Breaking news!–from a week ago

More tardy updates with minimalist expository!

Exterior of the new carport is all metal

Pics of finished product coming soon!

Trimming the new built-in bookshelves

Pics of finished product coming soon!

A good day today in the sewing room…got about 80% of all the wood trim nailed up.

Pics of finished product coming soon!

Almost in hot water

For awhile, we’ve had problems with the water heater. A couple of mornings, there would be no hot water for showers, but, by the time we got home in the evening, things were back to normal. Once or twice, the circuit breaker for the water heater was tripped for no apparent reason. Also, there was this little, drip by drip, leak at the water heater’s base. With each little crisis, we thought the end was at hand…until the water heated up again. Finally, in an oddly belated manner, the water heater expired yesterday.

A couple of years after we bought 118 Henry Street, the original water heater had to be replaced. DeShawn and I did without hot water for a week before we could get a new one. The plumber that we contracted was a fairly typical Chester type. We used him for a trio of projects until we had spent about $1500.  At that point, I figured we had completely depleted our budget for plumbing labor for as long as we owned the house. We bought some books/tools and have been doing all the plumbing work since.

So, today, we did a water heater replacement.

This one is only 7 years old

Could be it failed so soon because it was a really cheap unit or because it was manhandled into the crawlspace or both. Easy to see what was going on after removing the thermostat cover. No doubt it had been leaking for some time. At the bottom of the thermostat, you can see a charred and somewhat burnt part of the plastic cover, in front of the upper heating coil. Not sure if the leak caused an electrical short or if we had a leak AND a short, but, for certain, the water was keeping the heat down (nervous laughter).

The new one is, at least, a name brand and we took the time to do a couple of minor upgrades.

In situ with a little crawlspace vignette

The best of the improvements was the Sharkbite braided connector hoses (more on these in a later post). Mark the calendars and we will see how long this one lasts!

Although the crawlspace at the front of the house is pretty tall, the water heater is 30”+ without hoses, the access door into the space is not so ample. We had to remove the door and the wood frame to get the water heater into the crawlspace.

Gapping hole meet new door

The old door was pretty beat up and rotted, so, of course, we took the time to fabricate a new one. For $9 in hardware, some pressure treated lumber we had laying around, and an hour or so, we got another 10-15 years. The weather was too cool for painting, that will have to wait for warmer days.

Vitamin D Therapy

As we languished in the air conditioning on Saturday, a friend of mine, Greg A., wrote on his Facebook page (and I directly quote), “yard work beckons, running out of plausible reasons to avoid”. Today, we found ourselves in Greg’s predicament and took to summer outdoors.

Mid to late summer is the time to prune a lot of the native bushes and shrubs of the Carolinas. We trimmed up the 2 azaleas (F. Rushing, p.153) and lone forsythia (F. Rushing, p.163) in the front yard. Azaleas, in particular, are “old growth” bloomers, meaning, in the spring, they bloom on the existing foliage before producing new leaf growth. Trimming this time of year gives the plant time to repair the damage and be ready for flowering next year.

That was the easy part…the hard part was taking out the big spirea (F. Rushing, p.178) that had become overgrown with honeysuckle. It took a chainsaw and over an hour to get the above ground cleared. Then another hour with a mattock to remove the roots. To quote myself from a way earlier post of this blawg: “For those of you who have never had the pleasure, the hardest work you will never do is to remove a tree stump with this hoe on steroids.”

The secret: let the mattock do the work

As you might be able to tell from the above picture, the spirea covered an area about 10’ in diameter.

We recently mentioned our spider population. Today, Carole found one before the cats did. Apparently, one old fellow preferred the A/C to the crawlspace and tried to cool off in the bathtub. After the screams died down, I showed Mississippi, one of our cats, a new toy.

It’s a big funnel spider

For the intrepid reader, here’s a detail. Needless to say, “nom, nom, nom” and spider was gone.

Last weekend, we went camping at Hunting Island for a few days. Here’s a shot from the top of the lighthouse:

Storm off the coast

For a larger version, suitable for desktop wallpaper, click here.