Friday 27 October 2017

Pods and Pump Out

A size-able machine for manouvring on your precious
mown grass. 
Friends of the Blog will know that I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a man to do the pump-out on our septic tank. Probably not the best subject for a blog-post (I hope you've had your dinner!)  but a vital part of servicing a small-holding in the West of Ireland, where no mains sewage system comes within tens of miles of us. Also a service not met by some dinky 'Council' contractor with a small truck and garden-friendly equipment.

The huge tank and massive pipe make the "tiny" septic tank
 look really silly!
Here it is some local Agricultural Contractor who will turn up with a huge 4WD tractor and a slurry tank capable of taking massive doses of cattle slurry from the underground tanks below the big "slatted floor" of a winter cattle-shed. These rigs look to be 30-40 feet long (must admit, didn't actually measure it!) and need BIG spaces to manouvre in and to turn around.

For the first time in 5 years we can see the tank empty. The guy
also advises us to fit a 'T' and an up-pipe to the end of that exit
pipe you can see in the pic. 
When you book one and start to worry about this, you realise the lack of wisdom in all your decisions to put a rinky-dink gateway here which is OK for your Fiat Panda and a 6' by 4' 2-pig trailer, and a fence to contain your geese, or a few new trees planted just so. There is also the issue of the guy turning the rig round on your precious grass just so close to your pond. I ended up ripping out some fences and gateways just to get the guy to the tank.

Ah well, he came, he saw, he managed to turn the 'rig' with only one tractor tyre dipped into the pond (!)  and he sucked us all up. His huge tank/pump did such a good job on the 'water' that we might have been left with all the floating solids sitting on the sediment, but the guy turned the pump the other way and whooshed a great dollop of the 'water' back down into our tank to stir it all up and then sucked up the loosened up mixture.

Just the one tyre dipped into the pond.
The tank, we can now see, is a good solidly built sound affair, about 6 feet by 4 and 5'9" deep. Our man advised us to enhance the outflow with a vertical up-pipe and a 'T' - that way apparently the floating solids cannot block the outflow because the outflow draws 'water' from half way up the tank. We live and learn.

The other interesting aspect of this to us was that you are expected (most people.....) to have a place for the guy to empty the tank - a handy chunk of bog for example. They do not normally get asked to take it away and will charge you more for that add-on. Well, we have no such handy bog-field and I did not want 4000 litres of human "waste" spread all over the veg patch or the sheep grazing (even assuming the rig could get access). I happily paid the extra and watched the half-full tanker trundle off down the road. The guy was actually from nearby village Gortaganny and was off to a wedding after my job. He'd already met his friends for Breakfast in Balla-D where they'd joked with him that he better wash the tanker down before he arrived at the Ceremony. A nice lad. We will definitely use him again if we need someone, but we hope the tank with it's newly enhanced outflow will go another 6 years first!

In some lights this gnarly old bit of hawthorn reminds me of a
spooky dog. 
Meanwhile, while I'm on the entertainment value of Septic Tank emptying, I thought you might appreciate a list of our newest version of 'entertainment' out here where we have chosen to eschew TV, where we've watched all the 'old TV' we felt like buying as boxed sets, where we can't reliably get Radio 4 and we cannot get anything 'big' through the rubbish broad-band. That is the relatively new medium of Pod-Casts, or "pods".

We still follow, to a degree, the American politics pods from outlets such as Crooked Media, 538 and NPR (National Public Radio) but after the initial excitement of Trump's coming to power, these have waned a bit because nothing much is happening.

Baby Horse Chestnut doing its Autumn thing
We are glued, currently, to the Guardian's Brexit one, "Brexit Means" which seems to be standing aghast and watching with increasing horror as the Brexit process stutters and stalls and comes unravelled. The most recent, which covered farming, was truly scary.

Misty Autumn Morning
We also enjoy a series of pods from a pair of friends who cover modern Irish culture and direction by also describing the history of these aspects and how Ireland arrived at its current position. The most recent covered the very controversial abortion issue and the planned Referendum next year to "Repeal the 8th" (Amendment to the Constitution).

I am glued to a farming one by a guy (Will Penri Evans) who farms in Wales and who is on a mission to 'sell' farming to the wider public as a good thing. He gets a different guest on each week for an hour long interview, the guests being the great/good/influential from UK (and overseas) agriculture, particularly when they have a Twitter presence, most recently Tom Edwards who has, over the last few years, set up a company making a 'craft' gin (Warner and Edwards Rhubarb Gin)

Finally, there is a nice one I have only recently locked on to, done via Radio Cardiff by a friend I have 'met' through the Irish Smallholders' Twitter account. She is either Helen Joy or Valerie Chicken (according to taste) and the pods are called "World of Joy". The most recent one covered attempts to re-vitalise the rural economy in the Vale of Glamorgan.

If you fancy any of those, be our guests.

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