Homestead Maintenance

A while back the Mad Farmer and Miss Mercy were planning on having some dear friends over to the Homestead. It was going to be the first time in a year that we were all able to be getting together after a very trying time for our friends. The day before we thought they would be able to come over we lost all water pressure in our kitchen sink. Not an ideal event when you are planning on cooking a turkey, making side dishes and would like to be able to wash up, clean vegetables and in general, use your kitchen.

So, the Mad Farmer did what any thrifty person would do, instead of calling a plumber at over-time rates for an after hours on-site visit, the Farmer got under the sink, turned the water off at the hot/cold taps and discovered that our hard water had corroded the taps to the point that you could not shut the water off locally. After a whole-house search and a quick call to the Mad Farmers brother, who originally owned and re-modeled the house, the main water shutoff was located and turned off, allowing the Mad Farmer to proceed.

The Mad Farmer would like to say he’s an expert plumber. The Mad Farmer would also like to say that he just won the Lottery, sadly, he can’t say either thing without it being untrue. The Farmer is a mediocre plumber. I understand the basics and have replaced toilets, sinks and made minor repairs. In this particular case after struggling to finally getting things loosened up and disconnected it was discovered that the hard water at the Homestead had created calcification and mineral deposits in the connecting pipes and pieces had broken off and clogged the faucet. Because it took the Mad Farmer a significant amount of time to get to the point where he knew what he was dealing with it was dark, and late.

So, we’re at Home Depot, about 1/2 hour before the store closes, deciding on a new faucet. God Bless America. There are countries in the world where there is still not access to clean, potable, running water. In America you can need to replace a part of your personal infrastructure (your homestead) you can hop into your fossil fuel burning conveyance (your car) and mosey on down to your local home improvement store. Where there were a bewildering number of choices at 9:00 pm on a work night. After a discussion on various features that we would never use we finally decided not to get the faucet that you wave at and it would tell you the time and instead went with one that basic functions, like on and off, but also had the intriguing “bell shield” technology that would create an impenetrable outside “bell” of water that would prevent food particles from devastatingly flying into unrestricted corners of your sink while washing your plate off – cool right?

So, two hours later, with the water at the homestead shut off, the Farmer knew (because he has been married to her for eight years) Miss Mercy would be much happier in the morning if she had coffee and and a shower. The Mad Farmer finally had the new faucet and hoses installed and SUCCESS – water in the kitchen sink of a pressure they had not seen the purchase of the Homestead. It was 11 pm at night and the Farmer was tired, but proud. Resting comfortably on his pillow knowing he had excelled at a mediocre job in 2-3 times the time it would have taken a professional. In hindsight everything takes at least 2-3 times longer and based on experience where “Everything’s a Project” he should have know it would be.

Fast forward six weeks. Water pressure in the kitchen is worse than when the Farmer replaced the faucet. Fearing that he had overpaid for a faucet, the Farmer scheduled an appointment with the Department of Making Sad About Your Water to come check his pressure. After several scheduling mishaps he finally was told by an employee of the Department that his water pressure was outstanding and way better then the employee’s water pressure at his homestead. The Farmer groaned. This meant a trip under the sink. Learning a lesson from the original problem he turned off the Homestead water first. Under the sink, unscrewing connections, small space, not pleasant, the Farmer could not find a problem, probably because he was a mediocre plumber. Finally, the actual way to unscrew his new hi-tech nozzle was discovered. And, what did he see?

The brand new nozzle was completely clogged with small bits of rubberized particles. It was weird looking. Clearly a problem. Fortunately there was small wire screen preventing said particles from clogging the nozzle. The Farmer wonders if the screen was in place because the faucet manufacturers knew this was a potential problem but failed to disclose it to unsuspecting consumers or if it was just far-sighted design on their part to prevent problems – no way to actually know, just it was there. After dislodging said particles, water pressure in the kitchen miraculously returned to previously exciting levels.

The moral dear readers, is that if you have a Homestead, there are always going to be surprises and sometimes the simplest explanation is covered by Occam’s Razor. What surprises have you had at your homestead? Were the fixes simple or complex?

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