Farm Follies

For All that is Good and Hole-y

My husband loves to dig holes. “I can see my progress,” he says when I ask him just what it is about hole digging that he so likes.

I think about this often as I mow our unending lawns. We have about an acre of them and during the summer the things never stop growing. Xandy HATES mowing the lawn (yes, I get the irony), which I fortunately do not. I, too, like to see the progress as I go from lush jungle to finely trimmed golf green. OK, if you have been by the house you know that our lawn looks more like the hay-field across the street than a golf green, but you get the picture.

Anyway, back to the holes. There are many holes to be dug on the farm. Most of them are due to fallen fencing from our barbed wire fence that is probably as old as our 100-year-old farm. Sometimes, though, the holes are for different purposes.

One such purpose happened a few weeks ago when I noticed a horrendous stench and volcanic-like gurgling emanating from our upstairs bathroom. Both could only mean one thing: full septic tank.

“When’s the last time it was emptied?” I asked my father-in-law when he arrived later.

“Emptied? We never emptied that thing. My father’s theory was stir in a box of RidX every now and again and you’ll be fine.” He chuckled as he mimed stirring the pot like some sort of noxious witches brew.

“UGH! Have you ever stirred it then?”

“Well, no, that would just be silly. But don’t worry, that tank is not that old.”

I knew “not that old” was all a matter of perception in this family, as our “not that old” tractor is a circa 1982. “How old is it?”

“Oh, I suppose about fifteen or twenty years old.”

FIFTEEN OR TWENTY YEARS??? For any of you non-septic tank owners, tanks are supposed to be emptied every three to five. If not, let’s just say you might end up with a wonderfully soupy manure pond in your back yard.

He then went on to tell me that there were actually three septic tanks in our back yard.


So first Mark and then Xandy set to digging — because not only has the tank never been emptied, Mark was not quite sure where the damn thing was. He chose an area dug for a while, and when he couldn’t find the tank moved a few inches and dug some more.

“It’s around here somewhere,” he told his son, and left him to dig.

Xandy was finally able to find the tank about four feet or so down. We both commented on what “six-feet-under” must look like and were pretty happy that we weren’t grave-diggers. Xandy did tell Kitt that he was looking for dinosaur bones when she asked, but all he found was an old toy matchbox from his childhood, which made me doubt my father-in-law’s twenty year timeline.

After even more digging, Xandy finally found one of the two tank covers. We learned when the tank was emptied (don’t worry I won’t talk about that God-awful stench) that he had uncovered the wrong tank cover, so that night he set off to digging again.

Here is the hole:


At least that is one less chunk of lawn that I have to mow for a while.

Ah, the wonders of home ownership.

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