Gate Repair: removing damaged hinges and adding new

I’m absolutely thrilled that my brother and his wife are over for the weekend! Their RV trailer fits in the inner yard, so they even brought their own “house” with them.

My brother, being how he is, was soon working on the damaged gate. More specifically, the gate posts. He’d actually been working on it for a while before he asked me to come and document what he was doing, so he’d managed to get the first of the remaining hinges off by then.

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Fixing garden hoses

Today, I made a quick trip into town to pick up a new litter box for the sun room. Small as they are, 10 kittens and 1 little litter box isn’t working anymore! 😀

Since I was in town anyways, I stopped to pick up replacement hose connectors.

Garden hoses are among the things we’re finding lots of, all over the place, and they all suck! Last year we threw out a couple because they had so many holes in them. Why they were kept at all was a mystery! I’ve even found some in the barn, but they’ve been there so long, they’re actually brittle.

For the past while, we’ve been using 4 hoses that we’ve found. They all leak, but were still usable, for the most part. When I washed the gates in the garage in preparation for painting, I had to hook all 4 of them together to be able reach into the garage. One of the connections had started to spray so much, my daughter thought it was a sprinkler, at first!

We do need new hoses, but replacing them is low on the budget priority list. Especially since I want to replace them with heavy duty 50′ and 100′ hoses. Replacing the connectors, on the other hand, is much more affordable.

I picked up some inexpensive brass connectors. After testing the first pair of hoses, these are the ends that need replacing.

This was very much a “use the tools I got” project. I used pruning sheers to cut the old ends off.

I could really tell the difference between the quality of hoses while inserting the connectors! Yes, I did get the one on the right pushed in further. This involved slamming the end into the bench I was using as a work surface. LOL

Then I used the concrete step as a surface to hammer the grips into the hose.

When I tested it later, I discovered I accidentally hammered the female coupling into an oval, and had to hammer it back into shape. LOL

After finding these two no longer leaked, I tested the other pair of hoses.

This one was spraying so much, it reduced the water pressure when using it. Which was a problem when we had it hooked up to the back tap and were using it with a sprinkler to water the raspberries I’d transplanted. 😀

Fixing this turned out to have an unexpected problem. This is a heavier duty hose than any of the others, and the inner circumference was much smaller. I wasn’t able to stretch it enough to insert the connector. I could stretch it quite a bit with the tools I had, so I knew I could get the connector in, but it didn’t stay stretched. Which is good for a hose, but not good for what I was trying to do! 😀

Through a combination of careful snips with the pruning sheers and some spray lubricant, I was able to get it in. Not far enough for the grips to catch all of the hose, though. I eventually thought of using a small box cutter to make a couple more surgical incisions in the outer layer of the hose, which allowed it to stretch enough that I could push (well… slam, repeatedly…) the connector in further. I had my doubts whether it would work or not, so I tested it right away.

Yes!!! It worked! No more spraying. Not even a little leak.

The other hose it’s attached to was not leaking… yet.

It had several cracks like this at one end, so I cut off about two feet of hose, then attached the connector.

While not as heavy duty as the one I’d just finished, this one also had an inner lining that made it too a bit small for the connector. This time, however, I had my skinny little box cutter handy, and I was able to shave some of the inner liner off at the end. Between that and the spray lubricant, I was able to get the connector in and finish the job.

I wish I’d thought of that with the previous hose. It would have been a lot easier to do, if I had!

We do still need to replace the hoses, but for less than $15, I’ve added years to their usability.

It also means that I can leave the water tap on, and not be wasting water from all the drips and spraying.

Once done, I was glad to get inside again. While I did the work in the shade, the testing was done in full sun. We’ve hit 28C today, and it’s supposed to stay hot like this for the next couple of weeks.

At times like this, I quite appreciate how cool the main floor of the house stays.

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: front gate prep (updated)

This morning, my older daughter and I moved the gates and got started on prepping them for painting.

Those things are fekking heavy!

After considering our options, we ended up digging out a roll of plastic I found in the garage to use as a drop cloth and set one half of the gates up on bricks.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but even though I’d already hosed the gates down before we put it over the plastic, after hosing it down second time, the water puddled under it is really dirty!

We went over the gate on one side with a wire brush to scrub any areas that looked like the paint was peeling of, or were particularly rusted. Then we washed it.

We found an eco-friendly detergent for the job.

After doing the one side, we rinsed off the suds, flipped it over, then did it again.

We also took the sliding bar off the other half and that got scrubbed, cleaned and rinsed, too.

As of this writing, it’s still sitting in the sun, drying. We forgot to get paint thinner to clean our brush, so I will get some when I go to pick up my other daughter from work. By then, it should be dry enough to start painting. 🙂

Once that one is done, we’ll do the same to the other half of the gate.

We’ll also need to do the gate posts, though for that, we’ll have to get those bottom broken hinges off, before we can clean it. We’ve been applying penetrating lubricant to them, every now and then, in hopes that that will finally get them loose.

While scrubbing and cleaning the gate, I could see that there was red paint under the black – and in some places, a bright blue! The gate construction is not very usual; gates tend to be made wither either a lighter material, or in a triangular shape, so they aren’t so heavy in the middle, which would stress the hinges and cause the posts to lean inwards. I’m thinking my late brother built the whole thing from scratch! As for the gate posts, which he designed so that they could easily be leveled as needed, they are actually starting to lean outward, due to the shifting of the ground. Heavy as the gate is, it’s not enough to overpower the forces of freeze and thaw!

I’m looking forward to how it looks when everything is all painted and fixed up.

I’m also looking forward to having a working gate again.

The Re-Farmer

Update: first coat of paint on the first side of the first gate is done.

That’s a lot of firsts. LOL

I am loving that blue!

The piece by itself on the brick is the slider bar. When the gates are hung back up, the bar will be placed on one side, with two bolts holding it place. One of them also acts as a stopper, when the gate is closed and the bar is slid across to hold the other side in place. At the other end is a hole for a pin to keep the bar from sliding back again. There had also been some electrical wire, used like a twist tie, to further secure the gate. We replaced the wire with a length of chain and a carabiner, before we had to start locking it.

For as long as I can remember, the pin was just a long screw tied to the opposite gate with some bale twine. When the gate was vandalized, the screw was bent into a semi-circle. Our vandal didn’t move the slider bar before he jacked the first side of the gate off its hinges. So we will have to think of what to use as a pin. Hopefully, we’ll find something nicer than a screw and bale twine. Not that that was anything to sneeze at. It worked for many years, after all!

The paint needs to cure for at least 6 hours, so tomorrow we will be able to flip the gate and do the other side. Then we will have to wait for all the paint to cure for 24 hours before we can put on a second coat. If all goes well, we’ll be able to move this one aside to cure while we prep and paint the other one.

I will have to find something soft to put over the bricks so as not to scratch the new paint after we flip it. 🙂

Shingle damage, fixed

We had a nice day, and my wonderful daughter was able to get up onto the roof to take care of the damaged shingles we’d noticed a few days back.

This is what one section looked like before.


While up there, she noticed quite a few were loose, and took care of them, too. It definitely looked like they were damaged when that patch above them was done.

Here is how it looks now.


She also sealed the exposed roofing nails that were part of the higher patch.

Then she moved on to the other section of roof to fix this shingle…


This is how it looks now.


When this was done, she went to the other side, were we can’t see the shingles from the ground, to check for any others that needed fixing. She also checked the area above their window, where water has been leaking in the winter. She did some more patching, but also noticed the area above the window did not feel as solid as it should.

She noticed many patch jobs.

We so need a new roof. 😦

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: wood chip pile and jasmine bed

I was able to tackle two areas in the East yard today. The first was planned; I decided to leave the remains of the wood chip pile where it was, and spread it out along Northwest corner of the spruce grove.


Some of the pile got moved to the cross, as the pile at the other end didn’t have enough chips to extend that far. This will make mowing around this corner easier. Eventually, I will be clearing further into this area, but that will have its own natural mulch of leaves and spruce needles.


This side is where they chipped the branches from the 2 big maples directly onto the ground. There is more cleanup needed here, plus that dead tree will need to come down at some point, so I wasn’t too particular about how much this area was spread out.

I have some thoughts about that dead spruce tree. I could have it cut flush with the ground. I could have the stump leveled at about a foot and a half high and use it as a seat, or put boards across it to turn it into a bench. I could have it cut a bit higher and put a table top on it, then add benches or seats around it. Or I could have it cut to a couple of feet, hollow it out and turn it into a planter.

Feel free to let me know what you think about these ideas in the comments. 🙂

Once that was done, I finally got around to removing the foam insulation we put around the house in the fall. That got me eyeballing this odd little flower bed my mother made where she had transplanted a jasmine.


This is what it looked like after removing the foam insulation; I had tossed the little plastic fence things in there, just to get them out of the way.

It’s falling apart and, when I try to water the jasmine by the steps, the water just runs downhill, past that piece of pressure treated wood and the miscellaneous pieces of brick. I had a couple of other pieces of pressure treated wood, as well as other bricks. I figured I could use both to build up a little retaining wall, bricks as a foundation for the wood, then more bricks on the wood to create a higher wall.

The first thing to do, of course, is take out the bricks that were already there.


From where I was pulling things out, I get the impression that a bed was built up around the jasmine by the stairs when it was transplanted, and then it was extended when the second plant (I am not sure if it’s another jasmine; I don’t think so) was added.

I wanted a rectangular bed, since I was using the pieces of wood for walls, so I started digging it out to create level trenches to put them in.


I kept finding more bricks!


Using one of the pieces of wood as a guide, I began putting bricks into the trench as a foundation, leveling them off by eye. This is not intended to be permanent, so I’m not too worried about getting anything exact, but it will be there a few years, I’m sure, so I still want to get it solid.

After reaching the steps, I discovered a bit of a problem. Even using a block of concrete that was already there, the length of the bed was greater than the combined length of the wood I was using. I did have another piece that turned out to be just wide enough to fit, but…




I mean, I could cut it to size with a chainsaw (now that I have one that works), but it’s quite rotten and…. nah. Not happy with it.


So I moved the end in a few inches, instead.

Once the brick foundation and wood pieces were in place, I used the soil I’d taken out to fill in the gaps.


Once that was done and stamped down, I realized I didn’t need to make it any higher.

I will likely need to bring in more soil for the outside of the bed, to tamp down and make sure the pieces of wood don’t just fall off their brick foundation. That can be done little by little, as needed, over the summer. I will also be mulching it with straw, when I start working on the bale.

So I now have to figure out what to do with the bricks. 🙂

The Re-Farmer