Still not in the clear

As I write this, it’s coming up on 2pm, and the septic guy has not made it out yet.

I’m happy to say that we did not get any additional flooding in the basement during the night. So far, we can get away with flushing the toilet now and then, and washing our hands, but showers, laundry and doing the dishes are all out. If we do use water, that drain opening in the basement floor does fill a bit, but it’s not overflowing and slowly drains back into the tank again. The septic pump continues to run as usual.

We had a cold night, and the winds were bitterly cold this morning.

It was cold enough to freeze the mud from when the front end loader went through the softer areas. Solid enough that, when I had to drive over it later on, the van didn’t break through the ice at all.

My husband, sweetheart that his is, offered to cover the costs of getting prepared food. His tax return came in yesterday, thankfully. So this morning, I headed into town to pick up a bucket of chicken or something like that, only to find the chicken place wasn’t open yet. In fact, none of the restaurants with take out were open yet. So I went to the grocery store and picked up a bunch of prepared and quick heat foods for the day. The problem right now not being able to do the dishes. We do still have pots and pans to cook with, but nowhere to put dirty dishes anymore.

Note for future: not only do we need an outdoor bathroom in a different location – one that doesn’t collect a lake of meltwater in front of it – but when we build our outdoor kitchen, we need to make sure to have the supplies needed to wash up, then collect and dispose of the dirty water. We do have a few things we can use, if we really get desperate, but they would be quite awkward to work with. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!

After I got back, my daughters took over putting things away and preparing the food while I headed back to the septic tank. I wanted to get the insulated tarp loose, so when the septic guy arrived, he would just need to pull it back and go.

That, of course, turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated.

We were really, really thorough about making sure that tarp couldn’t get blown away.

I ended up having to dig out the far corner as well, which still had a drift of hard packed snow on top.

I forgot we’d used old fence posts across the fold, to weigh it down.

I finally got it so that the tarp can be pulled back to access the cover. Then I returned it and weighed it down with one of the fence posts, until we need to lift it, since we do still need to keep this area insulated!

It would have been much better if it could have been lifted from the other end, away from the house, but it was easier get the tarp out from under the things weighing it down along the house, and breaking up the snow on it, than trying to chip through that layer of ice.

There is a downspout at the corner of the sun room that we put the rain barrel under. The barrel blocks access into the garden quite a bit, so I’ve been thinking of turning the down spout towards the garden, so that the rain barrel can be put around the corner, instead of on the sidewalk in front of the sun room. If we put a high enough platform under it, we’ll also have room for a tap to fill watering cans from the bottom, too. The diverter we use when the barrel is full currently drains near a rose bush in front of the steps to the laundry platform at the clothes line. If we redirect the down spout, it will instead drain into the old kitchen garden. What I want to do is attach a collapsible overflow pipe to the rain barrel, instead, so we don’t have to worry about using the diverter at all. The whole set up will still be in the way of traffic zones, but not as much as it is now.

Now I’m thinking we need to do the same thing with the downspout on the opposite corner, by the septic tank. The ground slopes downwards to the west, but the downspout runs to the north. If we turn it, yes, it’ll be in the way, since it’ll be running across the path we’ve made along the side of the house, but I’m sure we can work around that. Another rain barrel certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. In fact, we could use three more, just for around the house. We will have to make sure they all have overflow drains. I’d like to have a couple more rain barrels at the garage, too, since we have garden beds that way already, and there will be trees and shrubs planted beyond the garage, too. So we’re looking at at least 5 rain barrels, though if we could get a couple of those big water tanks instead, that would be even better.

One of these days, I need to snag my brother and his trailer, and make a trip to the salvage yard in the city. Along with rain barrels, we want to pick up bricks, blocks and pavers, too.

But that’s something to do in the summer, perhaps. Right now, I just want to be able to take a shower and not flood our basement.

The Re-Farmer

Well, that was disgusting

It’s just past 2 am as I start to write this. Normally, I would be going to bed around this time, but I actually went to bed before midnight, for a change.

Before I did, I checked the old basement. Not only was there no increased flooding, but things had actually started to dry up. A good sign. I covered the drain with the plastic sheet that keeps the gases out and went to bed.

Not long ago, I woke to go to the bathroom and heard a strange, quiet rumbling from the basement. It didn’t sound like the well pump, nor the septic pump, neither of which should have been on, anyhow.

It was the sump pump.

The basement was flooded even more than before, the reservoir had filled, the pump was running so long, it was sounding wrong, but the reservoir wasn’t draining.

I threw on some boots and a coat and ran outside with the flashlight. There was nothing coming out of the sump pump hose in the old kitchen garden. I yanked it out from along the house, and it was flexible the entire length. I finally found the blockage, right by where it attached to the pipe from the basement.

I was able to flex the hose and could hear ice breaking up inside, but that did nothing for the rigid bit of pipe through the wall.

So back to the basement I ran, this time with a couple of large buckets. I had to unplug the sump pump, which had been running so long, it was hot.

By this time, my noise had awakened the rest of the family. Even my husband could hear me over the sound of his CPAP.

The girls came down to help. I used the small bucket with a wire on its handle that we used the last time this happened, and a broom handle it sink it, and started bailing water into a large bucket. That went to one daughter, who took it up the stairs. My other daughter took that outside to empty it, while I filled the next bucket.

That reservoir holds a remarkable amount of water.

After many trips, we got the reservoir bailed out as much as could be done with the small bucket.

Once that was clear, I checked the drain in the floor. It had disintegrating toilet paper in it, but not more than before, from what I could tell. I was going to hose that away after the septic tank was done.

The first time we had septic problems in the basement, that my brother and I worked on, we hooked an old hose to what used to be the cold water tap for the washing machine and used it to try and clear the pipes. The last time, when the plumber came with his drain auger, it came in very handy, so I’ve just left it there, with most of the hose rolled up and hanging. I pushed the end of it through the drain, and could get quite far. There is no blockage, that I could feel.

Once the drain cover was off, I could see water from the floor starting to slowly drain away.

Grabbing a long handled scrub brush, I tried to clear the drain opening, and it didn’t seem to make much difference in how quickly things drained.

What concerned me was that I started pulling up thin tree roots. That’s what the plumber had cleared out if there, not that many months ago.

After the tank is emptied, I should be able to run water through the drain in the floor and be able to see better. I’ll also open up the access pipe, near the septic pump, and take a better look, but that requires tools.

The drain cover has been left off. The sump pump remains unplugged. We will have to keep checking the basement more often, and if it starts filling again, start bailing it out again.

My daughter’s and I, meanwhile, have scrubbed up, though we still feel really gross. It’s not like we can take showers right now, though at least we can flush the toilet and wash up.

Now we have to get some more sleep while we can.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to fall asleep anytime soon, which is why I am sitting here, tapping out a blog post on my phone.


The Re-Farmer

Can I just win the lottery, now?

Oy. What a morning!

Things went south before I even woke up this morning. Or, should I say, things going south was what woke me up!

I still had a litter box in my office/bedroom, so our post surgical kitties wouldn’t have far to go, if they needed to.

I was awakened by the sound of Beep Beep vigorously trying to spread the litter all over my carpet.

And we still don’t have the replacement belts for our new vacuum, yet.


Then I went into the sun room to start my morning rounds, and found water on the floor.

Under the spare cat food bag.

Despite things cooling down, yesterday’s warmth has lead to water leaking in the sun room again, and it’s making its way through now.

And we still don’t know where the water is getting in, so we couldn’t patch it.

So I had to spend some time taking care of the bag of cat food which, thankfully, has an inner lining that kept the kibble from getting wet, and setting out a bucket to catch the drips.

Butterscotch and Nosencrantz were doing very well, and enjoyed their wet cat food treat. They are getting so spoiled these days! 😀

The kibble bowls outside had been picked clean of even the kibble from the brands they don’t like. I am pretty sure I know who ate it. Last night, on the security camera live feed, I saw a very large skunk, running back and forth on the driveway, and too and from one of the sheds. Skunks don’t fully hibernate in winter, and it can be pretty safe to assume a very hungry skunk visited the kibble house last night.

When I came outside, I “caught” a deer in the path to the compost pile, half way between the pile and the house. It froze and stared at me for a while, before walking away, then into the spruces. Even as I brought out the seeds to the feeding station, it stayed and watched me until I was almost clear of the lilac bushes. By the time I was heading to the garage, to take the van to the mechanic, two deer were at the feeding station. They watched me, but didn’t run away.

The van started well enough, and no warning light or message from the onboard computer about the brakes. I left it running to warm up while I went to unlock the gate.

The lock was frozen.

We don’t have lock de-icer.

It took me about 10 minutes to finally be able to get the key in and open the lock.

Which is when I discovered the slide bar that holds the two sides of the gate together, was also frozen.

This thing is about 2 feet long, and the ice had formed between the metal of the bar, and the metal of the gate it slides on.

After fighting with it for a while, I went to the garage, shut off the van, and grabbed a tool kit. I ended up having to remove one of the bolts that holds it in place, but also stops it from sliding too far over the other half of the gate. It allowed me to pull the slider upwards, pivoting on the opposite bolt, enough to break free of the ice. Much sliding back and forth was required to scrape the ice off. The ice had filled almost the entire length where the two pieces of metal where in contact.

That took another 20 minutes or so.

The gate is being left open, now.

Then it was back to the van and off to town, with a brief stop at the post office, along the way.

We’ve got high winds from the north right now, blowing across the road the entire trip. It wasn’t too bad at first, but the closer I drove towards the lake, the more snow there was, the more drifting, and worse visibility. When I reached the stop sign to cross the next highway, it was sheer ice and hadn’t been sanded!

Which is when a new warning light came on. The battery light, while my onboard computer flashed with “charging system failure.”


Thankfully, I was less than 5 minutes from the garage.

When I got there, his parking lot was full, so I pulled in behind his own vehicle and went in.

But not until after I shut off the van, then restarted it. The warning light did not come back on.

Once inside, I saw that not only did he have all three lifts full, but he managed to squeeze in another car in the middle, and a utility vehicle between a vehicle on a lift, and the bay door behind it.

At least he had another mechanic with him this time!

Clearly, he wasn’t going to be able to check the van, anytime soon. I did bring in the printout to show him and we talked about what was going on, as well as the road conditions. He thought I was going to be dropping the van off and coming back later, but that wasn’t an option. My daughter still has a limited license, so someone with a full license has to be with her, and my husband no longer has a valid licence, since they wanted him to do a legal name change when he tried to switch to this province’s license. And she can’t take the road test to get her full license, because of all the restrictions and mandates against organic humans.

I would have been willing to wait, or he could have called me later in the afternoon, when he could fit the van in, but with the road conditions, I didn’t want to chance it.

I’m now booked to come back at 10am on Friday.

It’s a good thing we did that, as conditions had worsened even in the short time I was in with him. It was slow going in places, and more than a few spots were down to almost zero visibility.

About half way home, that “charging system failure” warning came back on.

I was just coming up on the turn towards our driveway when the van kicked into battery saving mode and shutting things off.

After pulling into the garage, I checked, and the battery was down to 8.4 volts. It is normally at 14 volts.

Thankfully, we have a good charger.

Unfortunately, the battery is really hard to get at. The fuse box and a piece of frame support is basically on top of it.

But, it is charging, and I should at least be able to get it to the mechanic in a couple of days.

One of the things on the list of stuff to check that I got after changing the oil, was corrosion on the battery connectors. It was something I’d noticed myself. But would that be enough to prevent the batter from charging? The mechanic suggested it might be the alternator, but until he actually gets under the hood to check, it’s just guesswork.

So, there’s something wonky with the brakes. The battery is losing its charge. We have a loose wire in our manual headlights knob, so that if I want to turn them on manually (auto still works fine), I sometimes have to wiggle it just right for it to work. The ABS needs to be fixed, and on and on.

This van has done well by us, considering the problems we had when we first bought it, but it’s mileage is right up there; I’m actually hoping to catch the odometer at 456,789.0 km, but I might have missed it on the way home. It’s old and little things are giving out, all over. We’re keeping up on them as much as we can, but the budget is just not there to get it all done.

Meanwhile, there is basic maintenance needed on my mother’s car, we have other equipment that needs to be fixed, the roof is leaking, we’re on borrowed time for our well, and the whole house needs a top to bottom renovation.

A lottery win would really come in handy right now. Not even a particularly big win. Just enough to replace and fix the things that need to be done!

The Re-Farmer

Nooo!!! These critters have got to go!

Okay, I am not a happy camper right now.

My daughter and I had started to do the evening watering, and she was at the tomatoes when she saw something on the concrete steps outside our dining room door. We currently have our umbrella tree sitting there, and she saw something go behind the pot.

The mock orange here has been recovering nicely from cold damage.

As I to check on what my daughter saw, I could see movement through the mock orange leaves. The kittens have been enjoying playing on these steps. In the past, we’ve had cats move their litters under here. There is a gap between the stairs and the basement wall that even the skinnier adult cats can fit through, and I believe the stairs are hollow underneath. In fact, this is where we caught David and Keith, mostly because their eyes were so infected, they couldn’t see us to run away. Their sibling managed to keep going under the stairs and we were never able to get her. Rosencrantz then moved her out of there completely, and into the junk pile, hence Junk Pile’s name.

So, was it a kitten? Or…

When I got to the steps, there was nothing there, so I moved the branches of the mock orange to see if there were any kittens behind the steps.

Instead, I found a large hole!

Yup. A woodchuck had made a den here.

There wasn’t even the telltale pile of dirt, like the one in the garden.

Not. Impressed.

I grabbed our jug of critter repellent, which was almost empty, and simply dumped it into the opening. Then I refilled the jug with water. As I came back, as saw one of the little woodchucks running away and around the back of the house.

Because this is right up against the house, we can’t just flood the opening, but I did pour a couple of jugs of water down the hole. I also blocked it as much as I could with some scrap pieces of wood, for now.

For this one, once it’s clear, I think we will be gathering as many small rocks as we can to dump into the opening, then top it off with soil. It’s going to be difficult, with the mock orange in the way.

And we’re all out of strong smelling soap and hot spicy things.

While watering near the old kitchen garden, I could smell the soap from a distance. Checking the beds with the soap shavings, they seemed to have no new damage.

However, the end of the beet bed neared the house, where we had never had critter damage before, was now kibbled on. Not much. This area did get black pepper, so maybe that discouraged more damage.

Before heading into the house, I checked some other stuff, including the potatoes my daughter had just watered.

I found this.

Four potato bags against the fence were damaged.

I at first thought it could be that kittens had started rolling in the bags or something, but …

… no kitten would be eating potato leaves!

Off everything we’ve been trying to grow this year, nothing has been thriving as much as the potatoes, so this is particularly frustrating!

Since taking this photo, I went back and unrolled the bags to their full height. They are tall enough that it should keep the critters out.

I am not a happy camper!!!

The Re-Farmer

This is why.

You see this?

This is why I’m paranoid about tires.

Actually, I’m paranoid about vehicle break downs and troubles in general, but especially about tires.

My mother’s car got all new tires after we didn’t hit a deer, a couple of winters ago, and drove through a ditch, instead. With how infrequently my mother’s car is used, they are still in very new condition. In fact, the coloured markings on them haven’t worn off yet!

I have no idea what I could have hit that caused this! I hadn’t reached even 5 miles from home when it blew.

This is my best guess.

Every winter, as the snows melt off the gravel roads, the surface gravel is mostly gone, and a lot of rocks start protruding. These tend to be very rounded rocks, not angular ones, but sometimes they end up sticking out quite far. Because of the direction I was going, I took a different route to get to the highway. It added an extra mile of gravel road, and the final two miles are a smaller road than the one we usually take to get to the highway. (This route has the added bonus of us not having to drive past our vandal’s place.) It was a rough ride, and though I drove slower and tried to avoid the rocks, I did hit some. My mother’s car is very light in the back, so I was feeling every bump more than with our van, as it was.

However, it was about a mile and a half on the highway when it happened, and there was nothing on the highway for me to hit. I just suddenly started hearing the noise in the back, and immediately pulled over. I didn’t even feel anything different in how the car handled. At least, not with how quickly I pulled over.

After quickly messaging the family to let them know what happened, I called up CAA to get a tire change. I then spent the next 10-15 minutes, trying to explain to the person I was talking to, where I was. CAA, of course, wants an address. I had none. There was nothing but trees around me. I finally got out to see if what may have been a driveway up ahead had a marker number (I couldn’t actually see one, and they are supposed to be highly visible, which means the driveway was likely to an unoccupied piece of land). As I got out, I was able to see there was actually a road behind me. It took a couple of minutes to walk close enough to be able to read the road number.

The poor woman on the phone just could not find me. She couldn’t find our little hamlet. She couldn’t find the provincial route number it’s on. She was using Google Maps, so I tried giving her the names of larger towns in the area. Every now and then, she’s say, “near [suburb near the city, an hour’s drive away]?” or “near [small town I know the name of, couldn’t tell anyone where it us, other than “somewhere north of us”]?” The road number I gave her did not come up for her at all, as if it didn’t exist.

I swear, it was like trying to explain to a delivery company, how to find the farm!

Eventually, she had enough information to give to a driver and told me it would take about an hour for them to arrive.

An hour???

That done, I messaged my family, asking someone to come with the van. My younger daughter has her license, but with all the crap going on right now, she has not been able to book the 2 hours of driver’s training she needs to do, before she can take her a road test for her full license. Which meant my husband had to accompany her for the drive.

My husband, who has been having extremely bad pain days for the past couple of weeks.

My husband, whose walker is now kept in the sun room, where it is easier for him to get in and out through the doors. Where Ginger is camped out right now.

He didn’t even bring a cane! Not that it mattered. We keep several canes in the van, and there’s at least one in my mother’s car. We collect canes! 😀

While I was waiting, I got a call from the driver, much sooner than expected. He asked some more questions about where I was. Since he’s actually from the area, I could tell him some land marks (you know that radio tower? I’m looking at it right now.) that he knew. He arrived not long after my husband and daughter did.

I would really like to invest in the tools he had! Especially the jack. The tire was changed in almost no time at all. The little jack that came with the car would have taken three times as long, just to lift the car.

Once he had the tire off, we could see the damage, and I was just amazed!! I was half expecting to see a piece of glass or something (I’d seen some on the shoulder as I walked to read the road sign for CAA).

My daughter and I were talking about how these were quite new tires, so wear and tear can’t be blamed. He took a closer look and said he thought the tire might have been defective.

The spare tire is the little donut, not a full size tire, so I drove home at almost half speed, with the flashers on, with my husband and daughter following behind.

Because at this point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the spare tire went flat or something. :-/

Once we got home, I still wanted to run my errands, but I decided to go to town, rather than the small city I was originally planning to. That allowed me to swing by the garage and talk about bringing my mother’s car in.

I’m bringing it in tomorrow afternoon.


First the cat, now my mother’s car? What more can go wrong?

Never mind. I don’t want to know. The list would be too long! 😀

The Re-Farmer


I took my mother’s car out to run some errands. This just happened.

I am now on the side of the road, waiting for CAA.

It was very difficult to explain to the person how to find me. She couldn’t even find out little hamlet on Google maps.

I have no idea what I hit to cause a flat.


The Re-Farmer

Are you kidding me??

It’s past 1 am as I write this, but I just had to.

I went down into the old basement to treat the hot water tank with hydrogen peroxide before going to bed. This is what I found.

It’s leaking!

(That ring of minerals on the concrete is not new; it’s been there since the last time we had issues.)

We don’t go into the old basement often (and with the cats, we’ve put all the most breakable stuff into the old basement and blocked off the opening between the two basements, so there was no chance of kittens falling into the sump pump reservoir or otherwise hurting themselves). The last time anyone went down there, that I can remember, was my daughter, the last time the tank was treated. I called her over to see, and confirmed it wasn’t leaking the last time she was down there.

In trying to see where it was leaking it appeared to be coming from the bottom access panel, too. So we opened it up.

Yup. It’s been reaching that high!!

We’ve left the panel off. Tomorrow, I will call the number on the tank to talk about getting a replacement under warranty.


For those who are new to the blog, when we first moved here, this place still had the tank that was installed when my dad got the well dug near the house and installed running water. He got the tank second hand. When cleaning up the basements, I found the old warranty certificate and bill of sale for it, dated 1963, if I remember correctly.

It died shortly after we moved in.

Long story short, we went without hot water until we could afford to get a plumber to replace the tank for us.

That worked out well for a while, until the water started to get hotter and hotter, all on its own. We called the plumber and he changed the thermostat, but that’s when we discovered that it had started leaking at the bottom. When he opened the bottom panel, he found the insulation saturated with water.

Not long after that, we lost hot water completely.

We then had issues with discovering the local hardware store it was purchased at, not doing warranty replacements. I tried working with the company directly before finally finding a branch someplace else that had would honor the warranty. We then had to get the plumber back to install it for us, and it’s been working fine ever since. The only issue is one we’ve had since replacing the original tank; the hot water would start to get a sulfur smell. Every month or so, we would drain the tank a bit, then use the vacuum created to suction hydrogen peroxide through a hot water tap in what used to be the laundry sink. It needs to sit for at least 4 hours, so we would do it before bed, so the water could be used in the morning.

It’s been about 1 1/2 years since that tank was replaced under warranty. And not it’s happening again.

What the heck is going on? How does a second hand tank last for nearly 40 years, but new tanks aren’t even making it 2 years?

But at least we still have hot water. I guess it’s a good thing it started visibly leaking this time, before we started having problems. We don’t have the water getting super hot, like the tank started having issues last time. It’s “just” leaking.

This is ridiculous!

The Re-Farmer

Are you kidding me?

There is a reason I’m paranoid about vehicles, but really???

When I was driving to town, then my mother’s, then home again, the van was doing just fine. I drove into the yard to unload, then left the van there until it was time to pick up my daughter from work. The giant puddles of water are smaller than they were, but it’s still really muddy.

In fact, I could feel the van sinking in the mud as I drove through the yard gate on the way out. There are going to be some serious ruts to try and fix when things are finally dried out.

The van seemed to have trouble in the mud, and I still felt a sort of … sluggishness… as I drove to the gate. As I went through, I found myself thinking, did I hear a noise? What was that? Hmm… not hearing anything anymore.

I left early so I could play a bit of Pokemon Go and top up the gas tank. With gas prices so low, I’ve been keeping full every chance I can.

Playing Pokemon Go means driving to different spots where I can park safely for a bit, spin some stops and catch some Pokemon. For the most part, the van seemed to be fine, but every now and then, I’d hear… something. Or the van would feel… odd. Particularly when I made a left turn into the gas station, but it didn’t seem to be there when I made a right turn to leave.

By this time, my paranoia meter was in high gear!!

It wasn’t until I was driving into the pharmacy that it really kicked in. I was making a left turn at an intersection, with an immediate left turn to get into the parking lot, so basically I was making a giant U-turn. As I was turning, there was a most definite and unequivocal knocking, and a matching vibration. Once parked, I walked around the van, trying to see what might be making the noise, but could see nothing.

When my daughter joined me and we started to leave the parking lot, the knocking noise was there, and I was starting to feel a shudder. By this time, I was able to pin it down to the front driver’s side tire area.

As we drove the next few blocks, without any turns, we could still hear the knocking, though not as much as while turning. Instead of making our usual turn to go home, I drove straight to the garage. It was closed, of course, but where else was I to go?

My daughter and I got out and tried to see what might be making the noise. No luck. So I phoned the mechanic, knowing that the business number was his cell phone. Thankfully, he answered, even though he was at home. I told him what was going on (and he remembered our vehicle). Unfortunately, he was going to be closed until Tuesday, since it’s Easter weekend. That’s the earliest he could order parts. Would I be able to leave the van? Could someone come and pick us up in my mom’s car? Yes, he remembered her car, too!

I haven’t driven my mom’s car since I drove it home from the garage, last time. The differential is still making a noise, and while he recommended driving it for about 100-150km. He’d done a flush and the noise should have stopped, but perhaps the fresh lubricant needed to work its way into the nooks and crannies. I didn’t want to drive if when I had someplace specific to go, so it just didn’t happen. In fact, with my daughter’s reduction in shifts and reduced need to run errands, and not even using it to drive my mother around lately, I was seriously considering suspending the insurance. The only reason it hasn’t been done is because I wasn’t sure how the insurance office is doing things right now, and if I could do it over the phone.

Now, I’m glad I never got around to it.

While figuring out whether it was worth my trying to drive it home, he suggested I drive it around the block and see how the van behaved, then call him back.

I made it to the grocery store parking lot, across the street.

The knocking noise kicked in as soon as I took a turn, and the van started to shudder. I pulled into a parking spot and called him back, telling him it was now even worse. We spoke for a bit, and he told me that once I worked out how to get home, call him to let him know where I was hiding the key.

I called my husband to drive my mother’s car and come get us. He can barely get in and out of the vehicle and it’s incredibly painful for him, but we didn’t have much choice.

Then I drove the van back to the garage. By this point, the knocking was even louder, and I could feel the entire van shuddering. It was definitely coming from around that front driver’s side tire.

So now that van sits at the garage, waiting for Tuesday. My hope is that it’s just some mud that got into something it shouldn’t have, and that it’ll be an easy fix.

Thankfully, we don’t have to drive anywhere for another week, though my daughter’s work is going to be doing some changes with schedules. If she does end up getting new shifts, I can only hope it won’t be until after the van is fixed!

Then, maybe I’ll leave my Mom’s car there again, so he can check that noise from the differential again. :-/


I really don’t need this!!

The Re-Farmer

Morning progress

We’ve had a bit of progress regarding our septic pump problems so far.

This morning, bathing involved using basins, then tossing the water outside. Meanwhile, I did my rounds, as usual.

Check this out.

See that dark spot in the middle of the bird bath?

That’s water that isn’t frozen! 😀

Some of the water that got into the basement drained into the sump pump reservoir enough to trigger it. Which means that, outside, there’s a melted patch in the snow.

The cats like it.

Beep Beep tucked herself right in there, and Two-Face came over to investigate. Beep Beep didn’t like that!

Who won?

Two-Face won! 😀

I also called the septic company again. While talking to the guy, he asked where we were, including our driveway marker number.

I drew a complete blank. I couldn’t remember our own driveway marker number! I could sort of remember it, but not really…

Only later, when driving past it and looking, did I realize I had the numbers reversed. The cross road number is at the beginning, not the end.

Still, he had no problem finding us. He’s been here a few times before. I had time to drive my daughter to work, get some cash to pay him, and even start shoveling a bit before he arrived. Thankfully, that big, heavy truck can go through pretty deep snow without getting stuck, though I did shovel a couple of paths while I was there.

While he was pumping out the tank, I talked to him about what was happening. He could see no problems off hand. I even remembered to ask about the float, since one possibility is that the float was stuck, but it was working fine.

So that is all done.

I later went into the basement, which is drying quite nicely right now. One of the things I noticed last night was that the old laundry sink was full of water, so I made a point of checking it.

Sure enough, it was slowly draining.

Gosh, that’s disgusting.

Now, with the tank empty, we actually need to get water in there for the weight. While I was downstairs, my husband flushed the toilet – and I saw water burbling up into the sink!

Nothing came out of that pipe, though.

So what it looks like is that water first started backing up into this sink, while the laundry was being done. Then, when it filled to a certain point, it started backing up out of the pipe, instead.

If there is a clog causing this, it’s somewhere near the pump.

But why would a clog in the pipe cause the pump to stop working? It gets triggered by the float outside.

I don’t know, but when my brother gets here to replace the well pump, we’ll be able to look more closely.

Fingers crossed, it’s just a relatively minor fix that we can take care of ourselves!

The Re-Farmer


This evening, I got a call from my brother, saying he would be coming over tomorrow to install the new well pump he found for us. Yay! He would need to pick something up along the way, though, and could I get measurements of the pipes for him?

So I went into the basement to see if I could get that for him and…

There was water, all over half the basement.


The side of the basement where the laundry used to be has a drain in the floor, but it was covered over with plastic, so I took that out and water started to slowly drain into there. Unfortunately, there was also mostly dissolved toilet paper in the water (no solids, thankfully), and I didn’t want that getting in there. So we had to be careful.

Where, however, did the water come from?


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