Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Working on Old Plumbing Plus a Garden Update

A photo of Nebraska DaveThis has been a very strange garden year to be sure. It's seems that everything produced over abundantly but it's being short lived. The cucumbers were coming in so fast I was buried in cukes. Then one day they just dried up and quit. The potatoes seem to be Ok from the ones that I've dug up, but the green peppers, that's another story. From eight plants I havested 6 beautiful peppers early in the season then nothing. I see now there are two or tree smaller peppers but nothing of real importance. The onions were a bust. The tomatoes are going gang busters but now there are signs of leaf curl, and I expect in another couple weeks they will be done. All grown the same as last year but just different weather patterns, I guess.

 Official garden Van Camp bean can rain gauge 

The last rain here was a real gully washer. Much to my surprise the next morning as I toured the garden and checked the official bean can garden rain gauge, it was full. It had rained a good four inches over night. Being 40 feet above the river level and no where near any flash flood creeks, my garden and property were exempted from any damage. Not so for some other folks. Stories came out about sewers backing up into houses and low lying streets were under water for a time as the storm drains just couldn't handle the torrential rains of the night before.

My pickles didn't turn out as well as I would have liked.  After letting them set for about a month, I cracked open a jar and had a taste.  They taste great but are mushy.  There's nothing worse than a mushy pickle.  I'm glad I didn't make a whole bunch until I get the proceedure perfected.  Yeah, I'm getting smarter in my old age.  Ah well, I'll give it another try soon.  I can always buy a couple store cucumbers for practice.

Today's another year older and hopefully not any farther in debt.  Yup, spent the birthday relaxing and eating barbequed ribs at my favorite restaruant with my youngest daughter.  Tomorrow it's back to the challanging stuff like working on old plumbing.

 ProblemFaucet 

The decision was to replace that old faucet in the 1/2 bath that has been causing grief. As you can see it hasn't been used for a while. It's time to put this sink back into use. The wrestling match between the old bathroom faucet and me ended with faucet - 1 Old Dave - 0. Of course it teased me with the deception that I was winning by making it just hard enough to test my demolition skills. After wrangling the rusty faucet lock nuts with 45 years of corrosion and finally using a sawsall to remove the old faucet, the false perception was that the fight was going in my favor. Alas after the battle raged for two hours and a feeling of accomplishment came over me, the final test with water pressure on showed the error of my thinking. Water pressure on and sink faucet off, all was good. Hot water on, all is still good. Cold water on, spray on the wall and water dripping on the floor. Cold water off. Spraying and dripping quit. Hmmmm, defective faucet. The thought crossed my mind that my idea about using a used faucet laying around to save a buck was a dumb idea turned out to be true.

Home improvement store here I come ... again. That's not all that bad because on the way home seeds from the local nursery will be purchased to plant the fall garden. The faucet display just happened to have a clearance sale on the exact faucet needed. Yahoo!! So, once again it's time to drain down the water system, remove the some what used defective faucet and replace it with a nice new one. Hopefully this one will last another 45 years. Then it will definitely be some one else's problem. Ok, so let's begin.

 Removing the old faucet 

Yeah, it's a messy job but someone has to do it. I keep trying to get my soon to be seven-year-old grandson to help but he's not having anything to do with bathroom repair. He keeps saying, "Grandpa, I'll have a job," which means he'll be hiring someone else to do that job.

At the end of day two it's the faucet repair - 2 Old Dave - 0. Ah, the joys of working on 45 year old plumbing. The new faucet was great and installed just fine but just a little drip started from around the stopper in the sink. Well, OK, a dribble. So no problem a new stopper came with the new faucet. Yeah, however, removing the old stopper was not possible and well, I broke the sink trying all different methods trying to remove the rusted solid plumbing under the sink. As you can clearly see that 45 years ago all the plumbing was metal which corrodes and rusts together magnificently. A bigger issue is the pipe that goes into the wall. After decades of close contact the two became one. Now the rusted pipe has to be chiseled out of the galvanized pipe. Oh, boy, I'm looking forward to that.

 New Faucet 

Well, the good news is that the new faucet is installed.  Right? That was the goal wasn't it?  This seemingly never ending saga will have to be concluded in another post next time.  So, until then, may your plumbing keep flowing and your sink stoppers remain sealed.  Oh man I really think it's time for a cup of coffee .... and a nap.

nebraska dave
8/29/2011 5:22:44 PM

Sarah, hot water heaters are fun for sure. I'm not mentioning any thing about a hot water heater as mine is 16 years old. The last one went 20 years before total failure so I may have a couple more years before I'll have to sweat those copper pipes again. I can do it but it doesn't look too pretty when I'm done. My greatest fear is the main sewer pipe to the street. The neighbor next to me has a sewer pipe that collapsed and must dig it up for replacement. The home builder was a clever man and run the pipe under the driveway. NOT!! It will cost many thousands of dollars to repair the nasty bugger. I dread to think about that happening to mine. Here's to plumbing having a long and prosperous life.


sarah schartz
8/29/2011 11:52:35 AM

Dave, I'm so glad that other people have horendous plumbing stories. It makes me feel better. Hubbydoes lots of things but plumbing isn't one of them. (If he did the house would not be standing when he was done.) I've got a leaking hot water heater that I'm going to have to tackle soon...


nebraska dave
8/28/2011 9:33:47 PM

Mary, oh I can so relate to your faucet story. Those faucet nuts are in the most unhandy place behind the sink and in such a small area. It certainly would be disappointing when a new faucet out of the box is defective. I don't even get mad any more and just expect things to go awry so when it doesn't, I am pleasantly surprised. My best story was when I once worked on toilet that needed to have the guts replaced. I had a shut off valve on this one so at least I didn't have to turn off the water to the whole house. I neglected to attach the little tube that sprays water down the over flow pipe so as I was looking inside the water tank, I reached down to turn on the water and the geyser sprayed me right in the face. This happened in the same bathroom I'm working on again. I just expect when working on plumbing to be splashed on, dripped on, gooked on, sprayed, have rust falling in my face, or anything else that could possibly happen. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know that I'm not the only one that faces disappointing moments when working on plumbing. Hopely my issue will become a laughable memory very quickly. Have a great day of not having to work on the plumbing.


mary carton
8/28/2011 5:05:30 PM

Dave, happy belated birthday. I brought a new faucet one to go on a small bath vanity. You had to crawl into the cabinet sideways as it had 2 small doors with a center post. I had everything hooked up and water going everywhere. Went & got new supply lines,hooked them up, same. Finally I took the faucet off and hooked it up from inside the cabinet. There was a small hole in a weld of the faucet. I was so mad and had bruised shoulders from all that crawling into the cabinet. I took it back to the store & got another brand, installed it just fine. My garden never got off as we went from spring to summer and I messed up my knee. I have tomatoes & have planted cucs 3 times just to get 1 cucumber out of the whole lot. Maybe next year.


nebraska dave
8/28/2011 8:49:29 AM

Cindy, at least mine was a little more timed and not such an emergency situation as yours. I was prepared to the break into the wall to fix the broken pipe scenario but thankfully that didn't happen. I should have this project finished in another good work day but the thing I hate about the whole deal is that it's cutting into my garden time. I really have to get that fall garden planted real soon. One thing I didn't plan on was the availability of garden seeds in the fall. Basically, there are none. Since this would be my first attempt to grow a fall garden, I didn't think to plan ahead last spring. I will have to give a concentrated search for the seeds left over from last spring. I did manage to find some broccoli seeds at the local nursery and a package of lettuce seeds so that may just be the fall garden. I've not grown broccoli before so that should be interesting. I hope that your weather is cooling off now. August has been a glorious month with much cooler temperatures here in Nebraska but I'm afraid that we are headed into an early fall with winter to follow. Over all it's been a wonderful garden learning experience this year. Have a great day at the fall nursery. When does the nursery shut down for the season?


cindy murphy
8/28/2011 6:59:33 AM

Hi, Dave. Oh, don't you just love old plumbing?! Our summer plumbing issue (it seems we have one every season) occurred less than 10 minutes after a houseful of guests arrived; my brother, his ex-wife, their two kids, and my other brother were visiting for the weekend. I heard water running in the bathroom, and thought one of the kids had forgotten to turn off the sink faucet in a rush. Nope, it was coming from the tub faucet - not a drip, but a steady stream. Of course, it had no shut-off, except for the main one to the house. And of course, the corroded thing-a-ma-jig was behind the tiled wall. It took a couple trips to the home improvement store, a couple hours, many tools, a few beers, and a hole cut through the wall in the room butting up to the bathroom to fix it. At least Hubs had help; one of my brothers can fix anything. Happy Belated Birthday to you. Hope it was grand, and that all your future projects are hassle-free!


nebraska dave
8/26/2011 9:55:32 PM

Suzanne, yes I did get one up on the old plumbing the next day. I don't have it quite done yet but today was a busy day hauling doors for a friend and tomorrow will be a busy day helping with chainsaw work in Iowa due to storm damage. I should be able to finish up the plumbing job with one more day of work next week. The worst is over and I'm on the installation of the new parts now. Persistance and patience pays off. My learning experience over the years has taught me to never get too excited about things like this but instead just keep plodding along and it will get finished. I hope you never have to deal with these kinds of plumbing issues. Have a great day in the garden.


suzanne cox
8/26/2011 11:09:57 AM

Oh Dave! I am sorry about all you are going through, but it sure makes for an entertaining read! Happy Birthday, hope you finally managed to get that cup of coffee and maybe tomorrow will be your day to one-up the plumbing!