What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

from pierced to pipe

on July 8, 2014

Garden hose is a great invention: it enables one to install flexible, temporary, exterior plumbing where it’s needed. Or not so temporary: a previous owner of our house creatively used ordinary inexpensive hose and soaker lines to build an extensive landscape watering system. (That was before the southeastern U.S. drought brought increased water prices and permanent outdoor use restrictions.) It snakes all over the yard, buried about an inch deep. I pull it up as I find it. I haven’t found anything to do with the old hose till this year, when I began managing three small gardens and remain involved in a fourth. When hot summer weather arrived, suddenly I required a lot of hose.

So yesterday evening I raided my cache of the P.O.’s old lines and hooked them up to test how sound they were. No surprise to find several leaks. Fortunately hose repair is simple: with a sharp blade, cut out the damaged area; splice the sections with a properly-sized hose barb; and tighten clamps to hold everything together.

So I jumped on Slowjourner Truth and rode to the small-box farm store to buy the hardware. (The store is part of a chain that caters to small-farm owners and wannabes like me.) There, for $1.99, I found a “hose mender repair fitting.” It would have done the job, but seemed vastly over-engineered (I counted ten different parts to it) and was as big as my fist. Sighing, I went looking for hose barbs ($1.49) and clamps ($0.99 each, two for $1.98) … so my simpler, traditional solution would cost $3.47 each. “I believe I have clamps in a drawer at home,” I said.

I must’ve used them for another project. Sighing, I then drove to the big-box home improvement warehouse, where two clamps in the required size (packaged in plastic, of course) were $0.68. Better: now my repair method cost only 17 cents more than the ill-named “fitting” (though in fairness I should also factor in the three-mile round trip in the car.) Back home I happily assembled the pieces (squinting a bit in the rapidly falling dark) and sent water down the line to check my work. It held, but a third gusher sprang up.

I realized I wasn’t going to complete that shed last night. But today I finished the job. The container garden in the courtyard at church now has running water. (“What’s that draped over the church roof? It looks like a hose.” “Nevermind that, it’s just a snake that lives around here.”) I think hose turned from “useless” to “useful” counts as a shed.

Here's another way to do it, with a simpler/more elegant hose repair fitting that doesn't like like a rocket stage.

Here’s another way to do it, with a simpler/more elegant hose repair fitting that doesn’t look like a rocket stage.

shedding style: repair

Comments welcome … does it seem to you that some items that used to be straightforward have been unnecessarily complicated in the name of product development?

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2 responses to “from pierced to pipe

  1. Julie Buhite says:

    Response to today’s question: You mean like cars, cell phones and T.V.’s? (picture resigned, wry smile)

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