Thursday, March 24, 2011

California American Water II

As you may recall from my previous rant on the subject, California American Water (CAW) is our private water service provider (using county lines).

In the fall of 2010, a CAW contractor installed a water meter in our backyard, after telling us that they would be coming out to do so about five times. (starting in September 2009)  Our house was built in 1958, and has the water main in the backyard, running along the property line, east to west.  As you might expect from a 1958 construction, the utility maps are not very useful. 

However, you would not expect that it would take four holes and a whole day to find the water supply, but somehow it did.

Here are some pictures of the "delicate" work that the contractors performed in our back yard.  These were actually taken several days later, after they came back and cleaned up the mess, pictures of the original state would merely send me into (another) rage.

Damaged were our fig tree, its drainage pipe (needed due to clay soil), and our two large artichoke plants which were removed and discarded.

After a few heated phone calls, and several meetings with the contractors, I was able to get the drainage pipe re-installed, the yard cleaned up, and got a $40 gift card to some obscure local garden supply store, which seems to primarily cater to landscapers. Said supply store did not have artichokes.

Fortunately, several months on, the fig appears to be doing well, and they must have missed a root when ripping out the artichokes, because one grew back.  The lawn looks fine as well, although it does have a huge box in the middle of it. We hope to get a prickly pear cactus from the garden store, but who knows if they even carry it.

Weird Weather

As you may be aware, California is suffering under some unusually wet weather as storm after storm comes off the ocean.

Wednesday we had some pretty heavy hail, which is as close as we get to snow around these parts...

That is a view looking across the street at our neighbors.
Here is our roof (and also evidence of future project #2094, fix the crappy roof drainage).

We are expected to get another 1-3 inches today (2.5-7.5cm), with up to 65mph (100kmph) winds, so good times! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wood Storage

As you may recall from our long ago post, we have a good deal of firewood (mainly Modesto Ash).  Previously, meaning for the last year and four months, this wood was piled up on the side of our house, covered with a ratty old plastic tarp.

Mrs. House decreed that this needed to change, and further, we are planning to put in more berry planters in the location where it is currently sitting (as well as some sprinkler plumbing).  You will also note that the place it is sitting is pretty low, so the rain puddles and gets the bottom stack of wood wet.  So a project was born!

Never one to do things the easy way, we enlisted my dad for some help, and built a wood cradle to store all the cut wood.  We used wood left over from the demolished old storage closets, and a new redwood 2x4 for the horizontals.  As is typical for our carpentry projects, this is way overbuilt, and could probably hold 10 times the wood it has space for.  Sorry that there are no WIP pictures, but really, there is not much to this.

Still covered by the same ratty old tarp, but much nicer looking!

In other house news, still slowly working on installing baseboard.