It’s never as easy as it seems

Finally something blog worthy – last year I sort of rested on my laurels (or my fractured spine) and didn’t get much done.  This is the year of catch-up.

I’ve been here 4 1/2 years (really, doesn’t seem possible) and never had the septic pumped.  In fact, I have a general idea of where it is but I’m not really sure.  I call the guy who did it before as I have the old work slip.  They give me a song and dance of how I need to have it dug up for them.  Hey what???  I’m 64, fractured my spine last year and I’m not going to go out and dig around anywhere from 2 to 6 feet to find a square foot opening.  Then they quote me an outrageous price to come do it for me.  I’m like well, let me think about that.  She says she will check with her boss to see what they can do.  Shouldn’t these septic things have a lid sticking up somewhere that you can see?  Most I’ve seen do.  I traipse on over to my neighbors to see what theirs is like.  Yes, they have a ring and a cover and blah, blah, blah.  Ok, I want one of those when they come and pump it.  My neighbor recommends the company who does the school.  Just look for the big red truck.  I give them a call and with no hesitation at all the guy says, “I’ll be out tomorrow and find it and then it will be the next day the come pump it.”  The guy comes and is such a nice guy.  We yammer while he’s poking around with a long pointy pole.  I have a general idea where it might be and it took all of two minutes to find the end of the box and he strikes gold on the first dig.  He says his guy will come pump it Wednesday and he’ll come install a ring and lid on Thursday.  After running around on Wednesday I come home and the whole thing is finished.  Yea!!  One more chore done.  Isn’t this lid the most exciting thing you’ve seen lately?  That’s what I think until I get my next chore done.

Last year my hydrant was leaking or at the least I had a natural spring forming about a foot and half from the pump faucet.  I called around to see who could fix it and got a few someone else can do, I won’t do it, or I’ll charge you and arm and a leg to do it.  It was a very slow leak and it was interesting to see what pond plant would start growing next.  Very interesting to see what kind of seeds are still in the ground hundreds of years later.  I had some plants that looked like they belonged in a swamp.

So, I’m going to the Rockies game and invited a friend from up here to go with me and we’re talking and she said “you need to call Kester in New Raymer”.  She says, “you can’t forget him because it’s pronounced like keester” and we both agree someone’s keester needs to call me back and help me get my pump fixed.  Woo Hoo, another person to call who probably won’t call me back.  Well, I look him up in the book because I can’t forget his name and call Kester in New Raymer and he calls me right back.  Hallelujah!!  He recommends another guy who could come out and dig it up as it was a smaller job.  I guess there are pumps and then there are PUMPS.   “Just call Monty and he will be able to do it for you.”  I give Monty a call and leave a message and think, well, I’ll have a couple of months to wait for him to call.  He calls me right back and says he can do it no problem.  Monty is 25 miles north of New Raymer so he would like to wait until he has another job out here and that’s fine with me.  It’s only been a year and a half that it’s been leaking so no problem.  Monty does the work at the school.  I’m getting a picture that if I need something done I need to check who does it for the school as it seems they are the only ones who will come out and do it.

The phone rings around 7:30 am one morning and it’s Monty saying someone else has sprung a leak and he’ll be out to do the job.  Thanks Don Sheller for having a leaky pump.

There is a knock on the door and it’s Monty and he’s here to do the job.  Woo Hoo.  Let’s get er done.  Lucky for me the 16 ft of fence that blew down is still down because the next thing I know is there is this big ass thing rolling into my yard.  Holy crap – I was expecting a little Bobcat digger.  This thing means business.  Now I’m thinking, oh dear, compacting the leach field, compacting the leach field.  I show Monty where the septic is and we have a discussion about how the septic guy said he had no idea where the leach field is.  It can go this way or that way or straight or be hooked to a Y.  We check to see where it looks greener and decide to come in from the west side as to not disturb the field is possible.  The digger starts digging.  Wow, I’m fascinated by this big huge piece of machinery.  Scrape, scrape, scrape, dig, dig, dig.  Oh wait, what is that?  Ummm, I think it’s the perforated tube for the leach field.  Oh double crap.  How much will that cost me?  Oh no, oh no, oh no.  Well, that will be another problem so let’s just continue and get the pump fixed.  The pump is finally dug up and there are two lines, one plastic running to the south and one metal going to the west.  I run down in the cellar (I only have half of my hazmat suit on to enter the cellar and wish I had more as there is a fresh dead robin one of the cats has drug down there) and shut off the water.  Hey, why is the water still running?  What?  It appears the pump doesn’t go through the main into the house.  No wonder there isn’t a shut off valve for it.  Ok, I run in the house and call Jerry, the water board president.  In the meantime with it running full blast I take advantage and water all the new lilacs I planted last year.  Jerry runs over and shuts off the water at the water meter and sure enough the water stops.  Monty is like, “I sure hope it’s not coming through that plastic pipe because those are not the best option”.  We turn the water back on and Monty says &*(&#*&#*&#(*.  Well, to tell the truth that was my thoughts as well because it’s coming through the plastic pipe.  Who knows what fun you will have digging up things that could be 50 years old or more.  To make a longer story shorter Monty rigs up some pvc pipe thing that will compress the line so he doesn’t have to dig back three feet to get enough bend in the plastic pipe without cracking it which would be a whole new problem.  The job is finally done.  Hurray!  I have a brand new shiny red hydrant faucet.  Turns out it wasn’t the hydrant that was leaking, it was the connection but the new pump is really purty and might as well replace it since it looks like it might go at any time.  Oh boy, the old one will make a cool garden accent.  You know a product is good when you look at who made the old pump vs the new pump and it’s the same company and you know the old one has been there for fifty years or more.

Ok, heavy sigh of relief that is fixed and pray plastic pipe will last forever.  Yes, it will I’m sure of it.  That would be a wild goose chase to find out how that line was laid.  Now, what are we going to do with that leach pipe?  It’s not wet at all so we’re not even sure it’s the current working pipe.  It could be from an old one long ago.  It’s discussed whether we should backfill it with rock or try to put it back.  It doesn’t look like it was hooked to anything.  Oh wait a minute, yes it does.  Ok, let’s put it back.  Monty measures it from where he caught it with the backhoe and digs down and keeps scraping away until we’re just about where it slipped out.  Monty’s wife Sandy who works with him gets a shovel and pokes around and finds the end of the pipe still in the ground.  Hmmm, it’s really dry here so maybe it’s not the working pipe but I just had the septic pumped and it’s not full yet so who knows.  Monty digs across for the length of the pipe and lays it back in and reconnects it where it came off.  Hey, looks ok to me.  It came from there and is going back to there so if it is working it should keep working and if it’s not working it doesn’t matter.

Three and a half hours later it’s time to load up the big machine and get on to the next job for them.  It’s just never as simple as you think.  I really enjoyed meeting them.  Nice folks and his wife and I had some fun conversation about gardening and who knows what else we yammered about.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Septic pumped, ring and lid installed, check.  Leaky hydrant fixed, check.  Now, if I can get someone to come put in some new posts for the fence and convert one of those panels to a gate that will be another chore finished.  MUST get the frame part of the house painted this summer (at least that and then stucco needs lots of patching and repainting).   It may take me all summer to find someone to do those.  Hmmmm, I wonder who does it for the school?  Oh, and I still need to get the last room painted in the house (the kitchen). And then have someone come take a look at the wall where the stairway is.  I have someone on the lookout for someone they know that could take a look at that.





About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
This entry was posted in DIY old house and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s never as easy as it seems

  1. Larry Ehemann says:

    Oh the joys of home ownership, but what else would you use the spare change for? Oh yes that is your funds for those photography workshops. As my mother was fond of saying “its better than the alternatives”. Just remember it is better to laugh than cry.
    Hope we do meet in another photo workshop again. Take care, Larry Ehemann

  2. We installed a lid on our septic system last year. Only way to go. 🙂 Home maintenance is a never ending list. Good luck with yours.

    • pbodwell says:

      Hi Judy, Yes, this house is 104 years old so never know what has happened or how things were done. It’s an adventure for sure. Were you following the DC Master Gardener blog? I’ve changed counties now and we’re starting a new demo garden next to the ext ofc. if you’re interested in checking it out. Hopefully it will lead to other blogs for Weld County. It’s if you’re interested.

  3. pbodwell says:

    I haven’t seen an official definition but demo gardens demonstrate a certain type of gardening technique that is beneficial to the communities we live in. Colorado is so dry and we try to find plants that will live through the dry summer and be hardy enough to withstand the cold winters (and still be attractive). We’re a zone 4 to 5 here. Hopefully we will demonstrate to the community what will grow here with minimal water. We strive for our gardens to be educational. We have to get our garden established but once we do we can apply to Plant Select to test their new water-wise plants. We’re all into Xeric planting now (this name was coined in Denver so not sure how much New Englanders know about it) since we’re an Ag state and everyone is fighting over Colorado water. At first I turned up my nose at Xeric plants because I thought they all had to be cactus and ugly but there are lots of plants that bloom all summer. More and more they are creating varieties that are more hardy that take less water. They are starting to push a lot of Native Plants here. I do love a peony though LOL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s