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I think the short of the story is that my softener is spent and needs to be rebuilt. After receiving bad advice for years and never being told the media needs refreshing in the equipment I went and got advice in the city. It was recommended to get full tests done before making any decisions. The results deemed the water undrinkable due to the high TDS levels. No matter the advice I have gotten so far, a reverse osmosis system was advised for the drinking water. I made that move first as I wait for quotes and recommended whole house equipment from suppliers.

I started at 3:40. I had to cut a plug into the cabinet and run power. Drill a hole in the granite counter, drill a drain line into the plumbing, make all connections and flush the system for 30 minutes. I wrapped up the work around 6 and cleanup and flushing took me to about 7. I love amazon. I only decided on the model I wanted on Sunday and I picked it up in town today, but three boxes for one product sure makes for a more expansive mess in a project.

Everything worked out beautifully, and the water quality far exceeds my expectations. I should have done it years ago. I hate the idea of a refillable tank so I went for a Waterdrop g3 600 continuous flow. I still have a little work to do running the line to the fridge tomorrow. Here are the results so far.
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Nice job on the RO install. The idea of drilling or boring granite scares the hell out of me. Looks perfect.
Thanks. It is actually pretty simple. Start on a 45 degree angle and level up to square so you don't skip along the counter setting the bit. I have a few holes in tile under my belt, but you can tell by the shape of the bit that is was purchased for this job. Moderate trepidation fades at the point of no return. 😆
 
Saturday my son helped shoveling mulch. We managed to get 2 loads (1 yard each, as much as my truck holds) to cover everything, using triple shredded mulch. Lunch was pizza and wings from a local pizzeria.

Yesterday I helped him doing yard work -- previous owners of his house planted bushes right next to the house and deck. Last year we cleaned up the front of the house, this time we did around the deck, removing a LOT of stuff. Plants trap water, and he has some rot on the deck, notably a latticework that hid the underside of the deck from view, the boards the latticework was nailed to, and part of the top rail. Fortunately, everything else is solid. It looks like non-pressure treated 2x4 lumber was used in some places (including the top rail, which is odd), and as expected, it all rotted.

We will be replacing the top rail on an upcoming weekend, and he's not replacing the the latticework. I'll bring my power washer over and we'll clean the entire deck and put fresh paint on everything.

I got to use his electric mower, which works well. He has a small lot, not much to mow, so this unit is great for him. It would take me 3 hours to mow my lawn using it, so a similar unit is not in my plans.

This morning I was going to smoke ribs ... we've had periodic thunderstorms since 4 AM ... so the ribs are in the oven. It's not the same as smoking, but it's still ribs.
 
Between yesterday and today, process 6 gallons of honey from the hives (this took all day Saturday), move a second run cab/Zin to a barrel, clean and sanitize four cases of bottles, then bottle two cases of Merlot, and finally get into the “cellar” and get it more organized. It was a very productive weekend at home… finally…!
 
Sausages!

A random 21 day pork stick cure with white wine that I found on youtube. Spicy Italian, and African Droewers. Coriander, nutmeg, cloves, worster, and vinegar, in the droewers, they smell amazing. Ready to eat in 4-5 days after an air dry in a billtong box.

The plan is to smoke half of each so I can learn the flavors.
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And this is a billtong box. Designed to dry whole meat pieces (billtong) similar to jerky, but the recipe calls for its use here.

30 minute throw together. After some cold smoking tomorrow I will add the rest.

There is a large diameter computer fan cut into the lid to speed dry with the heat of the lightbulb.
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We seeded 4 pails of Fresco Australian fresh Orange Muscat juice at SG 1.083 and 3 pails of Fresco Chilean fresh Viognier juice at SG 1.083 (slightly fermenting) with D47 starter + nutrient containing B vitamins in half full glass carboys (since D47 is a heavy foamer).
 
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About 15 years before our house was built, a developer started the subdivision. It was surveyed, the roads were paved, a couple of lots were cleared and basic electrical connections were installed, then he went bankrupt.

Our developer purchased the land, and our house was the first one built. One problem was that zoning laws had changed, so the new survey changed the lots. We had a transformer right in the middle of where our driveway was supposed to go. Our builder contacted Carolina Power & Light, and they moved it. 15' to the left, so it's right in the middle of our front yard.

A few years later our neighbor decided he didn't want three bushes, so we transplanted them in front of the transformer to obscure it. It wasn't perfect, but the price was right.

Foolish me, in recent years (well something like 20 years) I've let them grow. They've expanded and currently make pulling out of the driveway dangerous as we have to pull way up to see around them.

Today was "trim 'em way back day". I should have taken "before" pictures, but we'll muddle through.

I got out an electric trimmer and a wheelbarrow. Again foolish me. I had to immediately get out loping shears as these bushes have thick branches. And I had to get the truck, as it's a LOT more vegetable material than I expected.

First pass was to take 2' off the back. If it's really ugly, I'll re-think what I do with the front.

bush 1.jpg

This first pass leaves it ugly, but it's on the backside, and I figured we'd see how it grows in.

Then I decided to do some on the front. There's a couple of tall parts that I really want gone. I needed Mrs. WM81's help, as the branches are long and springy, and the foliage is dense. I'd identify the branch, pull it down, she'd hold it, and I'd cut it. Before we were done, I took a lot more off the front than I expected to do so today.

bush 2.jpg

Tomorrow I'm going to revisit it, and remove the brown, which is what all interior foliage does. I may not do anything further until next weekend. I want to think this through, as we'll be taking more off. Right now it is ugly, but I know from experience it will fill in.

Regarding the truck? Yeah, I took a LOT more out than expected.

bush 3.jpg

The bed is full all the way to the cab. Although it's a small truck, it is a 6' long bed.
 
Yesterday I made my own weed killer. It's a mixture of industrial strength vinegar, Epsom salt, and dish washing soap. The ratio is 1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 1 Tbsp soap (which helps the mixture stick, to the plants).

This is TOTAL kill -- don't get it on anything that should live. It works by drying out the leaves, but it does not kill the roots, so plants like dandelions which have deep roots may sprout again later.

I made it to use around our well cover, as I don't spray any kind of poison anywhere near the well. This is the "before" from about noon yesterday:

grass 1.jpg

Regular white vinegar (5-6% acid) doesn't work well as it's not strong enough. Several sources said the acid needs to be at least 11% to be effective.

I discussed this with a friend last week, and was going to buy the 30% at Lowes Home Improvement, and dilute it by half to get 15%. He discussed it with his son (college senior in the Chemistry dept) and purchased 2 gallons of 45% (second jug by accident), so I took one.

I diluted by a bit under half, so it was probably 20%, and sprayed various areas. I could see it working within an hour or so.

This morning it was clear that it worked well!

grass 2.jpg

BIG WARNING: This stuff is poison and it's caustic. The label says "vinegar" but it's a dangerous chemical, so use caution. Make the mixture in a well ventilated area, and stand upwind when spraying. It's as bad (maybe worse) than breathing K-meta solution.

I'm going to wait a week or two to see what regrows, then spray again. Another future project is to dig up the edging bricks (which subsided into the soil), pour patio underlay into the holes, and put the bricks on top. I did that elsewhere and it keeps things nicely on the surface.
 
Yesterday I made my own weed killer. It's a mixture of industrial strength vinegar, Epsom salt, and dish washing soap. The ratio is 1 gallon vinegar, 1 cup salt, 1 Tbsp soap (which helps the mixture stick, to the plants).

This is TOTAL kill -- don't get it on anything that should live. It works by drying out the leaves, but it does not kill the roots, so plants like dandelions which have deep roots may sprout again later.

I made it to use around our well cover, as I don't spray any kind of poison anywhere near the well. This is the "before" from about noon yesterday:

View attachment 113058

Regular white vinegar (5-6% acid) doesn't work well as it's not strong enough. Several sources said the acid needs to be at least 11% to be effective.

I discussed this with a friend last week, and was going to buy the 30% at Lowes Home Improvement, and dilute it by half to get 15%. He discussed it with his son (college senior in the Chemistry dept) and purchased 2 gallons of 45% (second jug by accident), so I took one.

I diluted by a bit under half, so it was probably 20%, and sprayed various areas. I could see it working within an hour or so.

This morning it was clear that it worked well!

View attachment 113059

BIG WARNING: This stuff is poison and it's caustic. The label says "vinegar" but it's a dangerous chemical, so use caution. Make the mixture in a well ventilated area, and stand upwind when spraying. It's as bad (maybe worse) than breathing K-meta solution.

I'm going to wait a week or two to see what regrows, then spray again. Another future project is to dig up the edging bricks (which subsided into the soil), pour patio underlay into the holes, and put the bricks on top. I did that elsewhere and it keeps things nicely on the surface.
Dug well?
 
Tasted and smelled Viognier and Orange Muscat ahead of bentonite treatment with racking on Wednesday. D47 ferment with nutrient containing B vitamins.. Smell of both wines is excellent. Fingers crossed! Foaming is slowing down on Viognier and non-existent on the orange muscat. No off smells or flavours
 

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