Alders water woes

After an entire summer dealing with a wet mess in the backyard to install our Fence it’s time to fix the basement.

At first I thought it was the sewer, but now I’m pretty sure it has to do with the 70 year old basement draining system.  Notice the water comes from the left and goes down to I don’t know where.  I don’t see any ‘pipes’ in the sump pit which is about 15 feet away.

As far as I can tell the old ‘system’ is not really a french drain system.  It’s simply a floating concrete floor with a slight gap between the wall and the floor.  I’m not even sure how it gets from there to the sump pit.  I’m creating about 120 gallons per day even during a drought and more when it rains.  The Iron Ochre  creates a real mess and I need a new pump and check valve every couple of years.

Estimates to install a new french drain system for 1/2 the basement (the unfinished part) is about $7,000 but I’d love to just fix this if possible.

About Blue Rock Manor, Jim Durborow says:
“I used to trap Muskrats where you live in the FIfties, From the back of the houses on Alders to the othrer side of the tree just passed the basketball court was a swamp, It started where the last ranch is near thebasketball court. The stream,that runs through the woods, started somewhere near the church. It ran through the swamp. The area at the corner Median and Alders was swampy too.”

Update Friday December 7, 2018
The hole got clogged. Still no idea where the water comes from or where it goes. I’m using a camping shower pump to pump a gallon of water every 73 seconds out of the hole. It’s not really taking the level down but is keeping it from overflowing. A new one will be delivered Saturday, perhaps two pumps will get the level down a bit.

pumping the water
out it comes, a gallon every 73 seconds

The fact that the water is so clean still leads me to believe it’s spring water. Not sure how the builder tapped into the spring and I have a pipe discharging into this hole.

nice clean water

For 20 years this system has somehow worked. Last year I had a whole house humidifier installed which creates a lot of water which dumps into this hole. Perhaps the added amount of water did something to cause the spring discharge here to become more active. Perhaps the debris from the humidifier filter helped clog wherever this hole leads. Either way I hate the humidifier design.

I have plumbers and wet basement people coming early next week to let me know what they think about all of this.

Fence Timeline

From this before we started, an overgrown mess (May 7, 2018):

North West Side
North West side, & Bestsy
North Side
East Side
East Side

After we cleared the overgrowth (August 25, 2018):

west side facing east
south facing east->west
east side facing south (single gate)
se corner facing west
center facing se
center facing south

Trying to deal with the wet mucky mess I rented a tractor and took a week off of work (September 13, 2018):

I got stuck

Paco helped (September 21, 2018):

The fence was wet work (September 21, 2018)

I thought it was done (November 2, 2018) but the water came back. A cracked pipe from the sump pump helped add to the water

We got it done (September 22, 2018) and I finally spread some grass seed (November 9, 2018) just in time for the cold snap. The seed is sitting out there just waiting for some warm weather


2018-08-24 Fence Preparation

We’ve decided to have a fence installed in the backyard.  Here are some shots before we started:

East Side
East Side
East Side
West Side
North West side, & Bestsy
North West Side
North Side

After cleaning out the overgrowth and massive ivy patch we are able to inspect the area.
2 main issues are the river running along the back of the property when it rains and the sump pump discharge receiving 120 gallons of water per day during dry times due to natural springs.  Much more is produced during wet weather.

Our current idea is to dig a trench along the back of the property and force the river along this path.  The fence would be directly over this river.  Line the trench with fabric and fill with gravel.  Add 12″x6″ brick along our side of the fence to separate the river from the yard.  Everything on the fence side of the brick would be treated regularly with weed and grass killer.

The sump pump discharge would be moved from the se corner 20′ from the corner running west through perforated pipe.  This would run about 30′, and angle towards the river with a final discharge into a gravel pit at the river 3′ from the river. 

east side facing south (single gate)
center facing east
north side @ house facing south
west side facing south (double gate)
west side facing north (double gate)
center facing east
center facing se
south facing sw
center facing south
sw corner (single gate)

About 2′ from the corner the neighbor is dumping his storm water onto our property.  The idea here is to add gravel and river stone to guide the water to the river.  Images below show the new river.  Testing shows this trench shows no standing water after about an hour of rain.

se facing west
se corner facing nw
se corner facing north

+5 years ago we were draining the sump discharge into underground perforated pipe along this side.  There is a spring in that area as even now it is always damp and squishy to walk.  The discharge made the area even worse.  Eventually the lawn service’s riding mower crushed the buried pipe and I came up with the ‘tank’ idea.

se corner showing corner post location
se corner showing corner post location and sump discharge

The existing tank is constantly full and when the pump runs overflows into constantly standing water.  During the winter this becomes a 20′ diameter ice pond.  Notice the hose: an experiment to pump the 120 gallons from the tank to various locations on the property to evaluate that location’s ability to drain the water.

east side facing south (single gate)
east side facing north (single gate)
se corner facing nw
south center facing nw
south center facing nw
south center facing ne
se corner
se corner
se corner facing west
south center facing east
south center facing sw
center facing se
center facing south
center facing sw
center facing south
west side facing south (single gate)
west side facing south (single gate)
west side facing south (single gate)



Rainbow Spring 2018

May 20th to 27th 2018

Jenny, Betsy and I went to Pine Creek in the summer of 2017. We stayed at the Happy Acres Rainbow Cottage. The cottage isn’t in the regular campground but about 10 miles away right on the creek. No neighbors across the street and the ones on our side were very friendly. It is not a cottage so much as a trailer, but a nice trailer. Like any trailer it had a kitchen, living room, bathroom, a small bedroom with bunk beds and a larger bedroom with a queen bed. But it also had very nice additions off the back of the trailer overlooking the creek- an attached garage, a cozy den with bunk beds, and a superb enclosed porch surrounded by modern windows that were easily opened for fresh air. Betsy and I loved the trip- there was no phone, no internet, no TV reception or cable, and no cell phone service without a 15 mile drive.

I’d planned this 2018 trip back in October 2017. I’ve never fly fished before and decided to try it out. Jenny was going to be visiting family in the Philippines for 3 months so I planned the trip while she’d be away since she didn’t love the cabin as much as we did. I invited some other guys to join but no one was able to schedule the time, so it was just me, Betsy and the new puppy Abby.

Pine creek was getting a lot of rain and the fishing reports for the weeks before our trip said “fish somewhere else”. Not a possibility when the the trip is already paid for in advance. When we showed up on Sunday the creek was very high, and the Big Jim who mowed the lawn on Monday got stuck in the mud. And then it started raining. From the pictures below you can see an island in the creek. The creek in front of the island was actually all land when we got there, and was where the mower got stuck before it became ‘creek’.

Later in the week I finally got out to that island and tried my hand at some fly fishing. I’d been practicing my cast from the videos I’d watched on the internet and a DVD I brought with me. I thought I had an acceptable cast but all I caught was weeds from behind me. Perhaps my horrific casts would have been forgiven if I was in the middle of the creek, but on the bank I was just losing flies. Flies are pricey. I did the math and figured I could pay someone to help me perfect my cast or I could go buy a bunch more flies.

I headed up to Slate Run Tackle Shop & Wolfe’s General Store to see about finding some help.


Tom told me to come back on Wednesday and he’d take me out back and give me some lessons. True to his word, he gave me the full 101 on fly casting. I learned some great basic exercises and basic casts. Like I always say, you talk to people or watch videos and 50% tell you to do things one way and 50% tell you to do the exact opposite. The good news was I didn’t really have any bad habits yet so I just threw out everything I’d learned and let Tom take over. He talked me through the basics and then showed me the technique. When I had a grasp of the lesson, he let me try it out. I actually wasn’t 1/2 bad. With a few adjustments we decided the best next steps were to go home, relax from the stress of ‘being watched by an expert’ and practice the exercises and practice my cast. I tried to give Tom some money as he gave me a full hour out back, but he refused. He just asked me to come back someday, take him out back and show him my improved cast. Tom is a great guy and I would recommend Slate Run Tackle Shop to anyone.

The rest of the week was pretty wet, the creek was murky, no flies were hatching and the water was too high to get in there, so I did practice practice practice. I tried a couple more times to fish the creek from the bank. I still caught only trees and weeds. A huge hint that it was a ‘fish somewhere else’ week was that I never saw anyone on my stretch of creek all week. They tell me that it gets downright crowded back there when the flies are hatching and the fish are biting.

From talking to the locals it seems the fishing is always a roll of the dice on Pine Creek. Some years the week before Memorial day is excellent, some years it’s a ‘fish somewhere else’ situation.

The good news is the girls and I had a blast.  We did some training every day, chuck it in the front yard, and a few excursions in the creek when it went down a bit.  Abby the puppy thought the creek was great fun, and Betsy always loves the water.

Acme and Superfresh had fresh trout when we got back, so we got our fill even if it was after the official end of vacation.

The rhododendron bloomed while we were there.

The neighborhood is great and the neighbors Bill & Sandee, Pastor Bill, Scott, Dawn and Josh are friendly and helpful.

camping groceries

whole chicken
Italian sausage
breakfast sausage
hot dogs
lunch meat

hard boiled eggs
burrito cheese

cooked rice

hot dog rolls
hamburger rolls
burrito shells

Montreal steak seasoning

tea bags

tonic water
tomato juice
bloody mix

Guinness stout

cabin/camping gear

loyalty cards

french press
some way to make coffee (electric water heater, stove and pot)
air mattress
air mattress pump
bedding – pillows/linens (queen size)
facial wipes/paper towels/tp
rain gear
tool box
first aid
garbage bags

with dogs
collars w/ tags
poop bags

emergency whistle

kitchen gear
cast iron fry pan
plastic baggies
dish soap

kitchen gear tent camping

tent camping
sleeping bags
air mattress
air pump