If you have read my past posts you know that I measure summer yard work by how many T-shirts I soak through! Yesterday was a 4 T-shirt day and the work is still not complete. It will be at least a two T-shirt day today….need to finish that last chore so Ben and I can take the kayaks down to Galveston and harvest a few Redfish, Speckled Trout or Flounder!!!

The worms had being toiling away in my Rubbermaid bin eating up the kitchen scraps and providing lots of good food for the garden. As I was harvesting I noticed something that the worms wouldn’t eat…..the skins off of my tomatoes. Six or eight weeks ago I made salsa, tomato sauce and gazpacho. I peeled the skin off of the tomatoes after dipping them in boiling water for 30 seconds or so and then dipping them in cold water. The skins just slide off. That old phrase, “waste not want not” is always part of my “green” credo so the skins, cores and bad spots cut out of the tomatoes went into the bin…..Everything was eaten save the skins. I learned something. I went with the fast harvest practice and a pretty good number passed through the 1/4 inch screen but they will do fine in the garden. Compost worms work near the surface and they should be happy living in the compost I recently spread. The process is outlined in the pictures below.

Soaking strips of newspaper to be added as bedding as I transfer those that toil in the dark into their new home.

The new home waiting for the transfer. Newspaper strips are wrung out so they are not too wet!

That great garden supplement – worm castings….screen box in the background

I pulled weeds, cut back the canes on the rest of the blackberries, cut some flowers for Kathy…..yes I do grow a few flowers. My son Joe had cut John’s lawn and brought back a couple of sacks of grass clippings for my compost pile that I dumped on top of the watermelon rinds and remnants of the fresh pineapple we cored the night before. I sweated some more….made up some organic fertilizer to help the veggies along and then we, Ben, Sierra and I jumped into the next project.

Station 5 on my sprinkler system has needed repair for a long time….I had some young blood to help with the digging so in we dove. First we had to find the valve boxes. I knew approximate locations so it was soon done. Then to decide which valve wa number 5…… Now that was done. We uncovered it and found that it was an inexpensive valve, the diaphragm was horribly mangled so off to Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware I went…. no luck on parts so off to the internet…. part located but with shipping I can replace the valve with a new one….with parts that are readily available.

I order to replace the valve we need to enlarge the hole in order to cut the pipe……no screwed fittings – all glued! Problem two. As the hole was enlarge the signal wires got in the way of the axe…..oh yes an axe – lots of roots and the shovel…… now we have to do some splicing…..got that done.

I installed the sprinkler system in our yard back in Bakersfield California. I worked in the oil patch and was a fan of having the valves arranged in a manifold, with union couplings so if one needed to be removed for replacement I didn’t have to cut pipe. The other benefit is that all if the wiring was run to one spot, location known and protected…. I ran it in a pvc sleeve. The drawback is more PVC to run but that is dirt cheap. My current yard – no map for the valve locations…they are scattered and the wires run willy-nilly!!!!

Ok – glue one side in and move the piping just a little and the pvc behind the valve breaks off – I am on shirt # 4 and I am not changing again. We probe a little and discover that where the next cuts will need to be made there is another PVC line snuggled up against it……Let’s drink a good pale ale Ben and plan to finish in the morning…..Good choice a thunderstorm rolls in, fills the hole with water knocks the power ou as my wife was doing ravioli on the electric stove…….No problem, I am an ex-camper. I brought out my single burner stove and finished the meal off outside…..Hope the power comes back on soon as I am beginning to soak another T-shirt  – need my AC!

This hole keeps getting bigger and more complicated! Ben, Sierra and me…the old sweaty guy.

Ben and his rescue dog, Sierra checking on the progess.

Today will be a better day!