Here are the boys! They believe that they own this property — you can ask them. But first, let me tell you about Paul and Rob, actual people who came out to execute the septic feasibility study:
Paul arrived by way of a flatbed truck on which was a little caterpillar-type backhoe. Paul is somewhere between 48 and 102, hard to say. Hasn’t shaved for a couple of days, darkly tanned, laughing eyes. Farmhand type: skinny. Super friendly and owner of a sly, smart tongue. He set off on his rig up the hill and negotiated all the ruts and furrows on the now-hardened cow-trample in the lower, flood plain section. Across the gullies, no worries.
I was assigned the job of staying behind at the gate to flag down the county official, who would be testing the soil in the trenches that Paul would dig. Rob is also friendly, but after a few moments conversation, it’s clear he works with his head as well as with his hands. I immediately have lots of confidence in him. He drove off up the hill, I following on foot. Hmm. Quite a climb!
The day was warm and sunny. Paul had dug the first hole by the time I arrived up top, and Rob climbed down into it. He stabbed at the soil, holding a color chart to the bits of dirt he collected, and invited us to see what he was noticing. Good news, seems the clay layer is a couple of feet down under loam, which means “Go” on the drain field. (Apparently they don’t care what kind of dirt applies where the tank will be submerged.)
Rob is a musician, plays in a local group, so of course, we chatted about that. “Oh God, Mom,” Jenny moaned when I told her about the day. “Here you go. You’ll invite him to dinner. Why don’t you use our Black Butte place? Here, use Jenny’s room.” She never forgave me for recruiting a couple of additional brothers when Jan and Stephan came to live with us all those years ago. Jenny always makes me laugh.
When Rob went to his car to get the GPS instrument, he came back with his business card on which he’d printed out the names and locations of bands who play in the area. So nice. Maybe I will invite him to dinner.
Enter the cows into this story. The herd was out of sight, having set up camp in the lower pasture adjoining Muddy Creek, but a gang of four had stayed nearby to keep an eye on the proceedings. While Rob was busy with hole One, and Paul and moved on to dig hole Three, they saw their opportunity. A big pile of dirt! Hooray! They began their investigations. This involved testing the soil with the sides of their faces, rubbing their shoulders in it, trying to wallow. They pawed, nosed, using all their sensory equipment to determine if this was salt, perhaps? Some yummy grain? Water? What? Having satisfied themselves with respect to the new dirt, they wandered off and practiced their humping skills on one another. Good luck with that, guys. Guess no one’s told them the repercussions of that nasty little surgery they suffered when they were babies.
Paul dug five holes in all, variously spaced, and Rob did his science in each of them. All good for our chances of building the little farm house I mentioned in my first post. The one with the apple tree in the front yard? We have that nice feeling of having aced our first test. Still to come: a test of the old well and drilling for a new up at the site. But we were about to have the best luck possible in the form of our good friend, Gordon, who has against all sense and reason flung himself into the search for the plan for the house. A story for tomorrow.