Our friend J came out last Monday to install the drain field baffles and then backfill everything. I assumed all went well and picked up some seed on my way down Tuesday thinking I could get it spread on all of the bare soil and topped with straw to help keep erosion at bay. J was locking the gate when I drove up.
“There’s been a problem” said J as I walked up. My heart sank. It turns out J’s trackhoe broke down right after he started to backfill. A mobile tractor guy had been out earlier that day and after 6 hours and trips to a parts store a couple of hours away… thought it was fixed. Thirty minutes after the repair guy left it broke down again. Poor J! He had taken Monday off from work to finish this part of the job up, had to leave work early Tuesday to meet the repair guy and now he had to take another day off of work to [hopefully] get the trackhoe fixed and finish the backfilling.
Wednesday morning J and the repair guy showed up – another trip to yet another part store a few hours away and about 6 hours later the trackhoe was operational. It was pretty late in the day by then and with dusk coming on between 400 – 430 pm, I didn’t think J was going to get much done. The dry weather he was counting on was disappearing that night with rain in the forecast. Another project that was planned for completion during the summer was creeping into the wet, muddy days of November… It must be our thing.
I jumped in the trench with a shovel and the roll of CAUTION tape and nearly sunk in up to my knees! All of the water from the previous weekend rains had wreaked havoc on the open trenches. Although it was sunny and dry, water was still pouring down the hill. The septic line trenches and all around the tanks were filled with water. Unfortunately, the water coming from the west side of the curtain drain was perfectly lined up with the septic drain line and making matters worse.
The dirt was now heavy clay mud and it took so much more effort to shovel it in and lay the CAUTION tape. Hell, it took more effort to just take one step – the mud was so soupy in places it would suck your boot right off it you weren’t careful. I just kept telling myself I’m building character.
and hopefully some muscle.
and unfortunately some searing low back pain.
We hand shoveled dirt on the septic line about 6″ deep, then laid the tape. It was awful. It was hard. But it got done and J was able to backfill about 80% before it got too dark. He is a wizard with that machine. He came back Sunday and finished the backfilling (thanks goodness the rain let up for the afternoon), loaded his trackhoe up and headed off into the sunset. Turns out this was the last job for the trackhoe as S & J have closed their company and are selling off all of their heavy equipment. Another “sweet & sorrow” parting me thinks.
In the meantime, I did get the chicken manure/straw mix spread on my Cistern Garden beds, mixed my compost tea, neem oil and fish emulsion concoction and sprayed the fruit and nut trees, plus finished my rock border around the recently planted “roundabound” garden. No seeding though but all in all, a pretty productive mid-week visit.
M and I headed back down over the weekend and checked a few more things off of our to do list. M spread a truck load of gravel I had delivered while I was there mid-week. He rode his motorcycle down Friday night after work and did it in the dark with a headlamp and the tractor headlights. I was impressed!
We really need to dig in a swale to redirect that water coming out of the curtain drain – which is doing its job of keeping all of that water away from the barn and our future house site – but the ground is way too wet and muddy now so will have to wait until next summer. The next best thing we could think of to do was to put up a silt fence to try and redirect some of the water away from the bare soil.
We sprinkled about 8 bales of old hay on the bare soil but ran out of time before we could get it all covered. We will have to finish it up next trip down.
So the septic system is completed but we have nothing to hook up to it yet. We are planning on starting the farm prep area buildout next month – just as soon as we check off all of the existing items on the to do list.