we clearly hadn’t been using any water. Yup.
Since water pressure in the house was still just fine, we ended up putting off fixing this for quite a while. That spot of grass just got to be extra lush and healthy for a few months. But we finally had a free weekend with good weather, so Dave dug a hole:
Well first he dug up clumps of grass and set them to one side in the hopes or replanting them when he was done. Then he made a big pile of dirt.
At first we thought we’d have to shut off the water for the digging part, but even down around the pipe things were manageable, albeit a bit muddy.
The hole revealed a join in the PVC pipe that clearly had a slow leak. So we picked up a pipe cutter and a new PVC joint that’s specifically designed as a replacement for this sort of situation, where the two ends to be joined are fixed in place.
Turning off the water at the meter turned out to be a bit of a pain, as apparently you’re supposed to use a specialized wrench/lever thing to do it. Oh and the entire meter was covered in slugs. Gross. Not wanting to buy a large, single-purpose wrench thing, Dave improvised with the tools we had. This didn’t quite work 100%, so there was still a slow drip, not ideal for cementing PVC pieces together.
After consulting the Internet brain trust, Dave stuffed some bread in the pipe to temporarily stop the dripping, then quickly glued everything together. Yup, the Internet said to use bread, so it must be true!
Actually, our neighbor suggested the same thing the next day as I was reporting our success to him. And then he mentioned that he owned one of those specialized wrench/lever things for turning off the water. *facepalm* I should have known, this is totally the neighbor that has every tool under the sun. Ah well.
We left the hole open over night, and the next day the dirt around the new join was looking nice and dry. So we filled in the hole and placed the grass clods back over top. We’ve been watering the area daily since then, and it looks like the grass is going to survive! I still need to mow the lawn though, so no “after” picture for you.
All in all, this ended up being just a few hours work. I was fully prepared for it to turn into a full weekend event with many, many trips to the hardware store, since that’s how our projects generally pan out. So I was pretty amazed that it ended up being a very manageable project, and we were only without water for maybe an hour. I guess occasionally we can get lucky. 🙂
My first attempt at growing herbs in little pots two years ago bombed… because I didn’t water them enough. Now that I’m home full time though I figure I can probably keep up with the little daily things a bit better. This time I thought instead of pots I’d try for a mini square foot garden, more like the garden box I made last year with limited success. This time instead of fancy 2×4’s I realized I could save a few bucks and use cedar fence slats. I wanted to make two boxes that were 3 feet by 1 foot, so all I needed was five 6 foot long slats. Here they are after a few quick cuts on the miter saw:
The bottoms of the boxes were just two boards side by side, which left a convenient exit for water between them. I wish I could say I thought of that beforehand, but I was just being lazy since I didn’t want to have to cut plywood for the bottoms. I only realized my brilliance afterward. Here’s a completed box:
Not the most beautiful bit of carpentry, but whatever, it works. Maybe I’ll paint the outside or something if I decide they’re too ugly. In the meantime here they sit on the back patio:
I found the little metal labels on clearance at Target. Sadly there wasn’t a label for cilantro, which I’m growing from seed since I managed that with no trouble last year, even with my limited watering. The other two empty looking spots are for garlic (I just stuck a few cloves from my CSA in the ground) and green onions. I really have no idea if I’ll get anything from them, but I wanted to stick to stuff that I used really frequently, since I figured I’d be more motivated that way.
The bucket of water is great since I only have to refill it about twice a week instead of running to the tap every day. I fill the little gray watering can from it.
The whole setup is in easy view of the kitchen. In fact here’s what I see when I walk out the back door:
I know from past experience that if I don’t make this as easy as possible I’ll start to let it slide and then I’ll be left with yet another pile of dead plants and/or weeds. This way I at least have a shot of being successful. I guess we’ll see how it goes!