Clark Hollow Ramblings: Good times outweigh bad — unless you’re a certain hog

I hope the terrible heat hasn’t been too big of a problem for you. It has about done me in. I try to do a few things outside early in the day, and then retreat to a shower and the air conditioning. I did get a chance to get my potatoes out of the ground, and my onions. Levi Atkins told me once to never let the July rain fall on your onions. I only missed it by a day or two, but have enough in the freezer to last for a good long time.

I also dug my potatoes, and was glad that I did. Last year we lost about a third of the crop to voles and ground mice, using mole runs and eating into the side of my spuds. No problems this year. We made enough to keep us going well into next year.

Linda has canned green beans twice and will have again by the time you read this. And the new homegrown tomatoes have been scrumptious. We have had so many BLTs that, somewhere, and extra hog will have to die just to keep us in bacon. A small price, it seems to me.

The berry crop just keeps on giving. Our new black raspberries are finished, but the jars of preserves are on the shelf and they are the best. The blackberries are outdoing themselves and the big (8 cups of berries) cobbler that my bride made was incredibly good, with a little sweet milk. I have already put in my request for a repeat and the berry patch is cooperating.

The bluegrass band I work with played for the seniors at the Fauquier Fair. It was outside under a tent, and it was sweltering. The troopers that they are, the seniors seemed to have a good time. I was drenched by the time I got home. We had some guests in from New Jersey and after getting back from taking them to catch the train in Culpeper, my bride took some canning jars to the basement. She came back up and said you better get down there.

The line to the septic tank had backed up into the basement and pushed the top off the floor drain, and I was greeted with raw sewage on the basement floor. I worked half the night with sewer snakes and reversing the lines on the shop vacuum to make a blower, and was able to get it open enough to get water through. And I will repeat the warning you often hear on TV: Do not try this at home!

The next morning I dug down through the front yard to the top of the septic tank. It had been some time since it was pumped, and I was pretty sure that was the problem.

Wrong again. The tank was fine. With the help of a friend we were able to get a sewer jet up the line to the house, and after much running of water, determined the line was open. I will have the tank pumped just because it is already open, but Linda and I are very careful about what goes down the drain, and it really was fine. We are now waiting for the septic pump truck and hope to put this behind us.

It was an awful mess and a lot of back breaking work. I had to form and pour a new concrete top for the septic tank opening, as the old one was broken into four pieces. There are some things about home ownership that try your patience. At least we didn’t have to resort to porta-potties, and I am thankful for that. Stay out of the heat, my friends — fortunately it’s gotten a bit cooler this week — and enjoy the fruits of your perseverance. God bless.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 150 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.