Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Watering System and Other Updates at the Urban Ranch

A photo of Nebraska Dave

Hey folks, I'm glad you could make it back. After shuttling a herd of kids to vacation bible school and back last week I'm thinking that I'd never make it as a school bus driver. I'd much rather crawl under porches and move heavy concrete slabs than have to control a bunch of kids. Wow, am I getting old or what? Understand that I love kids but just not in big groups with me in charge.

Many of you have older houses and can identify with the maintenance that goes into keeping the house in good working order. Mine is not nearly as old as some that blog here but still at 45 years old it has its issues from time to time. One day when I was away from home, my daughter called me in a panic saying that water was coming from under the sink. At first I thought it to be another dish washer issue. This picture was when I had to replace the dishwasher a couple years ago. I didn't have to get this far into the cabinetry this time, but it gives you an idea of what's up with the plumbing. The issue this time was a seal up under the sink which required taking down all the parts and replacing some of the seals. Once again the area under the sink is dry.

Dave Under the Sink

Here's the Poor Man's Patio with the trellis and the pole beans starting to grow. I had hoped that the pole beans would cover up the sides a little faster than it is. Perhaps there's not enough sun to encourage prolific growth. Once the leaves get on the branches of the trees the patio is shaded most of the day. I might have to think about something else next year.

Poor Man Patio in July

The Hostas have the stage and are in full bloom in the front yard. The Daffodil foliage is all but dead and the Tulips are totally gone. As I weeded the beds I never thought that it could dry out so fast in just one week but the ground is super dry and needed watering. The two little windows in the house foundation were for the water meter man to take a reading from the meter without entering the house so I always left a path to the window for him. Last week the utility company came and replaced the meter with a digital meter. Now the reading can be transmited wirelessly to the meter reader without him ever leaving his car. Good for him and good for me as now I can plant something in the path area. I'm thinking that would be a good space for the daylillies. What do you think?

Hostas in bloom

You might ask whatever happened to the gravity feed watering system. It's still in progress. I haven't repaired the big supply tank yet but I have been working on the final delivery system. Here is the final distribution tank with the inlet for water and an air vent so the water will drain through the delivery tubes when the timer shuts off the water. The delivery tubes will come out of the bottom of the distribution tank and direct the water to the plant roots. At least that's the plan right now. I've found that when working with a gravity very low water pressure system, volume is the key to success. I should be able to get back to working on the big tank soon. Yes, that's Gorilla glue. Without pressure things can be glued in place without leaking. I'll put a good coat of silicon sealer around the outside of the holes and this tank will be ready to have the holes drilled for the delivery hose fittings. It won't be long before the system will be somewhat in operation. Just in time for the hot July season and daily waterings.

Gravity Feed Distribution Tank

Well, that's what's been happening on the Urban Ranch the last couple weeks. Leave a message and let me know what's been happening in your part of the world.

I leave you with the words of wisdom from Possum Lodge on the Red Green Show, "Remember, this fix is only temporary, unless it works."

nebraska dave
7/13/2010 3:27:43 PM

@Oz Girl, I do love when those temporary fixes work so well that I don’t have to permanently fix it. I am stilling laughing about the lady ready to give the whole family over to the toll booth lady. I’ve been on some of those trips. It’s a wonder we all made it back home alive. The patio is really looking great this year. I can give all the credit to the Grit bloggers who have helped me along with all this flower/container stuff. Without the folks here at Grit I’m afraid I would still have the black thumb of death. It just goes to show that one never gets too old to grow a flower. The dog days of summer hit with a vengeance today. Temperatures in the 90s today and up to 97 tomorrow make for a scorcher for sure. I might have to water the patio containers twice during these hot days. Maybe things will finally dry out a bit. I bet the toll booth can get quite hot as well. I’ll be going through Kansas again on August 16th but probably not close to you. I’m on the way to Syracuse to help with electrical wiring of a church sanctuary again but will stop off for a visit in Topeka before scampering across Kansas. Syracuse is just north of Sublette the last place I helped with. This time we get to camp out on air mattresses in the church while we work there. At least it will be cool. I’ve experienced some of those Kansas summer days before. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I hope all your summer adventures will be cool ones.


nebraska dave
7/13/2010 3:02:27 PM

@Cindy, I bet things are transitioning into shrub, tree, and bush sales and gearing up for the fall planting about now. Most of the box stores are done with the spring plant sales and will be useing the space for more summer oriented plants. We are either feast or famine here with rain. Either it rains a inch or two in a torrential down pour or we dry out for a few days. I’ve had to water the patio this year and don’t have the automatic system up like last year. I’ll have to get it up and running as I’m going to be away from home for about 10 days and all those containers will definitely need watering while I’m gone. Thank you for the Coleus answer. I didn’t even know that they would bloom. It is surprising how quickly the containers will dry out after a huge rain. I guess those containers can only hold so much water and it evaporates quickly. I’m just about to give all the patio plants some Miracle Grow as a mid summer boost. They do look great so far. The garden is doing so well I think I’ll hold off on the Miracle Grow. The bug population here is thriving and Deep Woods Sportsmen Off has become my friend. The weather has just been wacky here and who knows what will happen the rest of the summer. Thanks for stopping by and answering my question.


oz girl
7/13/2010 7:58:32 AM

Oh isn't it wonderful when a temporary fix works forever... LOL. Re: the kids. Yep, I'm with you on that one. Once you raise yours, somehow the thought of being around kids 24/7 just isn't appealing anymore. I had a lady yesterday who came through my toll booth lane, and she was dead serious when she said she wanted to drop off her "kids" with me (this included her husband!!) I jokingly told her she could pull forward and left into our parking lot and leave them in our lobby and she deadpanned she just might do that as she couldn't stand the whining in the car much more! Everything looks great at your "urban" ranch Dave. Like you, trouble is finding the time to do all the things we want to do around our acreage. List is a mile long, and I always remind the hubby: look at what we've crossed off and accomplished, not at the long list of what's left to do. That way, you realize you HAVE accomplished much and you don't feel defeated re: the things that are left. :-)


cindy murphy
7/12/2010 8:33:28 PM

Hi, Dave. Everything is looking good at the Urban Ranch. I could sure use one of those gravity fed watering systems right about now. Yes, yes...in my comment on your last blog I said we'd received something like fourteen inches of rain in just two weeks. Then it got incredibly hot and dry here, accompanied by a lot of wind off the lake, which just sucks the moisture out of plants. Like at the Urban Ranch, things got dry here extremely quickly. But then again, it's pretty much sand around here so it's not surprizing. I've only had to water my xeriscape garden once this year though. The plants are still young enough that their root systems haven't developed deep enough to sustain them through periods of dry, hot weather like we've had yet...or at least, I'm not willing to lose them all to find out if they're big enough to fend on their own yet. Oh - and your coleus question. You pinch off the flowers, because if you don't, the plants tend to get really leggy. You can pinch them back, taking the flowers, and even a set of leaves or two. This keeps the plants nice, full and busy instead of tall and spindly. Enjoy the day.


nebraska dave
7/12/2010 7:58:40 PM

@Lisa, I’ve learned to never say never. It always seems to come back and bite me. How soon we forget about the nerve racking last time and always look forward with anticipation to the next time. It’s a good quality to have a memory that only remembers the good times and not so much the bad times. I probably would do it again if asked next year. It’s just a part of being Grandpa I guess. I lost track of the number of times I have herded around rat pack of kids and come home frazzled with the same attitude as your husband. It’s not that they were bad; it’s just so much energy to keep focused in the same direction. Of course the next time I always volunteer to do the same thing again. So here’s to guys who volunteer for children’s activities, come home frazzled, and have enough energy to do it again next time. You just gotta love them kinda guys.


lisa_8
7/12/2010 4:00:18 PM

My hubby took 5 kids from our son's class at an amusement park. The entire school went and he had 5 kids. He said NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! But he says that every year. And the next year he gets to chaperone again. Lisa


nebraska dave
7/9/2010 11:06:22 PM

@SweetMissDaisy, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I do love to read your personal blog. You have the best pictures. You have up close pictures down to a science. The last one about the horn worm was great. Too bad they have to be so destructive because they are beautiful. I thought it was interesting all the eye looking spots down the length of the body. My five year old grandson was walking by when I was viewing the pictures and was captivated by the worm pictures. I do love the Red Green show. It was one of my favorite shows. I never liked any sitcom shows but this one was excellent. I so identify with the do it yourself projects that always seem to make sense to me. Their saying and quotes are so funny and true. Yeah, I will try something a little different next year. Hopefully I will find the look that I want after a couple tries. The rest of the Poor Man’s Patio looks great. All the flowers are blooming their heart out. Well, except for those that aren’t supposed to bloom. I never knew that Coleus bloomed and my neighbor said to pinch it off but didn’t know why. Do you or anyone know why?


nebraska dave
7/9/2010 10:48:26 PM

@Robyn, thanks for dropping in. Work about the Urban Ranch has picked up this last week. I had weeds so high in the back yard that I had to crack out the hedge trimmer to cut them down. Old Chomper, the lawn mower, just wasn’t up to the task. My postage stamp back yard netted me 4 ½ yard waste bags of grass and three more bags of Nebraska weed growth. Now all that’s left is to run the fence line to grub out the volunteer Mulberry tree sprouts. It’s a continuous round of events to keep the fence line clean from either the volunteer trees or the dumb bind weed vines. There’s no rest when one owns an old house. I guess we need to enjoy the weather while we can cause it’s 74 days until fall. I heard the first June bug a couple days ago. What we call a June bug here starts life as a grub in the lawn and turns into a flying short fat bug. It has a unique wavering buzz sound that’s supposed to tell us that fall weather is six weeks away. Yes, here it does start cooling off from the summer heat the first part of September. Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a message. I know how precious time can be in the summer.


nebraska dave
7/9/2010 8:06:54 PM

@Pam, yes as I mentioned plumbing is not my favorite thing to do but it certainly beats calling the $100 an hour plumber. I’ve always been a do it my self kind of fella because well, I was too cheap to pay the high prices. I’ve even had to fix a couple things that the plumbers wouldn’t touch. The kids did have a great time at vacation bible school. Those in charge kept things down on kids’ level. Even the lunch served was quite interesting. They served the standard dirt with gummy worms; next day was kitty litter desert make from again ground up Oreos with tootsie rolls in it, the last day I thought was the best with pond scum desert made with lime sherbet. The theme for the week was “No mo yuck on me.” The beans are beginning to climb but very slowly. I already have plans for next years climbers. I have this weed in my back yard that produces prolific vines and will grow about a foot a day it seems. Not really but it sure seems like it sometimes. I thought I’d take after Cindy and do some xeriscaping. I also have some wild African Violets that are trying to invade my lawn. Pot them up and use will be my motto next year.


sweetmissdaisy
7/9/2010 1:00:03 PM

You DO know about the Red Green Show!! EXCELLENT!!! :) You've been busy ... enjoy seeing the updates. You know, maybe it's the bean type you have planted that's not doing so well. I have four types planted -- two are real stragglers, and the other two have really taken off... I keep hoping the others catch up, or at least perform! :)


robyn dolan
7/9/2010 10:18:51 AM

Isn't that the definition of homeownership? Always something. I love kids too, but they do wear one out. Especially when they are in herd mentality.


pam_6
7/9/2010 6:09:06 AM

Oh yes, I understand those "fixes". They are going on all the time around here, too. The picture of you under the sink and replacing a dishwasher sure brought back some unfun memories. A few years ago my husband and I replaced our dishwasher. I was almost ready to just sink wash dishes forever before we finished removing and replacing that thing! But like all the other repairs, it was well worth it in the long run. I am sure the kids had a blast at Bible School. Your trellis looks great. I hope the beans are doing well and the watering system, too. Good luck with it all. Have a great day. Pam