Greenhouse plumbing

Over the weekend I did some garden plumbing, installing piping and taps for the greenhouse.

The first step was to dig to find the existing pipe that I knew went in front of the greenhouse. Here it is, a foot or so underground:

Hole to expose pipe

I then hand-dug a trench from that pipe into the greenhouse, below the sink:


Another angle of the trench, the greenhouse, and the tools; mattock to get through the layer of gravel and break up the dirt, shovel for large areas, and cleanout shovel for narrow bits:

Trench and tools

Then I cut the pipe:

Cut pipe

I installed new piping, with a couple of dead-end caped bits as points for possible future expansion (something I like to do to make things easier for future me, though I don’t have any use-case in mind for these):

Installed pipe

A closer view of the new pipe connected to the old one, plus a non-glued cap on the old pipe. That pipe extends about 50 feet beyond this point, but there are no more taps, so there’s no need to connect it (it’s a legacy from before we bought the place). If I want to use it in the future, I can re-dig it and connect to that expansion point:

Pipe connection and cap

Another view of the greenhouse end of the pipe:


The pipe enters the greenhouse under the wall, with a valve near the ground (which will only be closed for repairs):

Valve inside greenhouse

The sink has a hose for the drain, so I added a second pipe to receive that drain hose:

Drain pipe

Here’s the drain pipe (the pink pool is to provide water for bees to drink). I curved the pipe so it’d end in the gravel area, not in the grass:

Drain pipe

Buried pipes, with the end of the drain protruding:

Buried pipes

In order to mount brackets for the pipes inside the greenhouse, I needed to add some blocks. So I stained them:

Staining blocks

One of the blocks attached below the sink:

Attached block

Assembling pipe bits for below the sink:

Pipe bits

Pipe bits

Here’s that installed:

Pipe bits installed

One of those forks leads to a tap for a hose:


Here’s the hose on the reel; this can be used for ad hoc watering anywhere in the greenhouse:


The drain pipe attached to the water pipe:


The other fork of the pipe goes first to a sink tap:

Sink tap

Then continues along under the sink:

Pipe under sink

And up to a third tap for irrigation:

Irrigation tap

Attached to that tap is an Orbit B-hyve smart irrigation timer and a four-way splitter:

Irrigation timer and splitter

One of those splitter taps goes to a second splitter on the other side:

Second splitter

Here you can see both sides, and the hose connecting them:


The irrigation emitters will be attached to those splitters, three for each, for the three lower shelves on the back and side.

Here you can see all three of the taps: hose below the sink, sink tap, and irrigation tap:

All three taps

Next weekend (work permitting): the last step of this project, the irrigation tubing and emitters.

Home Depot delivery for greenhouse, compost, bee shed projects

This past week I received a delivery from Home Depot of materials for the greenhouse plumbing project, the compost bins project, and the bee shed project.

In normal times, Home Depot delivery is great for materials that are too large for our truck. In these pandemic times, delivery has the extra benefit of not having to go to the store.

Since there’s a fixed $79 delivery charge for any amount of materials, I tend to bundle up multiple projects into one big order, to make the most of it.

I’ll discuss those projects in future posts, but briefly, the greenhouse plumbing is adding taps and irrigation in the greenhouse (currently underway); the compost one is building new compost bins, since our current ones are small and overflowing; the bee shed is enclosing an old potting shelter near the beehives to store beekeeping equipment.

Here’s the delivery truck; as usual, we’re the last order on the delivery route:


The longest boards in the bundle are 16 feet long, so the driver had to lift it high to get above the veggie garden fence to deliver into our hoop house; skillfully done:

Lifted high

The delivery items:

Delivery items

Delivery items

A closer look; pipes for the greenhouse (and lots spare); wood and corrugated steel and clear plastic for the bee shed; other wood for the compost bins:

Delivery items

On the end, a box of smaller bits — roofing screws, PVC adhesive, door hardware, corrugated gap fillers, etc.

Delivery items

On the other end, irrigation tubing and parts:

Delivery items

Stay tuned for more on these projects in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Cat update for week ending April 4

This week, nothing particularly dramatic happened; just a bunch of cuteness, as the cats have been spending more time in their house and cabins.

A couple of cats snuggling in their house:


Porcini and Pommie in the cabins:

Porcini and Pommie in the cabins

An interesting pose while scratching a tree:

Cat scratching tree

Cats sniffing noses:

Cats sniffing noses

Super-cute cat hugs:

Cat hugs

Three cats inside:

Three cats inside

You may have seen this GIF of scratching the tree on my personal blog, but here for completeness:

GIF of scratching tree

Pepper watching me from her nest on top of the shelving in the shop:

Pepper in the shop

Three cats in their house:

Three cats in their house

Cabin snuggles:

Cabin snuggles

Cabin snuggles

Spud and Porcini:

Spud and Porcini

Cat house snuggles:

Cat house snuggles

GIF of climbing the tree, also previously shown on my personal blog:

GIF of climbing tree

A fun frame from that GIF:

Climbing tree

Cats on the awning and roof of their house:

Two cats on house

Jumping up:

Two cats on house

Two cats on the roof:

Two cats on house

Paladout and ducks, as seen on yesterday’s Flock Friday post:

Paladout and ducks

Two cats on their deck:

Two cats

Big yawn:


Screenshot of the camera views, showing four cats — one in the feeder, one in a cabin, and two in the house:

Screenshot of four cats

(I think I briefly saw all five, but didn’t manage to capture it.)

Finally, a classic Poppy face:


Flock Friday for April 3

This week, Rory with the ducks, broody chickens, and a new camera view.

I posted a similar (but different) picture to this one, of the ducks and Rory, on my personal blog:

Ducks and Rory

The ducks on the back lawn, with their heads in the grass, looking for tasty bugs:

Ducks with heads in grass

By the chicken run:

Ducks by chicken run

Ducks and chickens

Two broody chickens in a nesting box:

Chickens in nesting box

Gert on the “island” pot in the pond at night:

On island

You probably saw these two pictures of the ducks and Rory on my personal blog:

Ducks and Rory

Ducks and Rory

I moved the mobile cam from by the cat house to the (currently off) waterfall area of the pond:


A view of the pond and ducks from that camera:


Gert with her head in the ground:

Duck with head in ground

Gert was curious about the camera:




And knocked it over:

Duck foot

So I moved the camera to a better location, closer to the pond deck:


A view from there; you can see the ducks hanging out below the pond deck, where they’ve been spending a fair bit of time:

Ducks below pond deck

I suspect Gert may be considering that location for laying eggs, though haven’t found any more yet.

Swimming past the camera:


Ducks eating treats:

Ducks eating treats





Gert below the pond deck again, and Bert walking past the camera:


Both ducks below the pond deck, and Paladout walking by:

Ducks and cat

The chickens in the old coop:


Broody chickens again (still):

Broody chickens

A wider view of the broody chickens and others:


The ducks walking by:


Chickens roosting on potato planters:

Chickens roosting on potato planters

The ducks below the pond deck again:


Ducks and a bird:

Ducks and bird

Cat update for week ending March 28

This week, some alien cat sightings, some GIFs comparing the twins, and some cat snuggles.

Two alien male cats in the breezeway; they exchanged words, then separated (none of our ferals were there):

Two alien cats

That new alien cat again:

Alien cat

Sleepy cat:

Sleepy cat

Three cats (can you see all three?):

Three cats

A two-frame animated GIF comparing the twins, Spud and Pommie; Spud is the larger one when Pommie is in the cabin. You can see why it’s hard to tell them apart; their markings are virtually identical, but comparing them like this helps to pick out some subtle differences:

GIF of Spud vs Pommie

Porcini and Pommie:

Porcini and Pommie

Another GIF, this time with Porcini in the left cabin, Pommie arriving and going into the right cabin, then Spud arriving and joining Porcini, then later leaving and sitting in front:

GIF of Porcini, Pommie, Spud

A two-frame excerpt from the above GIF, to again compare the markings of Spud and Pommie:

GIF of Spud vs Pommie

And a still of the three cats in the cabins:

Three cats

Porcini yawning:


I was amused by this post-yawn face; looks like she’s about to sneeze:

Post-yawn face

Bella joins Poppy inside their house:

Two cats inside

Bella playing under the mat:

Two cats inside


Two cats snuggling

Two cats snuggling

Finally, Poppy and Porcini inside this morning:

Two cats inside

Flock Friday for March 27

This week was a busy one for the flock, with a possible first duck egg, me wading in the pond, broody chickens, and the heron and a flock of geese visiting.

An egg?!  Maybe!  We found this large broken white egg on the edge of the pond; it sure looks like it could be a duck egg, and I am expecting Gert to start laying about now. I have been looking most days for more, but haven’t found any yet:

Duck egg?

Duck egg?

On Sunday I waded into the pond with a large ceramic pot, to make a small island for the ducks:

Adding a pot to the pond

Adding a pot to the pond

The pot island:

The pot island

The main reason for doing that was that the ducks often perch on the pot that encloses the pump, but I also wanted to clean and turn on the pump, which would prevent that:

Cleaning the pump

Here’s the pump going:

Pump and ducks

A bunch of pictures of the ducks while I was standing in the pond:


Pump and ducks









Ducks going into their house:

Ducks going into their house

I’ve seen the ducks sitting below the pond deck on several occasions; I’m wondering if that’s a possible nest location (nothing there yet, though):

Ducks below the pond deck

Let’s not forget the chickens. Here are some having dust baths in the veggie garden:

Chickens having dust baths

Enjoy it while you can, girls! Once the weather warms up enough for us to start planting, they’ll be evicted.

Refilling one of the outdoor waterers; it’s easier to do that in summer, when the garden water is on, but at present I have to turn on an underground valve for one of the pipes, which leads to this tap in the back lawn, plus the pond tap:

Refilling waterer

Domino laying an egg in a nesting box:

Domino in nesting box

You can see the leftmost egg still glistening, moments after being laid:

Domino in nesting box

The heron stopped by briefly:


An animated GIF of topping up the pond; you can see the water from the hose on the right, and the water level rising slowly (watch the pond edge):

GIF of topping up pond

Ducks following me down the path:

Ducks following me down path

Did you see my YouTube video of eleven geese taking a pitstop in our pond?

Here are some photos of that, starting with the geese landing (look in the upper-left corner):

Geese landing





The geese taking off:

Geese taking off

Finally, Martha is being broody again, hanging out in a nesting box; here she’s sitting on 15 eggs:

Martha in box

Mister and tap repairs

Now that Spring has sprung, it’s time to repair some of the broken garden plumbing that inevitably occurs.

I may discover more once I turn on the garden water (after the overnight temperatures stop being below freezing), but for now I was aware of two breakages.

The first one was a burst pipe for the deck mister system, that we can turn on in the heat of summer to cool us down with a gentle mist.

I had accidentally left a valve closed, preventing water from draining from the pipe, so unsurprisingly it froze and burst:

Burst pipe

The reason the valve was closed was this system also had a problem where the tap wasn’t fully closing, perhaps due to some debris in the pipe, resulting it in dripping:


So I removed the broken pipe. Here you can see the old pipe in the foreground, a new length of pipe on the left, and a cart with my plumbing toolbox:

Removed pipe and cart with tools

The repaired pipe:

Repaired pipe

I replaced the dodgy tap with a ball valve, which while not quite as easy to turn as a tap, will be more reliable:

Repaired pipe and valve

The second breakage was a tap in a lavender bed, snapped off at the base (probably kicked by a deer or landscaper):

Broken tap

The repaired tap:

Repaired tap



While I was doing plumbing repairs, I took the opportunity to extend the pipe for a tap by the small pond, that was too short:

Too short tap

I cut the pipe and inserted a short length to raise up the tap:

Raised tap


Re-buried tap

(Though I was just thinking that maybe I should have also taken that opportunity to add a second tap there, so I don’t need the splitter. One fork of that goes to the small pond auto-filler valve, the other is a hose to refill the feral cat water. Oh well, the splitter is fine.)

It’ll be interesting to see if anything else is broken, when I turn on the water.

I’ll also be doing some plumbing to add taps in the greenhouse, but I don’t have enough pipe for that yet. Ordered for delivery from Home Depot, along with materials for a couple of other projects.

Weather station

As part of the greenhouse project, we wanted to add moisture sensors to seedling trays, to know when we need to tweak their watering.

To enable that, we got an Ecowitt weather station that supports optional moisture sensors. The weather station will also be useful for hyper-local weather information, since weather conditions for nearby towns aren’t necessarily representative of what it’s like here, being on the top of a hill.

Here are the wind and rain sensors, mounted on top of the berry cage. They ideally should be higher for the most accurate readings, but that’d make changing their batteries much harder:

Wind and rain sensors

A closer look at the anemometer, with sensors for wind speed, wind direction, light level, and UV:

Wind sensors

The rain gauge sensor:

Rain sensor

Outdoor temperature and humidity sensor, hanging in the shade of the greenhouse:

Outdoor temperature and humidity sensor

Indoor temperature and humidity sensors and Wi-Fi gateway, next to the Eero Beacon Wi-Fi router in the greenhouse:

Indoor sensors and Wi-Fi