I have spring fever, and can't wait for the snow to melt. It seems like this winter has been dragging on and on. I think it was a month ago when our toilet stopped flushing ... Not a good sign, when we are so new to all of these things. Jim and the boys did all kinds of things to figure out what was wrong, using a snake, garden hose -- you name it -- to see if something was blocking the pipe to the tank. We had the tank pumped out last May, so we didn't think that could be the problem.
Friends came over to see if they could think of anything that could be wrong. They brought over some type of equipment that is used for blockages, and it seemed to help. However, when one of the guys went out to open the cover in the area where the sewage would head to the drain field, they discovered that it was frozen! Now what? Jim contacted a guy that pumps out septic tanks, and he said he would come out the next day and do the job. I guess there have been other places out here with the same problem. We've had some very cold nights (with wind chills of -40 degrees) and the days not being much better, with not enough snow cover. I guess that makes the frost go deeper than we would like. We also should have laid more hay across the drain field last fall, as it probably mulched into the ground.
Andrew had to use the snowblower to blow enough snow out of the way so the man's truck could get to the cleanout (sorry, I'm not good with proper names of things), and after about 3 tries the truck made it up the slight incline. I find it interesting that out here it's okay to take the stuff and spread it onto any available field. We had to make sure the guy wouldn't get stuck wherever we wanted the sewage spread, so Jim had to drive around a bit to find a good spot for the deed. After all that, we were charged $95.00 -- his winter rate. We breathed a sigh of relief, and hoped for an early spring to thaw things up and get the septic system running again like it should.
Well, this weekend the toilet once again stopped flushing. There's a pipe opening just outside the bathroom window (we are still living in the basement), and we've discovered that if we take the cap off and pour some hot water down there, it will help to get the toilet flushing again. Jim went through all kinds of contortions to figure out how to do our own pumping, and got some equipment all set up. However, whatever he did wouldn't siphon anything out. His next thought was to use an extra sump pump we have, but decided to wait it out a few days and see if something would resolve itself. At least the toilet is flushing again, but we are being careful with it.
I have discovered that one very important personality trait to have when living in the country is flexibility, and the ability to roll with the punches. Another important trait to develop is a good sense of humor.