Make it easy on yourself
Remember that song? Righteous Brothers I think. Last year, when we were asked to stay here at this farm that we rent for another two years, I did not immediately jump up and down with joy. Sure, it meant that we could put off moving but it also meant that I would continue to have struggle to maintain this property. It is a beautiful piece of property. It is large. And it demands a lot of attention. And most everything about it needs someone younger, stronger, taller and with man size hands to fix it. So I started to try to think of ways to make things easier on myself.
Like many properties in this part of Italy, it is terraced. That means that we drive up and park the car and then go up a flight of steps to the back terrace and the door into the kitchen. In the summer it is great to drive up and see the pots of flowers on top of part of the retaining wall of the terrace. I really wanted more pots of flowers down on the level where we park the car and over by the entrance to the guest house. But any pots on the lower level have to have water carried to them or I could try to hook up the ridiculously heavy and long hose, drag it around and water that way. Now of course hooking the hose up was not easy. No just screwing the hose on to a tap. No just turning the tap on. Oh no! The connection for the hose is on the top level of the terrace. Even though there is a sink on the lower level there was no way to hook up the hose there. Noooo, I had to run up the steps and find the pipe-like connection that had to be jammed into another pipe that is buried in the ground. And then just when I thought it had connected and I straightened up, out the pipe would pop, spraying me all over. So now by this time I am fairly wet, especially my hands, making the act of jamming the pipe in to connect all the harder. It usually took 2 or 3 tries to finally get water flowing through the hose. And of course at the other end the water was flowing out a hose that was flopping wildly about, ten feet below me on the lower level. And flowing at one rate with no way to control or moderate the flow. It is either on or off. I finally worked out carrying the watering can with me and putting the hose in the can. That way I didn’t flush all the dirt out of the pot when I was watering because the water was coming out in a jet. So this was one of the things I really wanted to make easier.
In March, when the plumbers were here for their once every three month visit to perform the voodoo that they do to the well (don’t even get me started about the plumber) I got one of them to remove the ‘serves absolutely no purpose pretty thing’ that was screwed on to the tap at the sink on the lower level. (needed ‘man hands’ to get it off) Now I had a threaded faucet to work with. It took a trip to OBI (a Home Depot type of DIY store) which was fruitless so then a trip to our local hardware store. Much gesturing and carrying in of parts and fittings. Five Euros later I finally got the long, long, long hose hooked up. Turned on the faucet and the water came out in a trickle. Disconnect it all. Tried the faucet. Water comes out just fine. Reconnected, tightened. Water comes out the hose in a trickle. So now here I am, with a water source that I can control without having to run up and down the stairs but the water is coming out like a well pipe in the desert.
Somehow I get the idea that it is all the length of the hose and the fact that it does have to go slightly uphill and maybe that is why there is no pressure. So I unroll and separate half the length of the hose. Try again. Still not enough to water a cactus. Finally I decided to take the whole hose reel apart. (of course screw drivers were needed but at least I didn’t have to haul the ladder out).
So you see that brass thing?
Look what was inside of it! Not the lizard, he was just there to see if what time the buffet was going to open. The black things were the ant colony that was living in there along with the wasp nest. No wonder the water wasn’t moving.
So after almost a week of working on getting water that I could turn on and off without having to run up a flight of steps I finally got it working. And when I was opening up my new kitchen toy (a grater type) I saw the the saying on the top “life gets easier”. And I guess, if you work at it really hard, it does!