Re: [gardeners] Sunday in the garden -- long

penny x stamm (
Sun, 5 Dec 1999 23:49:22 -0500

Nice mild, sunny weather out today.  The previous two days we 
got a full cloud cover, so today was truly a joy  <g>  and I mean it! 

The personality problems, however, very much got in the way. 
Everyone knows that I am a fairy angel, and that Jimmie is a big
eater, prone to stumbling,  who thinks -- and also drives -- like
he is still 17-y-o.  T'aint so, Magee.

OK:  gorgeous day it was!  My occasional garden helper, Marco, 
I picked up at the station at 8:05am. It was his task to finish the
leaf removal and laying down of acid fertilizer. My job was to 
finish pruning down the rose bed to 18", and to make a thorough 
cleanup of the buckwheat hull mulch underneath.  Since Jim had 
fallen 5 times in 8 weeks, and had further injured his shoulder -- 
remember,  he also broke his hand -- I only asked him to rake up 
the leaves in the veggie garden, and coil up the soaker hose for the
winter. I mean, after all, with my own eyes I saw him lift up the couch 
last Thursday, and move it a foot out from the wall -- so I did suspect 
that he could manage the bit of raking.....  

At 1:00pm my #1 daughter, Lee,  arrived from Connecticut, chauffered 
here by her boyfriend, Wayne.  Lee's computer had totally bombed 
and she HAD to use Daddy's computer. But Wayne can't stand sitting
around doing nothing, so I put him to work spreading the fall fertilizer 
on the lawn. A veritable beehive it was... And then then telephone 
repair man got here. Our 2nd line had been out for 4 days. And the 
car battery was on charge -- someone had not shut the door properly
two days earlier.....  

Well, Jim's job was finished, and he retired to the den to read the
Sunday paper. Wayne picked up a rake without being asked, and
removed all the fallen leaves from my large flower bed, and pulled 
out whatever dead plants were still in evidence. Then Jimmie burst 
thru the cellar doorway, announcing that Marco should be digging
the hole searching for the drain pipe which caused our cellar to
be flooded during the last big storm. Now I knew that we had 
discussed this porblem in depth, even with diagrams, about a 
month ago, and Jim's final decision was that we might as well do
absolutely nothing about the drain, on the grounds that only once
in ten years would we get that much rainwater...  But there was no
use reminding him of that decision, for he cannot remember such
conversations, so I brought  Marco over to start digging. Fine -- 
just go down 40 inches, said Jimmie. I did not comment. Doesn't 
have to be wide, just 40 inches deep. And Jim said to dig HERE, 
while I said to dig THERE. No, no, said Jim, can't you see..? In
line with that  downspout. No, No, said I, in line with that cellar
drain!  Can't you ever remember what we've discussed.? asked
Jim. Wha...?? That's MY line.....  So I had Marco dig Jimmie's
hole. Nothing there. No clay pipe, nothing.  Then I had him dig
my hole, and eureka!  he reached both a north/south pipe and
an east/west tie-in, as I had anticipated. HOWEVER, uh-uh, I
reasoned, this clay pipe is obviously hooked in to that other 
downspout, and probably to the other two nearby. Betcha it's got
nothing to do with the cellar drain .....  I whistled for Jim to come
on down, and he said let's fill the cellar drain up with water, and 
when I remove the plug, you two can listen for the rush of water
thru that exposed clay pipe.  We did exactly that, and there was
NO water going thru.  Then Jim refilled the drain, and Marco 
stuck his head right upide down into the hole he had dug, to listen
hard for water, while i stuck a 4ft  1" rigid hose on the pipe, to act
as a stethoscope, and then Jimmie removed the plug so the water 
would course thru. Nothing. No sound at all. Ahha..... that brings
us back to MY theory that the drain connects somewhere under
the back lawn, and doggone if we hadn't sealed off that connection
2 years ago, in an effort to lessen the water running thu our back 
wall and into our neighbor's cellar!  I've been urging for 6 months
that we either dig up the back yard and find that connection, or else
just call in our fireman-backhoe man to install another dry well. 
Jim thought I was mad.  I really don't think so -- we'll just wait and 
see what happens next. 

The hole Marco dug measures about 16" x 18". Jim wants to 
"experiment" with the clay pipe.  He wishes to drill a hole in it, and
then observe if water is going thru. I keep on saying Jim, for
heaven's sake, there is NO water going thru!  Please, do NOT
break a hole in that clay pipe!  And tempers flared, got out of hand,
and he came storming out with a big piece of plywood to cover
the hole, so no one would fall in. Marco said perfect place for the
racoons.  Wayne said those clay pipes are buried 3 ft down 
because when it freezes, they break.  Jim said they only break if
they are filled with water or wet soil. I said big flower pots on a
patio fracture in the winter weather. Jim said that's because 
they're full of soil and water, doggoneit!  So Jim stormed inside, 
I sent Marco back to his acid fertilizer, Waybe went on to find more
flower beds to rake, and I decided to remove the big piece of
plywood from the top of the hole, and instead to stick a round
garbage pail down in there, just about filling up the entire space!
And in case the racoons thought gee whiz, this homeowner is
rather naive, I jammed four 2x4s into the corner, making the pail
relatively tight.    

The rain - and perhaps snow - are expected here by noon, on
Monday. That hole is going to fill up, and will take weeks to 
dissipate thru the solid clay soil down there. And the cold wave 
approaches from the west...  and the fibrous roots of the 
adjacent upright yew tree are exposed. Not for all the tea in
China can we replace that tree with one the same size, when
this one drops dead from exposure..  and if the racoons don't find
that hole, then the mice will, for I flatly refuse to research any more
running water sounds during a snow storm!  

At dinner Jim said, if your theory is correct, then we might as well
get another dry well installed now. And I sucked in my breath and
v-e-r-y softly I answered, yes dear.  

Penny, NY
>Miz Anne is decorating the house and grounds for the holidays at the
>moment and the dog and I are in hiding. Bah! Humbug! The whole house
>will stink of cedar and holly for the next few weeks. She's even got
>some tallow tree limbs with the white berries on them to mix in with 
>other stuff and there's some sort of plant in the front with red
>berries, not a holly, that has lost its berries now. I can say that I
>prefer her natural decorations over the many lights and plywood 
>of some of our neighbors.
>Hope all are enjoying the weekend and their gardens. Life is good.