Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abby's Power

Recently, Abby came up to Monica and me and told us how the deer come up to her when she plays her toy recorder. She then showed us the wind instrument and even danced around the kitchen like some sort of snake trainer. Mon and I looked her and then each other, and laughed at our perfect little princess. Abby does have quite the imagination and expresses random thoughts nearly every day about her being a princess, librarian, or a rock star.

She is our self-entertainer and can be found in her room playing hours on end with dolls, singing to herself, or teaching her stuffed animals how to read. So when she told us of her new talent of being some sort of deer whisperer, it was easy to down-play as a make-believe story. And then something extraordinary happened a few weeks ago. Abby quietly yelled for Monica and me to come to the front door to see the deer she had called over. When we got to the front door and looked out the screen door, we both could barely believe our eyes. Abby had played her small recorder-like instrument at the front door and apparently a small fawn walked right up to the front porch, never loosing eye-contact with Abby. It was amazing. Mon told me to take a picture with my phone to prove that it really did happen. I always knew that Abby was an angel sent from the heavens, and this may be the proof.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Great Big Hole

Keeping our yard green through the summer takes a good amount of effort. We have no sprinkler system and with a couple acres of grass it means a lot of moving around hoses and sprinklers. I've come to love our little traveling sprinklers that I can turn on at night and they water a large portion of lawn while we sleep. We probably have 400 feet of hoses that feed different areas of our yard, including Wallace park (our flat yard in front that's approximatly 1.5 acres of grass). The vast majority of the water comes from one outside faucet, a frost free yard hydrant to be exact.
A few days ago as I was heading out of town for a boys camping trip, I went to turn on the water and noticed no water was coming out of the yard hydrant. I literally had the car packed and running when I discovered that something was wrong. I knew that not watering the lawn for 5-6 days could potentially cause a lot of damage, but my plans of camping sounded a lot better than fixing the problem. And I was right, camping was a lot more fun than fixing the problem.
When I got home I started investigating what could be the problem and hoped that it was just bad valve in the hydrant. The only problem was that hydrants are buried deep in the ground to avoid freezing and I had no idea how deep. My trusty Kubota back hoe would be the perfect tool in digging up the hydrant, but it is inches away from our well and main water line, which meant that after scratching the surface with the tractor, it was down to me and the shovel.
I gave myself a little head start on digging with the tractor, but then I had to start digging by hand...and digging...and digging...and digging. I followed the hydrant down 3-4 feet and started to wonder if I had some different type of faucet or hydrant. I made some calls to some different home-improvement stores and found that one of them carried an 8-foot hydrant, 2 feet above ground and 6-feet below ground. What are the chances that I owned the house with the elusive 8-foot hydrant? Why would I be writing this blog post if it weren't the case?
I ended up have to dig 6 1/2 feet down. At around the 5 foot mark, it was too hard to throw the dirt out of the hole, so I just put the dirt to the side inside the hole and essentially dug a smaller shovel-sized hole at the bottom of my big hole where I could get on my knees and bend over with my shoulder on the ground to reach the bottom of the hydrant. Once the hole was dug, it was an easy fix of just unscrewing the old unit and replacing it with the new one.
I spent the good portion of an entire day on that hole, and the problem seems to be fixed. It's days like this that owning a condo sound really nice.