Radio Fence Mend @ Kathy’s Garden – Twisted Pair Nicked

Mended a cut with two orange twist nuts, white grease, and electrical tape along the twisted wires going along the front of Kathy’s garden about 1 foot from house-side corner. Reburied twisted wire along border. It looks like a mower blade had nicked the twist there and it had rusted over time and finally started to give way.

Both wires in the twist had been nicked, probably by lawn mower blade, rusted, and started to short.

Both wires in the twist had been nicked, probably by lawn mower blade, rusted, and started to short.

Beckett Pond Pump Model 7201310 Repeated Fails (A Fix!)

Update 4/26/14: I experienced the same fail with pump #4 within 30 days, but this time I stumbled onto a workaround. Let the pump “suck air” for about 10 seconds after cleaning, and it will resume full flow. I’ve done this 3 times now, and it works every time. I wonder if this would have worked with #1, #2, and #3. It is counter intuitive that when the flow goes to half or less because the filters need cleaning, that cleaning the filters would result in near zero flow, but that is what happens. I assumed it was just “broken” in the past. When trying to figure out why with #4, I pulled the pump out with the motor “trying” and the impeller started to spin at full speed when air hit it. Returning it to the water, it continued to pump fine 24 x 7. I think the flaw here is that the impeller ends up seating wrong after being under the strain of the dirty filters and lower flow. I have often tried flushing the impeller chamber out with the hose, to no avail. But letting it “suck air” after cleaning seems to let the impeller reseat properly. I’ve sent this post to Beckett engineering.]


  • Pump #1 purchased 7/4/2013 from Home Depot. Fails in 30 days.
  • Pump #2 exchanged at Home Depot 8/3/2013. Fails in 90 days.
  • Pump #3 exchanged at Home Depot outside the original 90 day exchange policy 11/25/2013. Fails in two weeks.
  • Beckett ships 2 replacement pumps 3/5/2014
  • Pump #4 in service 3/8/2014.
  • Failed pump #3 sent back to Beckett for inspection.
  • Pump #5 (extra) in storage

Pump #4 in action 3/9/2014

I’ve had a small garden pond for 14 years running a Beckett pump 24 x 7 except when the pond freezes, when I shut it off. The first pump came with the property. I don’t know how old it was, but it was clogged and barely running, so I cleaned it up, and it ran for five more years. I’m guessing 10 years.

I replaced it with the same model, and that one ran about eight years until it quit in June of 2013. I’m amazed any kind of electrical motor can run 24 x 7 under water for so long. Beckett should make washing machines.

I went for a replacement 7/4/2013. The same model (which I did not write down) was not available at Home Depot. I got one that seemed to be the closest fit, a Beckett Pond Pump model 7201310 that pumps 400 gallons per hour.

When I got it home, the motor housing appeared to be a bit smaller. I set it up, and it was running fine. That was 7/4/2013. A month later it suddenly went to just a trickle. There was nothing clogged. I inspected the impeller, but could find no obstruction. It would turn, just with very little force. I exchanged it on 8/3/2013.


The second one lasted until November when I had a repeat of the trickle problem. After another inspection, I again exchanged it. Home Depot pushed back because it was outside the original 90 day warranty. They said they would not be able to exchange it again. I think the 90 day exchange period should reset, given I was sold something obviously not in good order, and I have the trouble of having to do an exchange. But it doesn’t work that way. That was 11/25/2013.

I posted a critical comment on Home Depot’s website and got a  response about two weeks later, when the third pump had already quit! The Home Depot service person put me in touch with Beckett. The head of sales quickly offered to ship me 2 replacement fountains.

The Beckett sales manager’s email went into my spam folder for some reason, and I did not discover it for about a month and a half. Atlanta was busy having frozen ponds and ice storms, so the broken pond pump was not top of mind.

I replied and received the two replacements pumps 3/5/2014. Pump #4 (in photo above) is up and running. Pump #5 (the extra pictured below) is in storage.

The pump has a 2 year warranty, but my expectation is it last 5 years. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Beckett wanted to examine failed pump #3, so I am returning it with a pre-paid shipping label. I still think Home Depot’s exchange dates should reset. Having to come in and replace tools repeatedly is not good customer service. Providing tools that last is good customer service.

Pump #5 on left. Pump #3 (returning to Beckett) is on right. The first 3 pumps came in different form-fitting packaging. Pumps 4 and 5 came in a more boxy tub.


Four Holes Filled

Over the years, several holes started forming in the back woods. The shape and depth suggested they all came from rotting stumps. They got deep enough that you could step all the way up to your knee. A little kid might go all the way to his waist!

Over a series of a few weekends, I’ve filled them all up. Took 27 40lb bags of top soil at $1.27 each. I bought 9 bags at a time, which filled up my trunk.

Four Holes Filled

The hole that I thought was smallest (#3) ended up being the largest. As I used my tamper to pack in the first couple of bags of dirt the “floor” fell through to reveal a much larger hole. Clyde could have easily climbed in and and hidden in it. That one hole took 9 bags all by itself.

Last weekend, kid 3 was helping me rake leaves and haul a tarp full to the back woods when she fell into hole #4 (the newest hole to form.) “What the heck!” she exclaimed, her leg disappearing into the stump hole. That was not what Alice said when she fell down the rabbit hole.

Radio Fence Repair: Backside

We haven’t had much rain in the second half of the summer, but after two downpours, the radio fence transmitter started chirping, indicating a break. It stopped chirping after the first rain before I could check for the break. It didn’t stop the second time, so I went digging, so to speak.

Wet ground has usually meant one of the previous mends is getting wet or corroded and losing contact, so it is a challenge to figure out which mend is having the problem. Using some extra wire, I was able to isolate the break to the back corner where Fort Charlie is, but testing past mends found them all in good shape.

I decided the wire must have broken underground in a place that gets a lot of water and dirt gets pushed around, so I replaced half of the back line. I also replaced three mends with two in the process, using wire caps, contact cement, and electrical tape. The photos will give clues the next time I have to worry about this.

Having a straight line helps when locating the wire. I tied a rope between a sweetgum tree and the base of a privet bush to provide a guide. The yellow line indicates where the wire runs between the sweetgum, privet, and then up to the corner of the property, turning along the neighbors fence. The shovel in the photo shows the wire runs under the handle just at where the metal shovel begins. The green line shows the wire being one shovel length from the dwarf magnolia. The two small orange lines indicate the location of the two new mends with orange wire caps. I left plenty of spare wire in these locations to allow for future testing and re-mending.

See also: Radio Fence Repair 2009-11

Deck Stain


This gallery contains 12 photos.

Kathy, Kelly, and I pressure washed, soap washed, and stained the deck. Nice weather for it. It ended up taking 3 gallons to get all up-facing surfaces, rails and posts stained. We’ll get another gallon and paint some of the … Continue reading

Poulan Pro Trimmer SM135: Winding Line

Danny ran out of cutting line with the trimmer. This was the first time we ran out since I bought the trimmer last year. It was not obvious how to wind the double-spool of line. Having no idea where the manual was, I quickly found it on The secret is to cut two lengths of 12.5 feet line, insert them in the anchor holes, and wind them at the same time. Each is locked in opposing threader notches that temporarily hold the line in place while the spool is replaced.

Link to manual.

Raleigh St. Augustine Grass

Master Gardener Walter Reeves reports St. Augustine grass is becoming more popular in Atlanta. He mentioned a “Raleigh” variation that is supposed to be more cold tolerant.

St.Augustine Grass

Raleigh St. Augustine grass was released by the North Carolina Experiment Station in 1980 as a cold tolerant, SAD resistant strain. Raleigh is finer textured than Floratam and develops a dense turf much like the Texas Common strain of St. Augustine grass. Raleigh is also more shade tolerant than Floratam. But, unlike Floratam, Raleigh is not resistant to lawn chinch bugs.