Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Curb Appeal

orange cones and new concrete curb and sidewalk
After two days away from the house, I returned to find that the gas company is finishing the connections and replaced the curb and sidewalk. I'm not terribly worried about the mint, it will probably fill back in by the end of summer. The only other concern is how the new section of road will impact drainage. Guess we'll find out next rainstorm!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New Pipes

The galvanized pipes have been replaced with PEX and the new hot water heater installed. Only thing left is cleaning up the mess and putting the laundry room back into service. I'll post pictures of the new system once I have daylight in the basement.

JT from Justin Dorsey put in a lot of hard work. He even helped remove the old kitchen sink faucet. We didn't install a new faucet yet as Amy is still shopping for the perfect one.

Another highlight was the installation of the "new" hose bib. It only sat in the box for nine years. Now I need to purchase a garden hose and begin wrestling it around the house again! Of course the kids will want a sprinkler or pool set up for the summer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Hot Water: Plumbing Crisis Forces Replacement

1953 hot water tank just before replacement
A small leak this morning turned into a major, two day plumbing adventure. Thankfully, JT from Justin Dorsey was available to come out and replace our sixty year old plumbing and hot water heater.

This morning, when I went down to the basement to feed the dog, I heard water dripping. A leak had developed above the washing machine. I was able to open the washing machine and have the tank collect the dripping water.

My next step was to turn off the water, release the pressure and fix the repair. However, after shutting off the cold water feed and opening sink faucets, the pressure did not drop. Instead, hot water started flowing out the cold water taps. I frantically tracked the water lines and figured that the hot water heater was flowing backwards.

Continuing to open and close valves did not help the situation. I could not relieve pressure on the system and the leak started blasting hot steam. After about an hour of frantic work with hot water and steam pouring from all the downstairs faucets, the pressure eased off. It appears that the antique hot water heater's thermal cut off switch failed, causing the tank to overheat. Thankfully it didn't explode.

While the plumbers are here replacing the old tank, we're going ahead and removing the galvanized pipe through the house. They are installing PEX tubing and plenty of shut off valves. The entire process should only take two days. We all appreciated the way they plumbed in the downstairs toilet and sink first. As of this evening, we have cold water through the entire house and hot water lines are run. The hot water tank will be swapped out tomorrow. Once it's plumbed into the system, we'll be back in business.

Monday, May 26, 2014

First Rose

burgandy heirloom rose
The first rose of the season is one of the fragrent, heirloom style. There are several buds about to open so it won't be long before we'll have bouquets in the house!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Has Begun

After weeding the north side of the knot garden.
Three hours of gardening is a great way to kick off the summer season. This morning I made it through the north section of the knot garden before lunch. After pulling weeds, here's what's left behind:

Roses - pruned back dead branches and cleared around the base of the plants to allow better air flow. There are two red roses, one white and a pink. All are hybrid tea varieties.

Allium (Allium sativum) - pulled up most of the spreading volunteers and its root systems.

Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) - already in bloom, I pulled some around edges to keep plants contained.

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) - these plants have reached about six inches tall. I already pulled the dead stalks from last year. They just needed some thinning back from areas where I don't want them to spread.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) - there are a few plants back by the fence, most were thinned out of this section as they were crowding the walkway and the roses.