Tutorial: Fix your Own Sink

My mother, the boundless handy-lady, raised me to attempt to do everything myself, including the man’s jobs. Now, my husband and I had a problem with our sink for weeks. Something inside was clogged. My suspicion was that it was due to him rinsing caulking residue down the sink on multiple occasions. He promised for weeks he would fix it. Finally I got fed up waiting on him, and did it myself. The major difference between my mother and I, is that my mother does her due diligence and researches the how-to’s before attempting. I prefer to go in head strong and blind, convinced I will figure it out, and, usually, I do. To all the other mom’s out there who need to fix their sink, figure maybe they could do it, but are none-the-less worried about breaking something. Here’s all the confidence you need to carry out the task yourself. You will not, however, learn any plumbing terminology, what so ever. 

If you check out this first picture, or look under your own sink, you will notice right away that every joint twists on by hand, meaning, if you simply grab one of the gripped joints and twist it, it will easily come undone. I guess the ease of this part would depend on the strength of the last person who was under the sink. 


Here are the pieces disassembled. The piece far-left attaches directly to the drain plug, and the u-shaped piece attaches below that one to the main plumbing. Important to note here is that the silver ring from the sink drain itself needs to be unscrewed. The piece far-right is part of the drain plug. Note that the plug portion of this piece has been removed (unscrewed) and is not shown in this photo. Every piece that you attach just needs to be unscrewed. Pay attention how they attach as you take them apart. 


Here is your sink with all of those pieces removed: 


When I removed the pieces, I did so with a bucket underneath, to catch water or crud falling down. I also used an Old Navy bag as a glove. 

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Important note on plumbing: do not rinse caulking down the sink when cleaning painting supplies! 

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Mike wasn’t completely to blame. There was a mildewie mass of thick, long, black hair from the Indian woman who occupied the home before us. Luckily for you, I can’t find photos of the hair glob. When cleaning these pieces, do so in a basement wash tub, or in the back yard on the grass as I did. 

To re-assemble, begin with this piece: 


Notice above, the silver rod that goes into the grey piece. It’s important that this piece accurately placed into that hole, and also strung onto the bottom of the drain plug. In this photo I’ve lined them up so you can see what to aim for. Do not assemble any other pieces until you are sure you have got the rod in the right spot, otherwise your plug won’t work. 

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Don’t forget to put your sink ring back on before you put the plug in. 


Our sink is filthy due to the clog, dirt and muck were constantly in standing water and draining slow as molasses. 

The other great thing about fixing your own sink, is you can clean all of the otherwise hidden nooks and crannies. 

Happy Plumbing! 


Garden Progress

My first blog post featured a bit of cleaning up I did in the yard in April. I know it’s been a long time since I wrote about our garden, but part of the reason is the bizarre weather in Lethbridge. Here’s an idea of what a fair amount of May looked like. 


In early June I prepared the garden by manually turning over the soil with a shovel, dumping on manure and black earth and turning it in again. We also used old pallet wood and salvaged stucco wire to create a fence around the garden. Here’s what it looked like pre-planting. 


Now it’s July 14 and there’s been much progress since. We purchased two planters for our tomatoes and peppers. This was more practical than planting in the garden since the soil was good within about 6 inches but tomatoes and peppers have very deep roots. 


Orange bell peppers

Roma tomatoes and Jalapeños

Yellow tumbling tom tomatoes

Here’s what the garden looks like now! 


Rainbow swiss charge on the left, beets on the right

More young beets and parsley


Beets and Marigold

Calendula flowers, almost ready to bloom!

Roses, these were already in the garden.

Monstrous Spearmint bush

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Marigolds in a blue bucket. Forgot to water over the weekend so they look a little sad. 

We made quite a bit of progress on the backyard in general. Here is our clothes line in action.


We also got a rain barrel. We use the hose for the garden – the barrel doesn’t create enough pressure for the hose, so we fill a pail to water the tomato planters. 


Here is our girl, Sophie! She’s our backyard guardian. She’s now six months old, part Maremma, part Great Pyrenees. 


Life in Lethbridge Update

My one hope for this blog is that I do not abandon it. Here I am again after 3 and a half months.

Since arriving in Lethbridge, I landed a job working for the Alberta Government. I am an Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector for Alberta Parks. I am blessed to be able to see many of the parks in southern Alberta, travelling around to inspect watercraft for invasive species, i.e. zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and eurasian water milfoil, before they enter the water. 

We’ve been to most of the major parks already, here’s a few pictures of some of the parks.

Lundbreck Falls

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Lake Newell @ Kinbrook Island PP

Lower Kananaskis Lakes @ Peter Lougheed PP

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Cypress Hills PP

Chain Lakes PP

Westward drive towards Crowsnest Pass

Beauvais Lake PP

This job requires me to be out of town a lot and work long hours while I’m at work. Thankfully I get 3 day weekends so I can prepare for the next trip and complete all of my domestic mama duties done! My partner has been unbelievably helpful around the house while I’ve been gone, which I’ve appreciated so much. Things are looking up for us financially since we’re both working great jobs right now. 

In other adventures, I’ve reignited my passion regarding the sunburst granny square blanket I’m working on. I decided on a new pattern to complete the remaining 120 squares, which is much more favourable than the one I was using prior. I have approximately 40 squares right now.


Since coming to Lethbridge, we’ve been able to find affordable and fantastically ethical and traditional foods. I was able to locate pasture raised pork products. Our eggs are truly free-range from dusting, pecking, bug-eating hens. Our beef is grass fed without the use of antibiotics and hormones. I recently placed an order with Trail’s End Beef for a quarter cow, which will be ready in October. Their standards are outstanding and I am so excited to have found their ranch. The milk we found isn’t grass fed, but it is organic, low-temperature pasteurized and non-homogenized. I started making my own butter from their fabulously silky 52% heavy cream.


 We’ve been improving steadily on the food budget, finding ways to meet our food goals in terms of nutrition, environment, and ethics – without breaking the bank. Costco is such a blessing and is always improving their options for natural and organic foods. We buy very few things at the traditional grocery store anymore. My garden is growing well and soon we will be harvesting plenty of vegetable fruits and greens. 

 On a final side-note, my partner is officially enrolled in college for the fall and is taking on a new trade. We are both really excited about this. In only 8 months he will embark on a completely new career making better money than before. Our 1 year old son is in a day-home and absolutely loving it. He is a social butterfly full of energy, and it’s a perfect outlet for his sweet, large personality. 

I know this would have been better in 4 separate blog posts between April and July, but here it is. Anyone have any advice on feeding a family a traditional diet on a frugal budget?

First Day of Spring

Not the official first day of spring. That day here it was snowing. Today is probably a teaser (plus 7 Celsius) but I decided to do some work in the yard. Our place has an apparently dead garden, with some shrubs probably surviving by the roots, a compost bin, and some grass. Here’s some photos of what it looked like when I headed out there this afternoon.


I’ll be honest. I’m an idealist, and a little naive. I thought I was going to open the bottom of the compost to find dark, rich soil. Instead I was greeted by a mess of ultra-dry and dead shrubs and grass.


The top of the compost was filled with dog poop – Thanks Mike.


This is our garden… ahem… dirt patch. Lots of nearly dead shrubs.


The remainder of the yard (you can see in this photo our Alaskan Malamute, Timber).



This is an ‘after’ shot. I shoved down all the fibrous stuff and shovelled in the pine needles I swept from the patio. Then I added our first ‘real’ compost contribution from the kitchen. Here’s to decomposition!



This is an ‘after’ shot of the patio, needles swept.

Next mission is to find out how to speed up composting. I’m assuming I need to correct the ratio of wet:dry compost, and maybe introduce some earth worms.