Berries and birdseed

I didn’t find a whole lot happening in the yard today. When I got off work, the bees were hanging around the outside of the hive and had drained the jar of sugar water Ron left for them, and the birds apparently had discovered the seed I put out for them yesterday, because it was all gone.

My neighbor’s tree, part of which extends into our yard, has lost its leaves, but there are little berries all over it. I never really noticed them before, but they’re pretty little things. I don’t know what they are. The birds must not like them. I’ve always been told that if you plant things that produce fruit, you’ll be overrun with birds, but I haven’t seen any.

That might have something to do with Red Fork’s proliferation of stray cats — two of whom were sitting in my next-door neighbor’s back yard this evening, taunting his dog.

My neighbor has this hilarious pit bull mix named Skittles who — like most of the pits I have known — seems to have more enthusiasm than intelligence.

Skittles used to have the run of her yard, but after she jumped the fence for the umpteenth time and wound up in our yard, where she joyfully plunged into the pond (and came out with her belly and hindquarters tinted a lovely shade of robin’s egg blue, thanks to the dye I added to the water to prevent algae bloom), her owner has taken to tying her up when he puts her out.

The cats apparently have figured out that she can’t reach them, because I came home from work this evening to find two of the ornery felines sitting in Skittles’ yard, safely out of her reach, staring at her with expressions of utter contempt.

Poor Skittles. No more dips in the pond, no more bounding over the fence to visit her friends, and now, to add insult to injury, she has to put up with cats invading her yard.

Those cats had better hope that cable holds….


Great … now she thinks she’s Bob Vila

With a little phone support from Daddy (who has more plumbing experience and is better at thinking backwards and inside out than I am) and a teensy bit of elbow grease from Ron (who helped me loosen a couple of corroded copper valves and went out a couple of times to turn the main water line on and off while I stayed inside to make sure nothing leaked), I managed to replace our worn-out bathroom sink and faucet with a brand-new set tonight.

It took a lot longer than it should have, mostly because it was a plumbing project involving 20-year-old fixtures, and when you’re dealing with old plumbing, it always ends up being more complicated and time-consuming than it should be … but I got it done, and I think it looks pretty good.

This is the new sink. Notice the cool retro faucets, which Ron found at 84 Lumber for $24 — about $12 less than the set we’d picked up at Home Depot, which wasn’t nearly as interesting. There’s still some putty around the edge of the sink, which I haven’t cleaned off yet, but at least you can see what it looks like:

New sink

This next picture isn’t very exciting, but I’m proud of it anyway, because I had to replace the supply line valves, which I’d never done before (Ron actually wound up doing a lot of the work on that part, because I was on the phone with Daddy, who was trying to walk me through it, and I couldn’t hold the phone and two wrenches all at the same time), and I had to replace the trap on the drain and take a hacksaw to the PVC pipe coming out of the wall to get the new plumbing to fit right. Here is my handiwork:

New drain plumbing

I’m really happy with this project for three reasons:

1. It fixed a problem we’d been having with the water pressure in there for a couple of weeks.
2. I assembled the pop-up drain correctly on the first try. (I messed up that part last time I installed a sink.)
3. I learned some new stuff about plumbing.

The thing about home improvement that makes it frustrating is also the thing that makes it fun: Invariably, you’ll get right in the middle of a project and then run across something you weren’t expecting or hadn’t dealt with before. Sometimes that can be really frustrating, but it also keeps things interesting and forces you to learn something new every time.

Plus it gives me an excuse to spend half an hour on the phone with Daddy and make umpteen trips to the hardware store in one day … which sort of reminds me of all those times Daddy let me tag along with him on his trips to the hardware store in my hometown when I was little bitty. 🙂