Washer woes, and some progress

So our washing machine is being weird. It agitates, but when it gets to when the drum should spin and water drained, it just… doesn’t.

It’s possible the drive belt is off. We can’t check it yet. The laundry that was in the machine had to be hand wrung out and went into the drier. The girls were then sweethearts and manually removed as much water as they could, before checking it over to see what going on. Which is when they found the drum is very loose.

The only way to check, though, it to take the panel off the back. We can’t do that until the drier is done. We can’t pull the washing machine forward very far, because there is a step blocking it. We have to wait until the drier is done, then put that out, so that we can pull the washer out around the step.

Meanwhile, I’m looking up the costs of a new washing machine. Depending on what we find, we may have to choose: do we spend the money to fix an old machine that has a high probability of breaking again in the near future, or do we dip into the contingency fund again, to get a new, energy efficient machine with a warranty on it. Who knows. It might be an easy fix. Or we might not even see the problem, even after opening it up.

We should know better, tonight.

Meanwhile, I was able to head outside this afternoon for a bit of work in the old garden area. I’m tired of damaging the blade of our lawnmowers when mowing in the old garden area, by hitting lumps of dirt I don’t see in the grass. Right now, while it’s still short, is the best time to do something about it. Since we’re limited in tools, that means manual labour. 😀

Basically, I went looking for the lumps with the tops flattened from betting hit with the mower blade, then dug at them with the potato fork, to break them up and loosen the soil.

In the above picture, I have actually broken up one of those lumps.

You can see why I keep hitting them with the mower!

The root systems are holding the sod together quite a bit, but they will be broken up further. After going over them with the fork, we’ll go back with hoes and break them up further, spreading the soil into the low areas and leveling things off as much as we can.

I took advantage of being out there with the fork and removed some of the larger weeds and tree saplings.

Well… almost the tree saplings.

I’d gone through the area last summer, pulling many of them out, or cutting them with pruning shears. While breaking up hills of soil, I spotted one that was larger and a definite tripping hazard.

Guess how I know that? 😀

I discovered that I was not going to get this one out, without other tools.

It was actually growing out of a long root.

There are NO trees near this. The closest ones are the strip of self-sown trees along where the squash beds are now, and the tree at the end of that strip is a maple. Maples don’t send shoots out like this. Poplars do, but the nearest poplars are along the fence, among the lilacs. There are more along the other fence line. From the direction this root is running, those further away poplars are the more likely source.

We’re talking about 100 feet away.

I left it until I can come back with cutting tools, later.

Then there’s stuff like this.

This is a burdock root. I keep mowing over them, and they keep coming back, because of roots like this.

And this is Rolando Moon, helping me…

More specifically, this is Greater Burdock, or Arctium lappa. We have it growing all over, and it can make quite a barrier to some of the sheds and equipment! While it can be used for food or medicine, it’s not something we actually want to cultivate, and we certainly don’t want it in taking over.

I wasn’t able to get all of this root out. It broke off, instead. Those roots go very deep!

I worked only on the West side of the old garden area.

It looks a bit like a bunch of giant skunks were digging for grubs! 😀

There is a smaller area to the East of the squash bed, but that area is much worse for hills that need to be broken down, and there’s at least one large rock that I hope to be able to take out. It all depends on how much of it is still buried. It was the heat and wind that drove me indoors early! But not before I checked a few other things.

The stack of wood from the maples we had cut away from the roof has given us a handy seat to stop and rest at. I was going to take a bit of a break there, before continuing on.

That seat is now occupied…

This stack is at the maple grove, but the red ants that built this brought spruce needles from across the North yard, all the way to this log! It’s about 40 or 50 feet, just to the edge of the spruce grove. They’d have to go past the mulch we put down last year, to get to where the needles are! I was seeing ants going in and out of cracks at the other end of the log, so this nest goes all the way through.

Well, this is a log I won’t be using for any projects. !!

I also checked on the grapes again.

I just love these baby grape clusters! Right now, these grapes are as big as they were, fully ripe, our first summer here, when we discovered the grapes in among the spirea. Last year was their first year cleared of the spirea and trained up the trellis, and there were no grapes at all. I’m sure that summer was one they needed to recover from the changes! I’m very happy to see how well they’re doing now – even after I accidentally killed one of the vines! Which you can see on the left of the photo. Other vines are climbing up the dead one, so I’m leaving it there.

Another area I checked on was indoors. At the beginning of the month, I’d rigged up the dehumidifier that was down there when we first moved in. Here is how it looked , after running for a while.

That damp spot had been an actual puddle. The well pump was covered in condensation, water was collecting under the pump, the pressure tank and the hot water tank. The new well pump, still in its box, was sitting on pieces of wood to elevate it, but the wood itself was getting so damp, I added some pieces of foam – they look like pool noodles with a cut from end to end, and I don’t know why they’re there – to elevate it even more.

This is how it looks now.

Where the puddle had been is now just a dry stain. There is no condensation on any of the pipes, and everything under the tanks and pump are now dry. There is only one spot, where the concrete has broken away, that is damp.

On the other side of the divider wall is where the new screened window is, and even that area has just a damp spot in the lowest area. Even the areas under the furnaces are just damp not wet. I unplugged the blower fan to let the motor cool down, but right now, even with the continued rains, I don’t think it is an issue anymore. When it was just the blower fan going, it did help, but the concrete was still wet enough that a white mold was starting to grow. There is no sign of that, now. I was a bit concerned about the screen window, since it’s “roof” had fallen off. There is nothing to prevent the rains from going in through there, other than the fact that it is so low.

There is a possibility of more storms or rain tonight. There is an odd weather system coming our way right now. Instead of a large mass of rain with patches of more severe conditions in it, the radar shows mostly clear, with dozens of tiny storms, moving across the prairies. There’s just no way of knowing if something will hit us until… well… it hits us!

And now it’s time to check – again – if the drier is done, and we can check out what’s wrong with the washing machine.

The Re-Farmer

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