Monday, June 29, 2015

Unclogging the drain

 Isolated thunderstoms ... pretty to watch, fun to photograph...

 ...and kind of terrifying when they isolate themselves over your ranch
in the middle of the night and the culvert clogs up and the water is a foot deep in the yard
and you don't have any sandbags and there's too much lightning to go outside
 and dig trenches and besides who wants to trade their pajamas for
a rain slicker and boots at one in the morning? That's what happened Friday.

 So I went outside first thing Saturday morning to unclog the drain.

It was working just fine until Friday. Apparently you're supposed to clean out the sediment
once in awhile, preferably before a flash flood. Live and learn.

Minnie: Dig faster. It's about to rain again.

The shovel was too big, the pry bar was too small, but my arms were just right
and eventually the clog was cleared. 

The chickens assumed that I re-dug the trench for their benefit.
Fresh dirt = newly uncovered bugs = happy chickens - tired ditch digger / square roots
of lots of bushes and you'll understand why I took a nap Saturday afternoon.

I lined the entrance and exit with rock, optimistically thinking it might trap dirt
and prevent future clogs.

By this point, all the mud I removed from the pipe was now on me.

Just as I finished putting away all my tools, the rains came again, 
but not enough to flood the corral and test the trench.

With any luck, it will work as well as it did originally during the next deluge,
which might be every day this week. Can't wait.


  1. Wow...that's a lot of rain! Looks like it's working good now. Great pics!

  2. Monsoon season is here. I hope the fix works. I don't envy you on that task. The rainstorms bring an amazingly strong flow of waater.One summer my rain barrels connecting pipe broke and my railroad tie retaining wall holding up the soil directly below my house collapsed under the force of the water. Panic! I believed with the next rainstorm the house's foundation would collapse. I fixed the pipe but didn't fix the retaining wall completely for at least 2 years after I managed to hurt my shoulder badly lifting the heavy railroad ties by myself. Stupid me. Enjoy the beauty of summer!

  3. A silt trap might help. I find that when the rocks are above the bottom of the culvert, it impedes the flow of water when it is low. I get a flood plain until the water can go over the rocks. The silt trap keeps the silt out of the pipe and someplace you can muck out with a shovel while standing up. It isn't a purchased thing, it is just a depression in front of the pipe that is lower than the pipe what will let all the heavy material drop into it instead of the pipe.

  4. Ahhhh----life in the country. I admire your self-sufficiency. All this rain has given you a lush and beautiful "natural" landscape.

  5. I love a good deluge in the summer.

  6. Eric and I have been digging a 1,000 foot trench for electricity and water to get to the barn. We rented a trencher, but it is backbreaking work. Hand work has become the majority of work done. Moving rocks, digging rocks out, moving rocks---did I mention rocks? Sometimes hands are just the best tools for the job. In your case, adding more rocks to your drainage ditch will keep you from having to do this job over and over. In Texas we call it a swale.

  7. I used to have to do this all of the time. I would take a broom handle and poke it into the mud a bunch of times to loosen it up and then take a hose with a pressure nozzle and blast it out. Works better if you keep up with it at yearly.

  8. Utterly deserved nap!! (if you're of the kind that needs a reason for taking a nap). I'm just glad that you didn't dig another deep, narrow hole and in the process got your insides all tangled&twisted again. (No doubt in my mind that that's how it happened, since I very nearly did the same to myself when madly digging a huge grave for my huge heartdog.)