Annmarie told me on Friday that there was a water leak down at her mother’s house around the frost free fire hydrant spigot. I despise plumbing and it doesn’t like me. I talked to Donna and gave her the news that I was busy all weekend until Sunday. I knew I was going to have to dig out the leak as almost no plumber does that these days. If they do do it, its very expensive.
There was some discussion about having Thing 1 or 2 dig or one of the nephews. Digging is one of those things that you just have to keep after and you have to be careful when you get close as to not puncture the pipe and make things worse so the amateurs were off the table. I headed out Sunday and found three shovels, a normal one, smaller head one and a short handled one. I spent 30 minutes sharpening each one with a file and running a wire brush over the spade part to smooth it out and get rid of any rust. A sharp edge and smooth blade make for a much easier digging experience especially in the mud.
I ended up digging a channel away from the standpipe as the ground sloped away and I was hoping to get the water to drain away from my work area. This also allowed me to dig a smaller hole as I could back up into the channel and bend over to work on the pipe. As much as it pains me to admit, I am getting pretty good at digging holes for plumbing repair. I know how much to expose and I make it big enough to work in. A hole that is too small is so painful to work in and its messy.
I decided to only wear a billed baseball cap instead of one of my wide brimmed hats. About an hour into the job I realized I was wearing my new leather boots and needed to crawl down into the wet muddy hole. I went back to the house to put on my rubber boots when I realized I had no rubber boots. Annmarie tried to talk me into buying a pair when I got the new leather boots but I didn’t want to spend that much money. Luckily, I had found my brand new chest high waders in the old house when we cleaned it out. I figured I would only be outside for a couple of hours. It took me 4.5 hours to dig the hole and discover that the 90 degree elbow had a small crack in the bottom, most likely from turning the faucet off and on. Wearing chest high water proof waders in 100+ degree weather is not ideal by a long shot. My entire body was soaking wet. My clothes looked like I was standing in chest deep water.
Sarah loaded all of the yard sale items into the pickup and I went over to help her unload them. I did tell her that if she got them in unassisted she could get them out alone. She knew I wanted a cabinet out in her shed and it is a two person transfer. So I was on the hook to help her unload so I could get the cabinet for the old house! I was basically blackmailed by my own child.
The plan was for me to pickup new parts on Monday after work and then come home and fix it. Now it should be noted that after multiple attempts and some reading I have not improved my plumbing skills. I have basically not improved at all. I can dig a great hole but the actual plumbing part is like catching a greased pig. The likely hood of catching it on the first try is very slim but if you keep applying yourself eventually you can do it. That pretty much sums up my philosophy when it comes to plumbing. I only do simple repairs and they never go right. I tried to get the needed parts at the first hardware store but they did not have the 90 degree elbow in 1 1/4 size. I was unsure if I needed a 1 or 3/4 inch nipple or reducer, so I bought the 1 inch because I thought I had the 3/4 at home. At the second hardware store I found the needed 90 degree angle. My first mistake was only buying one! I went home put on the weight loss waders and glued the pieces onto the pipe. The pipe had some water still running out so I had to work quick but it was hot and the glue was drying fast. I then attached the standpipe and the frost free standpipe and tied the pipe up at the top so the weight was off the new joint. I waited two hours and had the water turned back on. Nope, I had several micro leaks around the glued joints and the threaded part of the frost free standpipe. We left the water on so I could shower! I was off on Tuesday and would get it done.
So Tuesday morning the water got turned off and I went down and sawed the joint off. I opened faucets up at our house and yard in an attempt to get all the water to drain out of the system. Annmarie was going to town so I asked her to buy 2 sets of parts. The actual stand pipe size was 1 inch. I let it drain for 3 hours. This time I glued the reducer into one side of the 90 degree angle and then glued the 90 degree angle onto the pipe. There was a single drop of water present that I dried first. I left this to dry for 2 hours. Then I put teflon tape on a nipple then inserted it into the frost free hydrant. I used teflon tape on the other side and screwed it into the reducer on the 90 degree and tied it up at the top to support the weight. Again the water was turned on and I still had a leak! The hydrant side had a slow drip from the nipple. The water was turned off and I took it all apart and used four wraps of teflon this time. I usually only use two wraps as too much is not a good thing. I had the water turned back on and the leak is even slower but still present. There is a point in a job where simple perseverance is the answer. I had just enough time to get to the hardware store and buy some yellow colored thread compound. I had noticed some corrosion on the pipe threads and I suspect that is why the teflon tape was not working. I painted the stuff on and used two layers of teflon tape, installed it again and had the water turned back on. It is a miracle, there was no leak! I had won. The only problem is the standpipe has about a five degree tilt to the right. This is within acceptable tolerance when it comes to a Steve plumbing job.
I have been going up to the upper field and checking for coyotes per Professional instructions. I have seen nothing. On Monday night as I am heading home I spotted a coyote on the back hillside with a small dead animal in its mouth. It was 125 yards away and all I had was a Ruger 10/22. I took a single pot shot that caused it to drop its meal and run away.
On Tuesday the Professional came out to check his work. I caught up with him and he asked me to only go out every three days. He did tell me that they are trying to trap a cougar for one of my neighbors. The cougar is less than a mile away and has been spotted out during the day around homes. We had been wondering why the sheep have been bunching up in the evenings and trying to get inside the barn. They do not want to be away from the buildings. So we will keep a look out. Nothing has woken us up at night and we sleep with the windows open all year around.
Our internet is coming! They got the 1/4 inch steel wire hung on the power poles all the way to our house today. We should have true high speed internet by next week. One of the installers told Annmarie that the unfettered high speed, what we got, is currently running at 700MBS!! We cannot even get 1.5 MBS now and our current upload speed is only 125KBS. We have just given up on the internet. We cannot stream any TV as our show hung up every 30-60 seconds lasts night and today I could not use the computer as it cannot update itself as the speed is too slow. We are just biding our time and looking forward to any sort of improvement but it looks like we are going to be getting an amazing upgrade! I will be able to do Twitter and You Tube from our house.