Plumbing Issues

Disaster. I walked up to the mail box this morning and noticed that the sprinkler system had turned on. It’s been off since May, when the rainy season kicked off. I checked the control box and noticed some ants inside but other than that, everything was off. I unscrewed the cover on the box to see exactly what the ants had done and was surprised to find a dead lizard and several lizard eggs. Lizard eggs are white spherical balls about a half inch in diameter. I also noticed that when I threw the electrical breaker that controlled the whole sprinkler system, that particular line of sprinklers didn’t turn off. I suspected that somehow the lizard had caused the line of sprinklers to turn on but resetting the system didn’t turn it off. The valves on each of the three sprinkler lines has an independent manual turn off so I figured I’d just turn off that particular line and probably replace the valve. It was then that I learned that when we installed the sprinkler system, we didn’t install a turn off valve to isolate the sprinkler system from the house so the only way to work on the system is to shut off the water to the house, up at the well and pump. I was able to close the valve on the bad string but it was leaking. I turned off the whole water system since Nancy was gone and spent the rest of the day digging up around the valves. I then turned the main water back on and learned that the leaky valve was leaking enough to fill all I had dug up in about half an hour. Before it totally submerged I scoped the plumbing and saw that this simple valve change was going to be a big deal and take at least a whole day of muddy work. Of course all this was on Sunday so the hardware store was closed and my neighbor with all the parts and pieces was spending the day at church. I decided to just cut the line to the sprinkler system and cap it or put in a manual turn off valve before tackling the bad valve. Joey and Mark had installed the system originally so I need to check the warranty papers and see if they’ll come up to the lake and fix it. If not warranty, how about my Christmas present.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to try to grow parsnips. On the off chance that you haven’t ever grown them yourself, a few words. I was expecting them to pop out and resemble carrots but instead they pop out and resemble tomatoes. The first few sets of leaves are a dead ringer for tomato plant leaves. If I didn’t know exactly where I planted them, I’d be pulling them out as renegade tomatoes. Nancy mentioned to one of her bridge friends that we are growing parsnips and she offered an interesting anecdote. Her family loved parsnips so her father decided to grow them. They turned out really good but her father learned that he had an intense allergy to the leaves. When he picked them the first time his hands broke out and swelled up enough to visit a doctor for relief med’s. I’ll be cautious, just in case.

Uh oh, the weather guys are using the “F” word for Thursday. My tomatoes and a couple pepper plants are vulnerable but everything else should be ok. The pepper plants are small and easily covered but you saw the picture of the tomato plants – not so easy to cover. I picked the first few cherry tomatoes just today and would really hate to lose the rest. I really don’t expect us to get much below 40 because we’re so close to the lake and these weather forecasters like to throw their weight around. I also think they’re forgetting my ace in the hole – global warming.

Planted the Chinese cabbage, 9 of 12 starts, and 6 more speckled perch carcasses. I’m holding back on the last 3 as spares to cover any that crash in the next few days. If they all make it, Nancy has a quilting buddy with a garden mostly populated with my spares. And in case you’re wondering why there’s been no fish pictures – I’m catching plenty of fish but none worth a single picture.

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