Clean up: our “second bathroom”, first coat inside, done!

After a quick run out to hit the farmer’s market, and then town, I decided to finish painting the inside of the outhouse while there was still enough light.

I’m glad I did. 🙂

Here are the “before” pictures.

I had a few drips, while working on the top and ceiling. 😀

It was a bit tight to get photos of the inside, front!

There are a LOT of nooks and crannies around that door frame.

I actually started with the door. I figured I should get that done first, just in case it needed to get closed at the end of the day, so it would have more time to dry.

Then I worked on the most difficult areas around the door. For such a small amount of square footage, it took quite a while to get that done! Painting the inside of the door frame turned out to take quite a while, too, as there are a lot of gaps that I needed to squeeze the brush into.

Once the front was done, I methodically worked my way to the back. Of course, I found more staples and tacks that I missed! 😀

Since I wasn’t planning on taking off the toilet seat, once the sides were done, I painted the seat box under the toilet seat first. The lid leans against the back wall when it’s open, so I wanted to give the paint at least a little while to dry before having to close the lid again. On the plus side, there are only 2 points of contact under the seat, so even if still wet, closing the lid wouldn’t mess the paint up too badly.

Here are the “after” shots.

This time, I remembered my phone has a “panorama” setting. LOL

Yeah, I painted the toilet lid. Sort of. It had so many drips on it, I just went ahead and used the lid to get excess paint off the brush. 😀

And here it is, with the painted door.

While doing a second coat will take a lot less paint, I suspect we will need to buy another can. Those nooks and crannies took a lot more paint to cover than expected. Especially when I came across wood that had pieces fall out, or had a very rough finish. One of the beams supporting the corner still had bark on it, and winding gouges on the surface from insects. All of this ended up needing extra paint to get into the various holes and surfaces

What a difference!

One of the things we’ll have to do is put some sort of non-slip… something… on the metal sheet in front of the outhouse. It can get slippery when it’s wet.

After a second coat of paint, we’ll put the mirror cabinet back in – my daughter suggested just putting the old one back, rather than digging out the one in the basement, because then we’d just have to find somewhere to store the old one, anyhow! 😀 Also, she noticed we had a chain latch, still in its package, that we can use on the inside, so we don’t have to buy a new latch. It will be mounted on the top cross piece of the door, so I won’t be trying to mount a latch where old screw holes have already damaged the wood. I’ve decided that, for a light, I will pick up another one of those LED, battery operated light switches. We have two of them in the house that come in very handy; one is set up in the bathroom to use at night instead of turning on the very bright main lights, and another is set up in a very dark corner where one of the upstairs litter boxes is kept. When we get one for the outhouse, I want to mount it across from the mirror, to take full advantage of reflected light. We’ll need some sort of dust, critter and insect proof container to keep toilet paper in, and maybe some wet wipes or something. The girls plan to put art on the walls. 😀

The next time something happens and we can’t use our indoor bathroom again, we will at least have someplace pleasant to go! 😀 The only other thing is, we now have to empty the pit of all that gravel the groundhog dug up. It will be important to get that done before winter, because if we get any normal amount of snow, when it melts in the spring, we’ll have a big puddle in front of the outhouse, and the back of the garage, and water will drain into the pit again. The gravel is high enough in there, that there is no longer room for it, which would force the water above the floor boards. Mind you, it would probably end up draining into the groundhog’s den, but there is nothing we can do about that.

The main thing was getting at least this first coat of paint done, then digging out the pit. If we don’t have a chance to fix the roof before winter, I want to at least put a tarp or something over it. The rest can be done slowly, as we find the time.

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: our “second bathroom”, painting started

Okay, time for a break!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue later today, but if not, there is at least some progress in painting the inside of the outhouse.

This is the colour my daughter chose. Personally, I would have gone for a pale blue instead of a pale mint, but honestly, I don’t really care that much. We just needed a light colour to brighten things up on the inside, that wasn’t institutional white. 😀

I almost forgot to take the before photos!

The angle is bad because I was already standing on the seat box when I took these, and I wasn’t about to clamber down, just to take pictures. 😉

My main goal for today was to do everything that needed me to be standing on the seat box to reach. The only exception was one side of a roof joist, right in the middle. For that, I made use of the thick boards we’d found stored in here when we cleaned it out. The three of them together gave me 6 inches in height, and that was enough.

This is probably the most difficult part to do, with all the corners and tight areas. After this, things should go a lot faster.

The opening at the top is covered with wire mesh window screen, stapled in place. It did not occur to me that the mesh was not flush with the surface when I started trying to paint over it. I didn’t want to take it off, though. I think we will pick up some more wire mesh window screen in the future for other projects, and when we do, I’ll look at replacing this screen. Then the frame can be painted properly. No hurry, though. Depending on how long before we can do that, we could paint the frame in the same colour as the outside. We haven’t decided what that colour will be.

For now, though, I’m off to the Farmer’s Market. I’ve discovered that organic humans are being allowed in, and I want to pick up some pork from our neighbour. 🙂 We’ve emailed briefly and I might be able to check their homestead out over the weekend, too. 🙂 I’m looking forward to it!

The Re-Farmer

At the gate, and after the rain

While doing my rounds this morning, I found a strange thing at the gate.

The twine was caught around the lock and the caribiner, which usually hangs over one side of the gate, was hooked onto the chain link.

Right off the bat, I knew this was NOT our vandal. If it were, there would have been actual damage, like the locks being glued again, or something like that.

Needless to say, I was quite curious when I sat down to look at the trail cam files. I had a pretty good idea who did it.

I was right.

When my daughter’s package was delivered, the driver tried to shove it into the gate, then used the chain to try and hold it in place. The problem is, the gate moves in the wind. When the cameras were triggered again, less than 15 minutes later, I could see the package was already half-falling. My the time my daughter came over to get the package, about half an hour after it was dropped off, it was on the ground.

It’s a good thing it wasn’t fragile!!

Going through the trail cam files was interesting for another reason: several files caught huge flashes of lighting from last night’s storm! I even saw a deer and her little one, hurrying up the driveway, while the sky light them up repeatedly.

Yesterday blew past our expected high of the day, reaching at least 30C/86F, possibly 32C/90F. That was followed by a wicked thunderstorm that passed over us around 11pm. It was awesome! Of course, we lost internet well before that. It rained enough that I found our rain barrel by the sun room, which had only a few inches of water on the bottom, full to overflowing.

We *really* need an overflow hose on that thing.

The garden loved the rain, too!

I was seeing huge new blossoms on the summer squash. Even the Ozark Nest Egg and the luffa gourds had new flowers opening. So did the Tennessee Dancing gourds, but they never really stopped blooming, so that wasn’t a lot of change.

The Crespo squash is seeing more flowers opening, too, and some of the developing fruit is noticeably bigger! These two are the ones closest to the barriers than I can get clear photos of, but there are quite a few more getting bigger like this.

The sunflowers are loving the deep watering, too. And just look at this Hopi Black Dye seed head! It is getting so very dark!

I even had a baby harvest this morning.

The larger melon is a Pixie melon. There are still lots of those. The little one is a Halona melon. The remaining melons on those vines are not getting any bigger, as the vines are pretty much completely died back now. Most of the melons are all very securely attached to their vines, though. This little one was feeling a bit softer, so I had it with breakfast. 🙂

I even was able to pick some peas! With our first green peas, I did find a pod or two, but between the drought and the critters, that was about it. This is the most I’ve picked at once, this year.

That longest pod is the size they would all be reaching, if growing conditions were better.

I suppose I really should have left them for another day, as these were a bit on the small size, but I couldn’t resist.

I had them with my breakfast, too. 🙂

The melon wasn’t as sweet as larger ones we’d picked, but it was definitely ripe. The peas were also probably not as sweet as they would have been under better growing conditions. They were both still quite tasty, though!

Last night’s storm had blown the door to the outhouse closed. I opened it again and things were still a bit damp. It’s been a few hours now, so I am going to head out and see if I can start painting!

The Re-Farmer

Where’s breakfast?

This was waiting for me, when I came into the sun room to start my morning rounds.

They know which door the food comes from! 😀

There are nine kittens and four adults in this photo, plus two more kittens at the food tray under the shrine. I can see five grey striped tabbies. So we have Bradicous, Chadicous, Tadicous and Sadicous… plus the spare! 😀 The girls will have to come up with another -icous. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: our “second bathroom”, prepping to paint inside

While it was incredibly handy that the old outhouse had been made safe and cleaned up inside, when we found ourselves unable to use our indoor bathroom, the reality is, it was still pretty… unpleasant… using it.

So now that we have the scrubbable, high traffic paint, I decided it was time to work on the inside of the outhouse. Because the way things seem to go in this house, we never know when we’re going to have to use it again!

Which means that today, I worked on preparing the inside for paint, starting with removing the remaining stuff stuck to the walls, after taking down all the colourful paper my mother had put up.

Thumb tacks, nails, staples, bits of paper, and bits of packing tape. Some of those tacks, I’m sure a hammer was used to put them in! I found myself using a staple remover, a screwdriver small enough to lever under the thumb tacks, and even a wrench, to yank out the most stubborn bits. They were all over the walls, on the top and front of the seat box, and the inside of the door.

Of course, I found more that I’d missed, after I took the photo, too!

My mother was very through in covering those walls! 😀

I also removed the mirrored medicine cabinet, then used a broom and brushes of different sizes to get as much dust and dirt off the walls, ceiling and floor, and out of the corners, as I could. The inside latch on the door was also removed. It was held in place with two very rusty screws, and a bent roofing nail!

The final step was to power wash the inside with the house. Remembering how difficult it was to go the front of the inside, before, that was where I started this time. By standing on the seat box, I was able to get at the cracks and crevices fairly well, without being splashed with water too badly! 😀 Even doing the underside of the roof worked out all right. Once the front was done, I could get down and do the rest from the doorway.

Now it needs to dry overnight. It will be ready for painting, tomorrow!

I am happy to note that the floor is a lot sturdier than I thought it was. I had still been wanting to reinforce it by adding more boards on top. However, the seat box is pretty low. If we add any more height on the floor, it will make using the seat pretty hard on the knees. So I will have to rethink what to use to reinforce the floor. A sheet of metal could be thin enough, and strong enough, to do it. We have more like what is now in front of the outhouse, but they are huge pieces and I don’t have the tools to cut them with. Not that I would want to. I have no doubt that, some time in the future, I’m going to be thankful to have such large sheets of metal for some project! 😀 There is no hurry, though. After it is painted, we can poke around the barn and the sheds and see what we can find.

After it is painted, I am thinking it would be good to replace the inside latch with a new one, as well as adding a handle or latch to the outside. Right now, it is kept closed with a piece of wood nailed loosely to the frame.

I should probably pick up new hinges. The door is starting to sag and I want to straighten it out, too. And if I’m going to do that, I may as well get matching handles and latches for the outside, too. There is not as much of a hurry on that, though, as the outside needs to be scraped and painted, and that likely won’t happen until next year. Fixing the roof is more of a priority, and I still hope to get that done this year. For now, I’ll just replace the inside latch with a new one.

Hmm. Now that I’m thinking about it, there is another medicine cabinet with a mirrored door in the basement. I think it’s in better shape than the one I took off. If it is, I’ll use that one, instead.

It may be just an old outhouse, but if we’re going to have to use it, we’re going to make that thing as pretty and pleasant as possible! The girls already have ideas for decorating it inside. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Morning harvest, and getting named

Check out what I was able to gather this morning!

There are quite a few more of the purple beans buried underneath. They have been, hands down, the most prolific bean producers, and if the weather keeps up the way it has been, we will be picking beans for at least another week or two! Even the yellow beans are putting out a second crop. With the drought conditions, none of the bean plants are as large and bushy as they should be, with the green and yellow beans particularly stunted, even as they continue to produce. With the green beans, that resulted in my finding bean pods that were almost as long as the plants were tall!

I had to get a bigger container to collect tomatoes with, instead of the red Solo cups we’ve been using until now. The vines are dying back, yet they still have so many ripening tomatoes!

Earlier today, I made a quick trip to the post office, before I gathered our morning harvest. The general store it is in always closes at noon on Wednesdays, so I had to do it early, but not too early; I knew the postmaster would need at least an hour from opening, to sort through the morning mail. We had some packages to pick up, but one of my daughters also had a package that was supposed to be delivered by courier, directly to our address, as it was from a place that does not deliver to box numbers.

Which has always been a problem, since our physical address doesn’t come up in searches. Like pretty much all of the roads around here, our road has two names; one is a numerical designation (part of the provincial system), and the other is our family name (a municipal thing). Many of the local roads are named after local families. It was only recently that I discovered that the road past our place has no name on the maps at all! Not even the road number. Which certainly explained why delivery companies had such a problem finding us!

My daughter was keeping an eye on the tracking number, however, and got a notification that her package was delivered to our door at about quarter to one. Of course, there was no such delivery, since the gate is locked. I could see nothing on the live feed of the security cameras, but my daughter went to see if it might have been left at the gate. Sure enough, I watched her on the camera as she got to the gate and picked up a white package. Which was on the gravel of the driveway, which also looks pretty white on the camera! No wonder I couldn’t see it!

I’m impressed that they found us, but it reminded me of something I wanted to try. Using the maps app on my phone, I found our road and took a closer look. It turned out that there is a 4 mile stretch of our road that is not labeled at all, however to the south of us, the road ends at another road, then restarts a short distance away. From where it restarts and continues south, it is labeled with the same numerical designation as the signs we have on our stop sign.

The four mile section that had no label is the only section that has our family name assigned to it. The offset part of the road with the numerical label probably has another family’s name assigned to it.

The app now has a function that allows the map to be edited. When I used that and started to select sections of the road, it simply said “unknown road”. I was able to select all 4 miles that had no label on it, then put in the name. It gave the option to add more information, so I added that it was also known by the numerical designation. I then sent the edit to Google Maps. I’ve already got a confirmation email saying “Thank you for your contribution. Your suggestion is being reviewed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. We’ll let you know once the changes are published.”

Hopefully, that means or road will finally have a name attached to it on Google Maps, and people will be able to find us more easily! Plus, with the name rather than the number on the map, it will also match what is on not only my driver’s license, but on the licenses of several of my neighbours, too!

Speaking of which, I am hoping to get a chance to visit the one that sells pork products at the farmer’s market today. With our province’s latest draconian restrictions, organic humans are no longer allowed in “non-essential” places, even though such mandates are expressly forbidden in our laws, at both the federal and provincial levels. Vendors at markets aren’t required to be GMO though; just the customers. So I will just have to skip the market, and go right to the source! 😀

I’m quite okay with that. They are a homesteading family that are a few years ahead of where we want to be, as far as self-sufficiency goes, and I would love to see how they’ve been doing things! I may have grown up here on the farm, two sticks ahead of the stone ages, but I am more than happy to learn new, better and more efficient ways to go things! Especially since we’re only about one stick ahead of the stones ages now. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Cat heaven, basement flood update, and our monthly shop

Gosh, it feels like such a long day today. It always does when we do our city shopping!

I am so glad we only do this once or twice a month!

But first… Kitties!

I just have to share some adorable photos with you. 🙂 ❤

I got my morning Ginger cuddles!

He does not want me to pet him. If I try, he violently kicks my hand away with his back legs, rolls half onto his back and sticks the back of his head onto my hand for ear skritches. Not from above his head, but from below! Of course, once the skritches starts, a back leg starts to kick uncontrollably. 😀

Gosh, he’s adorable.

Before my daughter and I headed out to the city, I of course had to check the basement.

That is SUCH an improvement! By the time I checked it again after we got back from the city, this side was mostly dry. I think, by tomorrow, I’ll be able to move the blower fan to face the other side of the basement, as it had flooded enough to reach the other side of the furnaces. A couple more days, and we should be able to start the final clean up.

I even remembered to pick up more heavier duty latex gloves for the job, as the pair I was using while working on the drain pipe sprang leaks! 😀

Of the four places we typically try to hit during our monthly city shop, my younger daughter and I managed three. 😀 Our first stop was at Canadian Tire, were we picked up more wood pellets. We still have some unopened bags to use as litter, but now that I’ve found how well they work to amend the soil in our garden beds, I have no problem stocking up even more! While there, we also found a heavy duty, high traffic, scrubbable paint for the inside of the outhouse. My older daughter was thinking a pale robin’s egg blue, but once we started looking at the colour samples, there were not a lot of options, so my younger daughter chose a light mint. Not a colour I would have chosen, but they have better taste than I do, so I trust them. 😉 As long as it’s a like colour and not white, I don’t really care all that much. 😀 So now we just need to get all those tacks out of the walls, give it one last cleaning to get rid of any new dust or spider webs, and then we can paint! At some point, we’ll pick up more exterior paint to do the outside, but that can wait until next spring, really. Getting the roof fixed is more of a priority when it comes to the outside.

After Canadian Tire, we went to the international grocery store for those little things we can’t find at Costco, with Costco being our final stop. We didn’t get everything in the quantities we will need for our goal of stocking up extra for the winter, in case the weather has us stuck at home for a couple of months, again. Partly because, even using a flat cart, it would be just too much. The largest and heaviest items being the bags of dry cat food. Even so, it’s been a long time since we packed the van this full!

One thing we didn’t get a lot of was meat. Partly because we still had some in the freezer, but partly because we are planning on getting a quarter beef from the local supplier we found. They are taking orders now, then start butchering in November, and the meat will be ready in December. They are charging $6 per pound this year, and a quarter beef averages about 150-200 pounds in finished weight. So, at most, we can expect to be paying $1200. That’s the equivalent of our entire grocery budget, including cat supplies, toiletries, household cleaners and the like, for the entire month! Which means we have to make sure to set some of our grocery budget aside, along with the unallocated funds in our budget. Most of the unallocated funds for this month just went to pay for the plumber, though. We’ll have to juggle the budget a bit, so we can still set aside for the beef, while also not touching our contingency fund that is slated for something else.

After we got home and everything got put away, it was time for supper, and then I headed outside to water the garden beds. We hit 25C/77F today. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter, and things have been pretty dry for the past little while. We still have the soaker hose set up under the squash trellis, and the sprinkler hose set up with the summer squash, so we got those going first. While I was at it, I topped up the empty kibble trays outside.

We may have got all of the outside cats when I did!

I counted 11 kittens in total, including Nosencrantz and Toesencrantz in their usual private dining area under the shrine. Nutmeg, Rosencrantz and Ghost Baby joined them, too! I also saw Potato Beetle, Rolando Moon and Butterscotch at the kibble house. They were all moving around so much that, if the 12th kitten was there, too, I could easily have missed it. Especially since they sometimes hide under the cat house.

There are nine kittens and three adults visible in the above photo. What a crowd! Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more of the kittens outside the sunroom door, waiting for me to come out with the kibble, and fewer of them run away completely when I come outside. Some of them are almost underfoot when I put the food out, even though they back right off if it seems like I’m about to stop near them. They are such an adorable bunch. I just love those stripes on the ‘icouses!

When I came back out later to switch the hose from the soaker hose to the sprinkler hose, I was very entertained by the sight of a Rolando Moon roast! She loves to climb right into the old roaster (which became a kibble tray after one of the handles broke off). I missed getting a photo of her looking all trussed up, before she gave me her famous death glare. 😀

Later on, I even saw Junk Pile cat! She has been coming out to eat after all the other cats and kittens are gone.

I’m just looking at the long range forecast right now, and it’s looking like we are going to have some absolutely glorious weather, well into October! That should go a long way to giving us a chance to get some outside projects worked on, and for our garden to continue producing. While watering today, I was noticing quite a lot of pea pods developing, and yes, I have even found some mature enough to taste! Just a couple of pods so far, but my goodness, fresh peas are the best! One of the sweet corn blocks is even looking like it might have cobs worth harvesting soon, too! I honestly thought that one was a lost cause, too. We shall see! Meanwhile, tomorrow I will be picking tomatoes, and probably more beans, too.

It’s working out to be a really awesome fall! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

I guess I spoke too soon!

I’d posted about being able to get our blocked pipe to the septic tank open, at least enough for things to finally drain. I thought we would be good for a while.

I was wrong.

Things were fine, at first. I got my shower in, no problem. Then my daughters took their showers.

By the third shower, I decided to check the basement.

There was more water on the floor again.

It took me a while to figure out where it was coming from. It turned out to be the laundry sink. Water was backing up into the sink, but this sink isn’t properly attached, and the drain opening leaks around the drain itself, so it was trying to fill and drain from the same area, at the same time. As a result, not only was the bucket under the U bend filling, but water was missing it entirely and splashing onto the concrete floor. I let my daughter know, so she could quickly finish her shower, then started bailing water into the floor drain. The water was slowly draining, but the volume from the shower was just too fast.

Which meant we had to call a plumber right away.

Well. Almost.

Since we had no way to do dishes or use the kitchen sinks, my older daughter offered to buy us supper, so my younger daughter and I made a trip into town where she could run do some errands she needed, then we picked up some fried chicken for supper. We even picked up a couple of things at the grocery store, just in case I couldn’t make the trip to the city for our monthly shop tomorrow.

Once at home, I started making calls. I first tried one of the plumbers that had come out to check our well. They were very apologetic, but were so busy, they would not be able to come out for at least a couple of weeks. !! I asked if he could recommend anyone, and he gave me the name of a plumber he thought would have an auger, in another town. I called them, but they were also booked solid. I asked for another recommendation, and got the name of a third plumber they thought had an auger.

Third time’s the charm!

After explaining what was going on, he hemmed and hawed a bit, then said that the earliest he’d be able to come out was 9:30.



I was ecstatic! We were prepared to have to wait until morning. We spoke a bit more, then he said he would call me back about an hour before he would be able to come out and get directions to our place.

When he got here, the first thing he did was check things out, and I explained to him what I’d already done, the roots that I’d found, and the issues we’d been having in the past. Among the things we had to consider was how old everything was, and the risk of causing more damage. Not that we had any choice. He then went and got his auger and tools.

Would you look at that beast! What a beautiful machine!

Shortly after he started, he broke though the area that was blocking the laundry sink, and suddenly we had water shooting up the pipe and into the basement! Not much he could do to stop it, either. He just had to keep on going and eventually clear through to the tank.

That old garden hose came in very handy! He made a lot of use of it, and it really helped.

Once he got that pipe done, he worked on the floor drain to the pipe.

In the process, he pulled out a clump of roots and crud the size of a small animal!! You can see it in the above photo. He got more roots out after that, too.

Then he worked in the other direction, clearing the pipe towards the weeping tile, as far as he could go.

It wasn’t until the very end, when he was using the hose to wash everything out as much as he could, that the well pump started grinding, so I quickly got him to turn off the hose. When I explained to him about the noise, and that two other plumbers had already looked at it, but didn’t dare replace the pump, he went over to take a look. Right away, he was saying, “I can see why they would be scared to do it!” The risk of something going very wrong and losing us water entirely is very high.

When he was done with the floor drain, I was really impressed by how much lower the water level now is. It doesn’t fully drain; it was grandfathered into the septic system, and there is a slightly higher spot somewhere in the line to the access pipe, preventing it from draining completely. However, it now drains as much as it can, very quickly, and it’s no longer full of silt and sand. He did such a fantastic job!

When he was done, I took advantage of him being there and asked if he could give an estimate on replacing our tub’s taps and faucet. He tried to look at the hot water tap that is leaking so badly, but it’s so corroded inside, he couldn’t get it off. He didn’t want to risk breaking something, so he didn’t want to try too hard.

In the end, he estimated the total cost to replace the taps and faucet would be around $400 – $500, but we would then have to replace the section of tub surround ourselves. Which I would have no issues with. However, he also thinks they can be repaired, which would cost much less. The only issue is not being able to take the tap off! If we replace them, it wouldn’t matter if he ended up breaking the plastic part, but obviously that would be a big issue if he was just going to repair it.

But that will have to wait for another time.

Before he left, he got my email address, then later sent me an invoice. Much to my amazement, it was less than $300! Considering how long he worked on it, plus coming out so late in the day, I fully expected it to be higher.

Worth. Every. Penny!

While he was working on the pipes, and I told him as much as I could about the system, and the problem with the roots. We know that they will eventually come back. With what he did tonight, though, it should be many years before this become an issue again.

I am so very happy with this guy! Definitely someone we will go back to in the future!

Now we have a cleaned out septic tank for the winter, and cleaned out pipes. These are now all set for the winter!

That’s quite a weight off, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer


Well, I can at least say that we can now use our plumbing again.

For now.

The septic guy made it over in the late morning. The septic tank was, indeed, very full. When he had emptied it, however, nothing started to drain in the basement, so that – thankfully – ruled out the notion that the clog was due to fluids actually backing up from the tank, into the basement. That could have caused all sorts of problems with our type of system.

Also, when I called for him to come over, I asked what the rates were. They did, of course, go up a bit from when we had the tank emptied in the spring. I made sure to give him a tip, too. If anyone deserves a tip, it’s the septic guy!!!

Once that was done, I quickly grabbed lunch, then headed to the basement. Having helped my brother the last time this happened, I could go straight to where I figured the source of the problem was.

Which is when I had my first problem. I needed to get the cap off this access pipe, but my pipe wrench had disappeared. It should have been on the hot water tank, but I had the vaguest memory of taking it to use somewhere else. Too vague of a memory. I had no idea where it might have been.

While cleaning out the new part basement, we did find a couple of large pipe wrenches, so I decided to try one of those. I grabbed the smaller one, but it turned out to be broken, so I went back to try the bigger one.

Now, situations like this are among the reasons I’m glad we have the opening between the two basements blocked off, keeping the cats out. The mess was bad enough on its own. The mess with cats running through it, then tracking it through the house, is a whole different level of horrific. Unfortunately, it also meant that, to get something that is in the new basement, I had to go back up the stairs to the main floor, go down the other stairs to the new basement, then back up to the main floor, then back down to the old basement.

I don’t do stairs well at the best of times. Having to go up and down the old basement stairs, with its odd dimensions, was not a good thing. But, it had to be done.

So after a few precarious trips with me hobbling up and down the stairs repeatedly, I tried the big pipe wrench. That thing probably weighs about 10 pounds. Thankfully, it was not broken, but I still couldn’t get the cap off. Instead, the entire piece was turning. I realized I would have to take the entire top piece off, and that required loosening the bands holding what appeared to be a rubber seal in place.

That required tools I didn’t have.

At that point, I just hobbled half way up the stairs and called for my husband to bring me the big tool kit Finally, I was able to get the whole piece off the top of the pipe. And no wonder I couldn’t get it off! I knew the metal was rusting away pretty badly, from that last time we had to do this, but my brother did clean it up as best he could. About the only positive thing I could say is that, this time, there wasn’t any actual pieces of rusted out metal that had fallen off, for me to clean up.

I did take a picture, but it is too disgusting to share.

I then brought out the old chimney sweep that my brother and I had found was the only thing that really worked to break through the clogged pipe, last time. The end without the brush could be jammed through, and it’s long enough to reach all the way into the tank. I started to push it through, and barely got more than 10 inches before it was blocked.

I then spent the next… *checks the time* … two hours or so, trying to jam that thing through. I also had an old garden hose we’d used last time, too. It only has a female coupling on it, which works out quite well for a job like this. I could hook it up to the cold water tap that the washing mashing used to be hooked up to – I couldn’t use the taps at the laundry sink, since it was completely full of water… and… stuff. Very happy for the tap redundancy in this basement! Between the wire and the hose, I was eventually able to break through the clog. I knew I finally got it when the laundry sink suddenly started to drain! 😀

I then moved to the floor drain to work on for a bit. I had already had an idea of the cause of the problem, but here, it was confirmed.

There were roots running across the drain from the weeping tile under the new basement, all the way through to the access pipe to the septic tank.

I broke up and tore out as much as I could, but I just don’t have the equipment to do more. We do have a rotary drain snake, and I was able to use that to pull out quite a bit, but it’s just too small to clear the pipes.

Still, I got it to the point where water was flowing freely again, and I could start sweeping the water on the floor, and sweeping up… debris… for the garbage. I got most of it cleared, but not all. Once everything was flowing again, I made sure the dehumidifier that drains directly into the sump pump reservoir was set to maximum, then set the big blower fan up to face the worst of the wet and plugged that in.

Once everything is dry, we’ll be able to clean up the last of the mess and disinfect the floor.

It’s a good thing this is NOT a finished basement! I am also very happy that I made sure everything that we do have down there is up on bricks, not directly on the floor.

As disgusting and messy as the job was, it could have been much worse. Most of what backed up was from a load of laundry. It could have been much, much more disgusting, that’s for sure! Still, when it was done, I was so incredibly glad to be able to take a shower!

We will still need to call someone in to clear the pipes of those roots. Otherwise, we’ll be doing this again before too long. 😦 It could probably wait until spring, though, since the trees are going dormant and there will not be new root growth for a while. We won’t be able to get all the weeping tile done, but if we can just clear the pipes that are in the old basement, that would make a big difference.

The main thing is, things are now draining.

And I am drained!

The Re-Farmer

The luffa is still trying! Plus, a bit of an update.

Our temperatures have been lurching around quite a bit, lately! Last night, we dipped to 3C/37F, but our high of the day is supposed to reach 23C/73F!

I’m watching our garden beds closely and had a surprise. Not only is our Ozark Nest Egg gourd trying to produce more gourds, so are the luffa!

This is our first – and until now, only – luffa that was developing. It’s withering away, likely due to lack of pollination.

Right near it I found these.

Three new luffa starting to develop!

There are even some male flowers blooming, too. With so few pollinators around right now, I am thinking of pollinating them by hand, to give them a chance to actually mature, but it’s almost October. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but then, this year it looking like we will have a long, warm fall. I’d like to see how far along they get.

Though last night was chilly, we had no frost warnings, and when I headed out early this morning, to make sure the gate was open for the septic guy, I don’t think I saw any frost damage. I even was able to harvest a couple more zucchini this morning.

The overnight dip did make going to the outhouse during the night rather unpleasant! As I write this, we are still waiting on the septic guy to come by. All he could tell me when I called last night was that he thought he could make it in the morning.

Until the tank is emptied, there is no point in trying to unclog the pipe from the basement to the tank. So for now, we’re not only stuck using the outhouse, but doing things like using a bowl to wash up in, so the water can be dumped outside later, rather than going down the drain.

I’m really hoping we can get this is just a straightforward clearing of that pipe. Otherwise, we’ll be having to call a plumber, and that means dipping into funds set aside for other things. The good thing is, we have those funds if we need them, at least. :-/ As much of a pain as it can sometimes be, we’ve actually been able to set aside a bit of cash into a contingency fund. While we were living in the city, that was impossible to do. So I am thankful for that, at least!

The Re-Farmer