Not quite a day of rest

It looks like we have a new addition to our outside cats.

Sad Face has been hanging around. This morning, I saw him milling about with the other cats without any trouble. He was even in the kibble house, though he ran off when I came by. The photo above is the closest he was willing to get, while I was out and about, and I had to zoom in with my phone.

Rolando Moon followed me when I went to switch memory cards on the sign cam.

Of course, we had deer visiting, including this one.

Green grass is actually starting to show in places, though I haven’t noticed any along the sidewalk. She found something to chew on, though.

Then I spotted the piebald heading for the kibble house, and one of my daughters was kind enough to send it away!

The girls started a load of laundry before we sat down for lunch, and it’s a good thing we were lingering at the table afterward. As the washing machine was draining, we suddenly heard water gurgling in the kitchen sink – then splashing!

The drain for the washing machine was overflowing again.

Crud.

I’d hoped, after getting the septic tank emptied and that backed up pipes in the basement cleared, it would have solved that problem, too. I made sure to dash into the basement to check, and all was fine down there.

It doesn’t happen every time we do laundry. In fact, it only happened once before, and that was the day we discovered the septic was backing into the basement.

From what I could hear in the pipes, things were draining. It just seems that it wasn’t draining fast enough for a larger load. With our new machine, we don’t choose a load size. It’s a “smart” machine, and adjusts the water levels itself, based on how much is in the drum.

The last time it happened, and we pulled the machines out to clean up the mess, we used drain cleaner in the pipe. Clearly, that wasn’t enough.

When the new part of the house was built, my dad included a sink in the entryway. That was taken out, long ago, which is why there was plumbing in place for my brother and daughter to install the washing machine (all those years my parents used the basement when, as their mobility decreased, they could have used the entry). It joins the drain pipe from the kitchen, which then joins with the tub’s drain, then the toilet, and finally the main pipe to the septic.

My guess is that we’ve got decades of kitchen grease and detritus, as well as whatever was washed down the sink that used to be in the entry, every time someone cleaned up after being in the barn, garage, garden, etc. I don’t think anyone really paid attention to what went down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind.

I followed the pipe as best I could, but the section that is under the entryway is actually hidden behind a floor joist in the ceiling of the root cellar. The root cellar is under the entry and built around a corner of the old basement. The pipe runs along the top of the old concrete wall, until it bends and joins the drain from the tub. It’s pretty inaccessible.

When we tried to use a plumbing snake in that drain, it didn’t really accomplish anything.

So, how do we clear the pipe?

Slowly, it appears.

I headed into town (I never made it yesterday, so I had to go to refill our water bottles, anyhow) and made a stop at a hardware store. I’d found something there before that we’d tried but, when we ran out, we never remembered to get more. It’s an enzyme based product that is designed to maintain both the pipes and the septic tank. It’s meant to be used once a month. I found a version of it made by CLR, so I got both. I also got a funnel with a flexible hose on it, so we can pour it into the drain without having to pull the dryer out, then the washing machine, to reach the opening.

Then I got a new bottle of heavy duty drain cleaner, since we emptied the last one was had.

With the monthly treatment products, it can be poured into any drain, so we might start from the kitchen sink. It’s the one that’s furthest out from the septic, but still close to the washing machine drain.

We already use a bacterial product to help maintain the septic tank, but this is something that gets flushed down the toilet regularly, and does nothing for the pipes. As the products I picked up today are to maintain both the pipes and the tank, I think we’ll stop using the flush additive for now. It’s probably not a good idea to have TOO much bacteria or enzymes in the system.

While I was out, getting the stuff for the pipes, my daughter monitored the washing machine so that, if it started to overflow again, she could quickly shut the machine off, wait until it drained, then turn it back on again.

I hope this stuff works, because I don’t see any other way we can get those pipes clear. At least not without calling in a plumber.

At least this happened early enough in the day that the hardware store was still open. 😀

The Re-Farmer

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