Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Septic Issues and The Final Garden Update

Hello everyone.  Today it was sunny out so Mike and I got some work done before the rain comes back.  We have had a very rainy time since we got back from NY in August.

Now for the septic story.  I know we are so much fun, lol.  We started having problems with flushing our toilet, and no it wasn't clogged.  It would flush and then do a backfire kind of thing.  Mike started to think that maybe our tank sunk a little with all the rain we had.  Since we didn't want a truck in here digging up our lawn there was only one thing we could do.  You got it…Mike and I decided to dig up the cover to see what was going on.  Ugh!!!  First we looked at some old pictures to try and figure out exactly where the septic cover was.

OK…time to dig.  We got the tarp to keep the lawn clean, the shovels and the bucket.  Mike started in one spot and we got down about 2 feet…hmm…no tank.  Started digging another hole….again no tank.  And the third time is the charm.  We hit the lid right on the money.  Just what we were looking for:)

Mike hooks up the pump just in case that is what the issue is:

While he did that I cleaned up around the lid so we could get it off..thankfully there was a good breeze blowing, lol:

Using the end of the shovel to knock the lid lose.  The tank did not sink:)

Eww!!!!  Mike snakes the pipe that goes to the other side of the tank:

And we found the culprit to our problems.  That tank came with a screen.  Mike was skeptical about putting it in as he had never put one in a septic tank before.  He should have stuck with what he knew.  Sometimes the "new and improved" things don't work.  Sure enough the screen was blocked and causing the "burps" when we flushed our toilet.

While the lid was off and the screen was out we tested the system.  We had no problems without the screen.

Time it wrap it up.  Mike put the lid back on:

Then we dumped the dirt back on top.  Mike adds a metal post so we can find it the next time around.  Hopefully we won't need to:

We got cleaned up just in time for the rain.   We were very lucky that we found the lid so fast and it was a very easy fix.  Later on we added a piece of plastic cap that Mike painted green.  That blends with the grass but we can mow over it and still find the septic lid.

So that was the septic excitement and we will never let anyone talk us into using a screen again. 

Next up…Gary wanted to hear about my garden.  In early August we went for a trip to visit family in NY.  I loaded up with cucumbers, lots of squash, zucchini, and the sweet 100 tomatoes which I had an abundance of.  A few different things happened this year.  One I planted all bush beans instead of bush and pole beans.  That means they all came in at once….so I had to can them.  My green peppers in the big garden never produced.  I'm not sure why but I did get some from the above ground garden.  As for my tomatoes….sadly I determined that all of my large tomatoes, over 200, got stink bug and they were no good.

I had watermelon and cantaloupe planted.  That did not work out well at all.  They did well at first and then we got so much rain that the melons all rotted before they matured.  I won't be trying those again.

My corn grew and it was fun but for the three ears or so that I got from each stalk I think I will just buy some local corn each year:)

Overall I was happy with the big garden but I had too many plants.  Next time around I will have less and will most likely have to use some kind of spray/powder to keep any bugs and disease at bay. 

The pattypan, white scallop squash, did amazing.  I must have picked over 60 from the one plant I had.

Here are a few pictures:

I had to use my granny cart to carry some of my harvest back to the house:

Another day:

My corn:

Here you can see my melons looking kind of sad.  They are on the right:

And the tomatoes before they got stink bug:

Gardening is now in my system and I am sure I will try new plants and ideas each year.  The learning process seems to never end.  Oh and the "great" 6 foot tomato stakes I bought were no good.  The plants were too big and too strong and the stakes fell over.  Grr…

At the new house in Florida we have a healthy looking lime tree and a banana tree.  I wonder if there is such a thing as banana pickers?  The banana bunches are very high.

I'm sorry to say that you will have to wait on the sneak peeks of the new house.  I only have realtor photos but if I can transfer them to a disk, get a photo and back onto my computer I will get some to you next week:)

Mike and I are getting itchy.  We have lots of plans for the new place.  Some I think you will agree with and one or two that might make you cringe, lol.  We'll see.  That will be coming up soon and I will tell you our ideas and ask for your input:)

Have a great day.  I will post sometime next week….and maybe this week with a recipe.


  1. Our Septic story (when we lived on the farm), was that when it rained, the system would back-up....ended up being a lack of vent in the system. It was an old farm house, and the previous owner had added a second 1/2 bath by just tapping into the existing line. When the drain field was saturated (rain), it wouldn't vent properly, so I drilled a 1-1/2" hole in the pipe that ran out of the house, and installed a vent that ran up the side of the house....painted the same color, so not so noticeable, and it worked GREAT!

    Something I read about corn....the Indians used to plant it in a circle (6-8 stalks) and put a fish in the middle for the fertilizer. Each circle was about a food in diameter, so didn't take up much room, and was easy to do as an individual thing where you only wanted corn for a family....not an acres worth of it. You might want to consider that next year....though you will probably want to skip the fish...LOL!!!

    Yes, we are all waiting for the pictures of the new place in FL...and even more excited about the plans and the week to week progress you guys make on the place.

    Oh and finally, please let us know what the specialist finally says is wrong (or right...LOL!!) with Mike's breathing...if they are ever able to figure it out. My money is on it being Asthma, or Allergies....I see my wife having more trouble this past month, as the seasons change.....and in the mountains, your seasons are a bit a head of ours, here on the coast.

    1. I'm glad you fixed your septic issue:) Corn would be fine but no fish thank you, lol.

      We are starting to get excited about the new place. If only we could snap our fingers and "be" there without the pack up and drive.

      Mike's appointment is in Nov…will keep you posted. Take care of your DW. We will be wearing more masks.

  2. Good job on finding the lid. It can be a hunt. After I went through hunting for mine, I
    measured from 2 fixed points to the center and wrote it down in my ‘house book’. I also made a map showing all underground electrical, water, propane and telephone lines. Helps this old guy from tearing things up with my tractor or hoe, backhoe that is. lol

    Gardens are a lot like raising kids, always evolving, some things work and others can be, well you know. I have stink bugs out here, but never had a problem with them on my plants. Always heard that a couple of plugs of chewing tobacco in a gallon of water made a powerful bug repellent for plants. Never tried it myself. Ask the old timers in your area, they’ll know.

    So I see you’re gonna be a tease on the pics of your new spread. jk Look forward to seeing them when they are ready for prime time.

    You 2 take care, stay well.

    1. Wow you are very organized:) Do you have a label maker…inside joke here. Mike says one day I will end up labeling him, lol.

      I never knew about stink bugs. They are now on my grrr!! list.

      Thanks Gary….we will be on the go very soon.

    2. No label maker here, but did I mention that the utilities map is color coded for the different runs.. lol

  3. Glad to hear you're merrily flushing again.
    Isn't what keeps us gardening, the constant challenge of what thrives, and what fails? Others make it look easy, so we want to discover the secret, but the secret is a shifting thing which depends upon so many factors.
    I look forward to hearing about the FL house. gentlearts

    1. Merrily flushing, lol. Funny. Gardening does keep you on your toes. I do love it though.

  4. Corn tends to rip all the nutrients out of the soil, so, you will have to put it all back in, next year.
    The way you harvest bananas is, you climb up the tree and grab the stack of bananas with one hand, and whack them off the hanging vine with a machete, and this is while your holding onto the tree with both feet!!!
    (Saw it on a National Geographic program LOL).

    We didn't get good tomatoes when we planted them along our fence, too much shade, and it looks like yours had too much also, growing in that jungle that you have for the square foot garden.

    I wish you well...


    1. Thank you so much for the tip about the banana picking. I think you should come and show me how it is done, lol.:)

      I do need to stop with the jungle gardens….it;s just I get so excited when I see the little plants each year, lol.

  5. Another look at the pictures brought to observations...
    1.) How in the world did Mike get the cover of the septic tank so clean? Did he use a shop-vac to clean all the dirt off before he opened up the tank?
    2.) I had forgotten just how elevated that house is on your property. A lot of the previous pictures of the driveway and such, don't do it justice, but when I look at the barn (which I believe is about street level?) way, way, way down the hill in that picture of Mike putting the indicator pole in the ground over the septic tank, I was amazed!
    No wonder Mike was having trouble breathing when he walked up to the house.....I think it would take an Olympic athlete to NOT have to be huffing and puffing after that trek! LOL!!

    1. It was dry dirt so it was easy to clean up with our hands. We wanted to make sure no dirt got in the tank so we did clean it up nice:)

      Yeah we are pretty far up. The barn is actually just a bit higher than the outside road. It is quite a hike to the top of our place. I'm not sure if I could walk from the barn to the house without lying in the middle of the driveway, lol