Garden Logic: When Bad News Is Good News
Regular readers of this blog already know about my recent septic system problems (It’s Always Something). When the gentleman who pumped out the septic tank broke the news to me, he explained that there were two possible causes for the tank not draining properly. If I were lucky, I would get the good news that the problem was simply a clogged pipe from the tank to the distribution box and this would involve the relatively small expense and disruption of digging up and replacing the pipe. But, he warned, I might get the bad news that the leach field was no longer working properly; and this would involve the much greater expense and disruption of digging up and replacing the entire leach field.
The gardeners reading this will not be surprised that my view of good news and bad news was different from that of the septic tank servicer. Replacing the pipe might not be expensive or require much digging, but that excavation would include at least one flower bed (maybe two) and a big section of my back walkway. While replacing the leach field would be much more expensive and involve digging a much larger area, that area is all outside the current boundaries of my garden. I don’t think I’m the only gardener who would rather spend a big chunk of money than have to dig up flower beds and hardscape that took years to create!
I have now received the bad/good news. When the excavation contractor dug up the distribution box (which amazingly turned out to be located just outside the fence border), he found the “bad news” problem that the leach field is exhausted and will have to be replaced. Yesterday, the septic designer came, laid out the “footprint” for the new leach field, and declared that the tank and pipe would not have to be replaced. I was elated to hear that the solution to my septic system problems will be expensive but minimally disruptive to my garden! As an added bonus, the new leach field is being designed with a larger capacity to accommodate a new master bedroom and bath that I’ve been wanting to add.
Although the area to be excavated is outside my existing garden, providing access to that area will necessitate some garden disruption. A 6’ section of garden fence (closest to the distribution box and leach field) has had to come down for now, and some shrubs that separate the clothesline area from the area for the leach field will have to be moved temporarily. As an added precaution, I’ve removed all the plants I just planted in the fence border a few weeks ago to a temporary location on the other side of the house to keep them out of harm’s way.
As I report this good (according to my garden logic) news, I also want to take the opportunity to thank all the Blotanical friends whose support helped get me through the past week. I was amazed by the outpouring of sympathy and encouragement in response to my earlier post. Anna’s expression of sympathy made me feel less alone with this problem; Nell injected some much-needed humor into the situation; Deborah and Ellen commiserated by sharing some of their own “It’s Always Something” experiences; Praveshree, Grace, Amy and Teresa offered calming philosophical perspectives and Stopwatch Gardener even recommended a book for times like this. Several blogging friends complimented me on my walkway (Deborah, Grafixmuse, Rosey, Stopwatch Gardener) or my attitude (Noelle, Grace), and some (Mary Delle, Teza, Jim, Sylvana) offered hope that this disruption would provide the impetus for creating an even more inspired garden. Many years ago, someone gave me a plaque with the words “Friendship doubles our joy and divides our sorrow.” By that standard, Blotanical has proved itself a community of true friends. Thank you all!