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Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Replacing Kitchen Flooring

Kitchen appliances are modern day marvels. No one lives without a refrigerator, stove, or microwave in today's American culture. So when one of the basics fail, it requires immediate action. Even more so when it happens while on vacation.

Upon returning home from a trip to Texas to attend a friend's wedding, I found that my faithful fridge of 20 some years had failed and leaked out a mess. Apparently it was leaking for years and I just didn't know it.

kitchen floor

As you can see things have been happening under the fridge for quite some time. I would say that the fridge hasn't been out of it's cubby for at least 17 years. Maybe it should come out a little more often. So now a simple refrigerator replacement becomes a floor issue as well. So out comes the floor.

kitchen floor

Ok, hmmmm, now what? Spend hours scraping and removing the old flooring? There's no way to match the old floor and besides, who would want to match a 1965 floor? I mean I like retro but even that's a bit much for me. So how do I put a new floor in without tearing out the old? The first step is to level up the area that I removed the old nasty flooring.

kitchen floor

Ok, better. This is just the flooring that replaced the old flooring to make the spot level with the rest of the floor in the kitchen. You can see that there had to be some self leveling patch around the fringe of the new flooring. Ok, on to the next step.

kitchen floor

A 1/4 inch sheathing was screwed over the old floor and will serve as the base for the new flooring title. Now each screw has to be leveled up with a dab of self leveling patch before the actual flooring can be applied. If that's not done a little divot will appear through the vinyl title. So the extra time and effort will pay off in the end. I've learned from experience over the years that haste really does make for a sad looking finished project. The sheathing is 1/4 inch and the vinyl title is about 1/8 inch. When raising up the level of a floor 3/8 inch, a small amount of trim must be trimmed off the bottom of the vertical door opening trim.

kitchen floor

In days of old trimming off the bottom of a vertical piece of door trim would have involved taking the trim off and cutting off a bit of the trim and then installing the trim back on the door frame. Today, with the invention of the blade trimmer, it's a snap. All that's involved is turn on the trimmer and buzz off a small chunk from the bottom without ever removing the trim piece. I'm a firm believer that projects are so I can justify buying tools.

So onward and upward. Kitchen Floor Part 2 will be posted soon. May all your projects be simple, safe, and completed in a timely manner.

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Plumbing

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave 

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to one and all.  When the weather outside is frightful, plumbing is so delightful. Yeah, in the words of my so insightful 13-year-old grandson, "Grandpa, you're being sarcastic again aren't you." Yes, yes I am. The sewer gremlins left me a little Christmas present and put it in the bathtub drain. Hmmmm, I'm so blessed that I can hardly stand it. Well, there's more to the story than just this little messy wad. There's a wonderful tool called a Zip It that can be found most anywhere miscellaneous TV pitch add items are sold. It's a skinny piece of plastic with barbs down the strip.  The idea is to poke the strip with barbs down the drain and pull out the hairball that's accumulated in the drain. It looks like it worked really well don't you think? 

Drain Hair

Unfortunately the little gremlins had more up their sleeve. Unknown to me, a bigger wad of hair broke off and was forced down the drain, got stuck in the pipes and totally stopped the water flow.  Murphy's law about if things can get worse, they will always follows me around. Not to be daunted, I pulled out the Big Box store cheapo drain snake and began to poke it down the drain. My drain snake has a cordless drill option so being the handy tech guy that I am, that's the option I used. The snake lodged on something and before my finger came off the cordless drill, snap went the cable. Yes, the cable broke off in the drain. What started out as a simple drain cleanout was now a homeowner's worst nightmare. There comes a time, no matter how handy a home owner is, professional help has to be called. This was one of those times. Within the hour, Bob (not real name) the plumber came and looked at the plumbing from under the tub. His words were "Hmmmm, I've never seen a tub plumbed quite like this before."  Why does that not surprise me. I did learn some thing from the experience with Bob who was very willing to explain how to attack such a task.  When snaking a tub drain, the snake goes down the overflow tube, which should go straight into the P-Trap. Yeah, mine didn't. It had two 90-degree turns before going into the P-trap because of (big sigh) water pipes. Really?  Who designed that? Anyway, we caught a break and found the snake cable that had broken off and become confused with all the twisting and turning and went up the overflow tube instead of down the sewer pipe. It was a simple task to grab a hold of it and pull it out through the overflow tube. Now down the drain with a professional snake for about 25 feet seemed to clear the clog.  When the professional snake came out of the drain a big huge wad of hair was on the end of the cable. So one winter project off the list and I can't wait to get to the next one.  (Big sigh) Another plumbing job. It seems to be my destiny in life.

Faucet Replacement

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas. Faucet replacement came next. This faucet had a drip problem on the hot water side. During the summer months, I didn't have the time to work on it so I just shut off the water to the hot side under the sink. Weeks went by and turned into months without sink hot water in the main bathroom. Finally it came time to pay attention to the little faucet. Now in days past, faucet kits could be purchased and it was a simple task to just replace a washer or two and life was restored to the faucet. When I removed the hot water handle and cap to the shut off valve, parts fell out in pieces and a spring jumped out at me. Yeah, it's another one of those homeowner "Oh, crap" moments. I have in the past been stubborn to the point of I'm going to fix this no matter what. In my old age I've come to understand that trying to put Pandora back in the box so to speak won't bring joy to a job well done and usually resulted in frustration, words that should never be spoken, and a nasty disposition. So in my gray-haired wisdom (well what hair I have left), I trotted on down to the DIY store and bought a new faucet. I still had to roll around under the sink to get it installed, but it went much better than the previous plumbing issue. The faucet gods smiled on me. I'm just getting too old for this house maintenance stuff.

Well, that's my life this last week.  How have you been celebrating the Christmas season? Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. May all your plumbing issues be small and easy to fix.

Nebraska Dave

Winter projects

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave 

Gardening is over for this year, Christmas cards have been sent, shopping for gifts has been completed, and decorations have been carefully put in place with care. Now begins the winter projects.  The ones that have been literally piling up over the summer.  Those things that I was always going to get around to doing but just never quite had the time to do.

Clothes 2017a

Like all those clothes from the laundry room that need sorting. It's just not one of those tasks that I love to do. It's a necessary responsibility, but even the low priority to-do things get to a point where they can not be put off any longer.  Well, I guess this is at that point.

Ceiling Drain

Yeah, like that hole in the ceiling from emergency plumbing repair. This time, yes there have been other times, I am going to come up with a removable cover for easier access to the plumbing instead of just covering the ceiling with drywall. 

Laundry drain

Yeah, speaking of plumbing. This drain in the laundry was discovered to be totally plugged.  The drain for the washing machine works just fine.  The complication is that this drain is in an area of the house that is on a slab.  So if the trap needs to be replaced, a section of the floor has to be removed to dig out the trap.  Not fun.

Seed Station

Then there's the seed-starting area that needs a total clean to get ready for the next gardening year.  I'm going to use this area to grow microgreens until the seeds are started in February.


In my spare time the basement clean up is always available to be worked on. Yeah, when my wife died I just shoved a lot of stuff into the basement to deal with later.  Well, that was 16 years ago and the basement is still a mess. My 13-year-old grandson would like to make this a man cave with big screen TV for gaming and a computer desk.

So you see, the next couple months will be filled with plenty of things to work on. Now all I have to do is find the energy and desire to get them done.

You have any winter projects that need attention over the winter months?

Have a great time through the Christmas season and may all your winter projects be completed without complications or extra cost.

Nebraska Dave




Christmas Preparation

Adventures of Old Nebraska DaveThanksgiving is now history and my hope is that you have all been stuffed with tasty food, had good conversations, and have been filled with plenty of great memories. Now all eyes have turned toward Christmas and the hustle and bustle for decorating, baking, and present buying has begun in earnest for the coming celebration. I've started the long process of sending out about 80 to 90 Christmas cards to family and friends. The Christmas letter has been drafted and tweaked to perfection, the cards have been found and sorted, and the writing of personal notes for each card has started. For the next two weeks it will be every spare moment devoted to Christmas cards. I don't do much store shopping for Christmas. I'm closing down on Christmas number 70 in my life and I'm just not too inspired to shop until I drop. So everyone knows that they will be getting a gift card from me to spend on what ever they want. I was never too creative when it came to finding gifts for people.

The weather continues to be relatively nice with temps in the 50s and 60s on a daily basis. That is way above normal for Nebraska this time of the year. There is a threat of the first snow of the year next week. I've still been able to work on garden cleanup. The ground is still soft and moist, which makes for easy turning of the soil. I like to turn the soil once in the fall and once in the spring. Some say it might stir up weeds but that's why I do it.  I get them to sprout and use a stirrup hoe and a garden rake to easily cultivate the raised bed. After cultivating three times, the weeds that are going to sprout have been dealt with. The rest of the year will be relatively easy to weed.  After cultivating three times a deep layer of mulch is laid down and planting begins.

This winter I want to grow more microgreens under the grow lights until seed starting time. When I get the push for Christmas done, it will be time to start planting the microgreens. I've had some success the last couple years but the technique changes every year. This year it will be different again. 

Well, yeah, speaking of seeds, it's time to start thinking about ordering seeds. Those seed catalogs are overwhelming to me. I for one just can't picture a tomato any other color than red. I guess I'm just so last century in my gardening. I'm not too willing to experiment with new plants. This year I'll pay attention to where I buy my seeds. Last year I bought an off brand from a big box store and ended up with all Cherry tomatoes instead of Rutgers. You would think after all my years of life I would have learned that cheap is hardly ever better. I won't be doing that again. 

Now that gardening is winding down, inside projects are gearing up. There are plenty of projects to work on that have piled up over the summer. One that is top priority is to get my garage cleaned out to allow my truck to be inside during the winter months. I've taken one load to the landfill with perhaps a couple more before I'm finished. It's amazing how just a couple things in the garage can morph into a garage full of stuff just in one summer. The garage clean out has been long overdue and the addition of a refrigerator given to me that has to reside in the garage generated the garage clean out to begin to find a space. So I better get after it before the snow flies.  

So that's my life for now. How about you? Are you into Christmas or is it just another holiday that you are glad when it's over.

Merry Christmas a


Happy Thanksgiving

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave 

Thanksgiving is on the horizon and will soon be in the house. All those delicious smells as food is prepared; all those folks scurrying around in the kitchen making sure every thing is just right; and all the conversations about what's happened in lives for the last year make for a wonderful time. The level of activity subsides a little during dinner and continues to slow down after the meal. By the time the sun goes down, naps abound in front of TV. Another Thanksgiving dinner has turned into leftovers. That's another reason I like Thanksgiving. Leftovers are wonder in the days following Thanksgiving.  

My Thanksgiving will be spent with family and friends. The Thanksgiving activities start today. Yes, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but a friend has a special Thanksgiving dinner for a select few before Thanksgiving so it doesn't interfere with normal family festivities. I've always had several invitations to be included in family celebrations. I am truly a blessed man. 

Some have not so good memories of family Thanksgivings, but I can't remember a single bad one in our family. I know it's hard to believe, but then maybe the bad ones I just choose not to remember.

I did have one Thanksgiving that bordered on bad but turned out good. The dinner was being prepared at my house by my wife. She was an awesome cook. We had about 15 people at the house. My wife was also a very emotional and sensitive person. About halfway through preparing the dinner, she was too overwhelmed with it all and locked herself in the bedroom and wouldn't come out. It turned out to be the best ever Thanksgiving dinner. The guests pitched in and completed the dinner. A great time was had by all. Even my wife had a good time when she eventually came out of the bedroom. I've learned that seemingly bad situations can turn out to be good memorable ones.

I truly hope all have the best Thanksgiving ever.  May the food be delicious, the leftovers be even more so, and the conversations be encouraging.

thanksgiving wishes

November To-Do Things

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave 

Oh yes, the deep fall temperatures have arrived with a biting wind to accommodate them. There has been lower 20s at night with barely into the 40s during the day for the last week. It's kept me inside thinking about winter projects. 

Bed 4 2017a

This is bed 4 after a good cleanup. The plant debris and weed mess was weed trimmed off and the mulch buried at a shovel's depth. It will be covered with yard waste leaf mulch like the bed next to it for a winter blanket. That completes the formal garden area cleanup. This next week will be in the 50s and 60s so the cleanup will continue. Only five more beds to go and then I can hunker down for the winter.

Bed 11 Harvest 2017

Here's the squash harvest for this year, 75 in all. Some have been given away and some have been stored away for a winter's day. I see eating a lot of squash this winter. I'm thinking that the squash plants will be less next year.

Stir Fry

I have had a couple baked and stuffed squash that were tasty, and this is a stir-fry that I made. My stir-fries are mostly just clean out the fridge and see what happens. Some turn out great and others ... not so much. This one was great with chunks of squash that were first microwaved for 10 minutes then put in with the rest of the stir-fry.

dishwasher installation

The winter projects have begun. During the summer months a friend remodeled his kitchen and gave me the white dishwasher. It was an upgrade from the cheapo that I've used for many years. So the exchange was made on a cold and dreary day with the wind howling outside. The old washer was taken to the recycling center.  The installed dishwater is a much better one. However, it didn't come with a cutlery basket. It was just my luck that I'd already taken the old dishwasher to the recycle center before I discovered the missing item. Amazon came to the rescue. 

A refrigerator came with the dishwasher but it's just a second fridge that will reside in the garage. I wanted it mainly for the freezer space, which I've filled up with garden produce. I suppose the refrigerator side could be used for soda and water. I don't drink much soda, but my daughter and grandson do. My family has always thought my eating habits were a little strange. Eating healthy in the 1980s just wasn't thought about in the same way as today. Anyone who thought about gardening, canning, and living off the land was just weird. The trend is turning back to the basics today and more folks are gardening, even in the city. Almost every neighbor on my street has a couple tomato plants and a pepper or two in the backyard. Salsa is the rage today, to make fresh out of the backyard. I say whatever it takes to inspire people to grow things is OK with me. 

There's always some thing to fix in an old house. Well, some would laugh when I say my house is 52 years old when their house is over 100 years old.  Unfortunately, the very thing I liked about living in this neighborhood has become my plague. Tree roots have begun to creep into the main sewer line. It happens so often now that I will have to learn how to rent the machine and clean out the main line drain on a regular basis. I've discovered that a major name DIY home improvement store rents the machines for a reasonable price, which is much less than a service to come out to do it for me. So I better get to it. I'll let you know how it turns out. 

Have a great day. May all your chores be pleasurable; all your disasters be small; and all your days be filled with joy.

Nebraska Dave

Gardening in November 2017

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave 

November finally brought the fall weather to Nebraska. The temps are 50s during the day and 20s during the night. The killing frost came about 2 1/2 weeks late. For a couple weeks, wind was the weather that kept me inside and not working on the garden cleanup. 

Terra Nova East side fence

This year has been the year of vandalism for the garden. Old rusty chicken wire might keep out rabbits and other creatures, but not so much 13-year-old boys roaming the neighborhood with nothing else to do. This is the second or maybe third time they have vandalized the garden.  Each time the escalation was a bit more than the last. They smashed up two of my big wooden tomato cages beyond repair, dumped over barrels off the mini water tower, and tore a big hole in the chicken wire fence. As I've said in the past, neighbors have taken over watching out for the garden as I live about 20 minutes away. Cops were called and the culprits were caught. I didn't press charges and hopefully this will be the end of damage from them. This area where the garden resides is not the best part of town and I expected a lot more than what I've had over the six years of gardening here.

So anyway, yesterday was a day of fence replacement. It really needed replacing, so the schedule was just stepped up a little sooner. I still have some work to be done on the roadside wooden fence. It's the section that the van smashed through about four years ago. I did my best to get put it all back together, but it just wasn't the same and is now falling apart in those sections. I'm hoping to get that repaired before the snow flies as well.

Bed 3 2017

This is Bed 3, where the green beans grew this year. I had in mind to let them mature after a couple of harvests to have dried beans for soups during the winter. It was such a weed mess due to garden neglect that I just weed-whacked down the whole mess and covered the bed with leaf yard waste from my front yard. Next spring all that cover will be buried at spade depth and the beds will be left bare during the spring season until planting time.

I've found that spring weed control is in three stages. First the early spring seeds sprout and cultivation is just easier without mulch on the soil. Then comes the grasses and finally the bind weed. So a good hula hoe, or some call it a stirrup hoe, on a bed without mulch only takes about 15 minutes to completely cultivate. The mulch is laid down right before planting with more layers as needed during the growing season.

I'm not sure how it happened, but if you look real close, you can see my ghost in the picture. I didn't realize that had happened until I got home and was downloading the pictures to my computer.  It looks pretty creepy to me.

Bed 4 2017

Yup, here's bed 4 with the frost killed eggplant, zucchini, and chard. The chard is still surviving but has a little bit of frost damage. One more good day of fence repair and cleanup will bring the formal part of the garden and fence repair for now to a finish for this year.

Garden View Fall 2017

Here's the garden view as of November 3, 2017. It's starting to look like a winter garden with slumbering raised beds and no green.

I guess it's time to fire up the basement microgreen project that uses the seed starting station. More on that later.

Have a great fall season and Thanksgiving Day.