Where’s my bulldozer?

This is installment two which I promised you in this morning’s post, and  it takes place on the Mountain Farmlet.  NOTEIf you are in the least squeamish, then bypass the closeups in today’s carousel!  


When we purchased the new to us Mountain Farmlet, we had no idea how much work it would entail.  We took the tour, had it inspected, KNEW it had warts, but fell in love with the old place nonetheless.

However, we had no idea when we signed on the dotted line that there was so much hidden damage. 


“We said, Sure it needs patching and painting but it looks pretty good for a house that is so old.”

I told you about the bathroom floor, and you can see for yourself that the old place needs patching and painting.  However, what we couldn’t see underneath the old paneling, paint and wallpaper was all the MOLD.  Some of it is black, and some actually green…

We found it when we decided to remove the cupboards and cabinets to replace the sagging and stained pressboard bottoms.


There was a section of wallpaper covered  plywood installed over the left edge of the counter.  To get that out we had to actually tear out the cupboards, and then remove the plywood.   Had they been installed with screws instead of nails we might have salvaged them.    As it was, prying on them only let the wonderbar sink into the walls behind.

Uh-OH.  😦


And so it begins…

We have our work cut out for us.  We are going to have to do all the inside wall repairs ourselves.  We are not going to be moved in by Christmas. And, whether you can understand this or not, we are actually grateful for that piece of plywood that was in the way of the damaged counter top.  It set into motion a chain of events that will in the end protect our investment and our health!

At this time we are now planning to remove all the wall layers in every room and to replace that sagging and deteriorating particle board subfloor!   They are porous materials, and collect moisture, which has resulted in mold in the walls and a squishy floor.  We will then clean and spray the cladding with a fungicide to kill any mold that we can’t see.  While we are working on all this we will be thinking about what we want to put up for walls.

Actually, I would love to do this to the cladding!

However, I haven’t a clue about how to seal the cracks to keep out all the bugs and mice!!!  What comes to mind involves numbering it, carefully taking it all down, applying a barrier (but what kind???) and then reinstalling the cladding

If you have done this before, then I would greatly appreciate your advice as to how this can be done. 


NOTE:  About that bulldozer in the title, well, you do know I was kidding right?  😉

In the dark

It is nighttime, you have locked the doors and turned out the lights.  Teeth brushed, jammies on,  you are tired and ready to sleep.

Laying your head back onto the pillow, you pull up the covers and try to relax to sleep.  The house is dark,  your breathing slows and then you hear it.  Sometimes it is in the kitchen, sometimes in your bathroom, but wherever it is you will not sleep until you silence that annoying and rhythmic




There is simply nothing so annoying as a leaking faucet when you are trying to sleep.  You may try several methods to temporarily silence the leak, but sooner or later you will have to call the plumber and that my friends is expensive.


Those of you who have known me for a while know how I feel about paying a repairman to fix appliances.  Especially when they want to charge $75 to $80 dollars just to give you their opinion about what may be wrong.  Really?   I would much rather spend that money on parts and do the job myself.

And so it is that I have challenged myself to fix that crazy making, sleep depriving leaky faucet in the shower!  It wasn’t so bad in the beginning, but over time it has become unbearable.  I have armed myself with Delta’s and others Youtube videos, gone to the Delta website to find the right part, and spent over $20.00 to buy a strap wrench that I may only ever use once.  I know that sounds crazy, but I reasoned that expenditure out like this:

The strap wrench          –          $20.00

The Delta replacement part – FREE  (a “$50.00 value on Amazon” [list price     $86.00])

Total                     –                      $20.00

The plumber plus the part  –  $150.00 to $200.00

I’m goin’ in!


The tools: 

  • Manufacturers instructions included with the part
  • One Phillips head and one blade screwdriver
  • One pair of needle nosed pliers (not indicated in the enclosed instructions, but absolutely necessary to remove the old adapter assembly!)
  • One [way smaller next time!!!] *new strap wrench.

Following these instructions it was mostly easy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Trust me, the enclosed instructions are lacking some steps.  If you should want to try this at your home, then watch the video.  A couple of times.

The first and most important step in this procedure is to turn off the water to the house, and then open the faucet in the bathroom sink and the shower to release the pressure in the pipes.  Now I am ready to begin!  😉

Cap off, remove screw, pull off lever/handle, slip off chromed sleeve, use strap wrench to loosen the valve bonnet nut (TIGHT) remove old valve, and then reverse the process to put it all back together.

Old parts out, new parts in, and




Thank you Delta for your free replacement cartridge, and for the online audio visual aids!

*If I had watched this video before I went out for the strap wrench I would have known exactly what I needed!  😉


Now if only I were younger, less stiff and more brave, why, I could save us thousands by doing all the new plumbing on the Mountain Farmlet!


This leads into today’s second post…

Stay tuned!

¡Si, Se Puede! (Yes, you can!)

Lately it seems that I have been teaching myself to do a lot of things I never thought I could manage. Over the past year I perfected the art of cutting in paint, fixed my dryer and dishwasher, and most recently my washer.

Sometimes when I am working on a new project I have to admit I’ve lost it.  In my frustration with the unfamiliar task, I found that I cried, swore, and to my chagrin, even stomped out of the room looking and sounding scary enough to make the dogs run and cower, but I didn’t give up!

Yesterday in my mudroom I stood looking at a week and a half of laundry that included a pile of wet and muddy towels from the recent rain and muddy dogs.  I really wanted to just let Bob fix it, but he works all day and I didn’t want to wait.  So, I took matters into my own hands and fixed my washing machine.

This was hard. 

It required strength, unorthodox tools, and an extra bit of shouting to get the job done.  But hey! I fixed my washing machine that two men on the PartsSelect website had said was impossible!  So, you just can’t imagine how good I felt!

This morning after reading a friends post I realized that we as women are given all the wrong messages as we grow up.   We are taught that some jobs are just not possible to do unless you are a man.

We all have this list of excuses for not trying…

  1. It’s too hard
  2. I don’t know how
  3. I can let my husband/boyfriend do it
  4. I can call the repairman

And I counter…

  1. It might be easier than you think
  2. You can learn
  3. Maybe they don’t know how, don’t have time, or don’t want to
  4. The repairman is expen$ive!

Now you have a choice to make.   You can live with the problem or tackle it. What is the worst that can happen?  You might find that you really couldn’t do it?  Well, in that case you can pick up the phone and call in the professional.

It’s time for us to realize what we are capable of and then go do it!   You can find really good instruction for any task or job on Youtube, but beware, some are more brilliant than others, so watch several!

For my task I liked this one best.

A word to the owners of the General Electric Washer (model:  WJRE5550H1WW)  Life is too short, so BUY THE INSTALLATION TOOL when you order the replacement belt!

Now in my case I had to improvise and adapt the instructions given in this video.  If you didn’t purchase the special tool (I should have!) then you will need to do the following to make the job more simple and less dangerous!

  1. Turn off the water, disconnect the power, water hoses and drain tube.
  2. If you didn’t buy the tool, then don’t bother pulling off the front panel.  Put down a rug or blanket and lay the front of the machine flat onto the floor.  This will allow you enough room to muscle on that belt because you didn’t buy the tool!
  3. Remove the bolts holding the bottom panel.  NOTE: the panel will not come all the way off, but you can easily flex it down to get inside. THIS WILL GIVE YOU A LOT MORE ROOM TO MANEUVER!
  4. Now, place the new belt onto the lower shaft.
  5. Pull the belt onto the larger wheel (it won’t go far) and zip tie it into place.
  6. Rotate the wheel a bit further, and feed the belt on.  Add another zip tie.   I had to add a total of three zip ties.
  7. Now comes the hard part!  Keep slowly rotating while watching to make sure the belt does not leave the lower shaft.  If it is coming off, then rock the wheel back and forth while forcing the belt back onto the shaft and keeping your fingers out of the works!  😐
  8. Continue slowly turning the wheel and force the belt to stay onto the wheel.
  9. You will now have to snip the first zip tie, rotate, snip the second zip tie, rotate, remove the last zip tie.
  10. Now you will notice that the belt is not fully aligned into the grooves, so slowly turn and push on the belt to get it to align completely with those grooves.  (Being completely honest, this is where I found that grunting and swearing helped to relieve the frustration of this task.   😳 )
  11. Replace the bottom panel making sure that there are no leftover screws.
  12. Put the machine into the upright position.
  13. Reconnect the hoses and drain pipe, then turn on the water and plug in the machine.
  14. If necessary, re-level the machine by turning the pegs in front (up or down as needed)  I found that tilting the machine back and placing a broom handle under the front was a great assist in this process. 😉
  15. Here comes the easy part.  WASH THAT MOUNTAIN OF CLOTHES!

Start with the small stuff and work yourself up to the more detailed and complicated tasks.  You’ll never know what you can accomplish if you never try!

Now go fix something!


¡Si, Se Puede!


Oh dear, she’s doing it again!

So it’s 4:00 AM on Saturday morning and I am once again unable to sleep.  I go to the kitchen to make coffee and want my favorite coffee mug.  Realizing it is in the dishwasher I reach for the handle and…

snAP, cracKLE, CLICK-rattle, roll…

The handle has broken.  The strange noises I can hear inside the door are the little plastic bits that once held the door latch in place.


You see, without the door handle working properly the door latch won’t let me in.  A broken door latch won’t let the dishwasher run either.  I find a screwdriver, and then carefully wriggle it in between the broken latch and the control panel cover.  Finding the stuck latch I am able to pry it to the open position and retrieve my mug.

I take my hard-earned cup-a-joe to the computer and begin shopping for a new dishwasher. After all, I have grumbled at that dishwasher plenty of times because it doesn’t have all the features my old one had… The one I bought on a teacher’s salary, when I lived in California.  When I could afford it…

HA!  I bought my first car for less than what they want for a decent dishwasher on sale!   Jeezelouize!

Quickly getting over the need to buy a new dishwasher I went to my new, and favorite, online fix it your own self parts dealer.  There I typed in the magic model numbers and


My part instantly came into view complete with instructions and a video to show me how to do it myself!  😀



The new part complete with handle/latch assembly installed.  Trust me, I appreciated not having to do that myself!

Plugging in the new assembly I then placed it back into the door and screwed down the inside panel.

Now, I walked over to the breaker box (it’s in the wall in my kitchen… don’t know why) and holding my breath I switched on the breaker…  NOTHING.   In other words there were no Frankenstein’s monster, electrical pulsing sounds, with blue flashes and flames coming out of the front panel on the dishwasher!!!



Cost to fix? 


Time to fix?

15 minutes!

Oh yes, and before I post this… Let me introduce you to Steve of PartSelect

My Hero!   I highly recommend him.



As per usual, this is not a paid endorsement.  I just appreciate this company and how much time and money they have saved me so far!  They helped me fix my dryer too!  Look HERE!