Greetings from the Rain Forest

I’m no Carl Spackler, but I think I might need to reseed tomorrow:

When I was a kid, we had normal rain. Sure, we would have epic thunderstorms and with lots of lightning and big booms, but it didn’t dump 65 god damned inches of rain in twelve minutes. Now, we get ridiculous amounts of rain like this at least once a week.

I really don’t know what I am going to do with the backyard (AND YES THIS IS ALL MY FUCKING FAULT FOR SAYING I AM DONE SPENDING MONEY ON THE BACK YARD), but it clearly is not level and I obviously need to figure out some sort of drainage scenario.

“Buy a house,” they said, “you’ll be earning equity,” they said. God damnit.

251 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    (AND YES THIS IS ALL MY FUCKING FAULT FOR SAYING I AM DONE SPENDING MONEY ON THE BACK YARD), but it clearly is not level and I obviously need to figure out some sort of drainage scenario.

    “Buy a house,” they said, “you’ll be earning equity,” they said. God damnit.

    Who had 1 day in the pool?

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    What does your local code say about impervious surface and stormwater runoff? In many places you might need a stormwater detention vault. Probably not back in the hollers though.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    If you’re interested in drainage, don’t you want a slope?

  4. 4
    MelissaM says:

    I’d start by looking up digging a french drain. Also maybe an outdoor tub/shower area for the piglets!

  5. 5

    You should watch Monty Don’s gardening show on Netflix, you will get ideas.

  6. 6
    japa21 says:

    @Roger Moore: I think he may have a slope, but in the wrong direction.

  7. 7
    Deep Southerner says:

    Sorry about your back yard, Mr. Cole. If you want something to take your mind off it, my new nym (fka Dolly Llama) is throwing me in moderation. I’m a good person, I promise.

  8. 8
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Shortly after my late husbsnd and I bought our “fixer upper” we were struggling with some crisis when he looked at me and said “Who the F said it would be a good idea to buy a house?!”

    (me) 😶

  9. 9
    TenguPhule says:


    You should watch Monty Don’s gardening show on Netflix, you will get ideas.

    John “One man walking accident waiting to happen” Cole really doesn’t need more ideas.

  10. 10
    scav says:

    Equity. Maybe they meant by capturing all this water and storing it until it becomes a valuable resource in itself. . . Are personal dikes of sandbags also called equity by any chance? Or, equity could just mean earning your bald patches as you tear your hair out over the next thing that inevitably needs fixing. It’s all so tricky now that definitions have become completely unmoored.

  11. 11
    Deep Southerner says:

    @Mike J: I could see that conversation in my head. “You want a whut? To fix whut? An extension vault?”

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:


    My husband is still very reluctant for us to buy a house, or even a condo. At this rate, we won’t buy anything until we’re eligible for Social Security at 68 (thanks, Ronald Reagan!)

  13. 13
    James Powell says:

    “Buy a house,” they said, “you’ll be earning equity,” they said. God damnit.

    I miss the equity and I miss the tax advantages, but I definitely do not miss the constant need for maintenance punctuated by budget destroying “Now what?” episodes.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    Sorry Cole😔

  15. 15
    Mike J says:

    Michelle Hackman @MHackman
    Confirmed: The White House will propose merging the Education and Labor Departments, as part of a much broader plan to consolidate the federal government

    The Department of Child Labor.

  16. 16
    Honus says:

    Old proverb: “When house finished, man die”

    In other words, be glad you have projects to do.

  17. 17
    QuaintIrene says:

    Thats not one of your critters there, on the left?

  18. 18
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    When I was a kid, we had normal rain. Sure, we would have epic thunderstorms and with lots of lightning and big booms, but it didn’t dump 65 god damned inches of rain in twelve minutes. Now, we get ridiculous amounts of rain like this at least once a week.

    New Mexico, Eastern Arizona and Southern Colorado could REALLY use your rain. It is so dry that ALL the state parks and National Forests are either closed or highly restricted for recreation. Even a backfire from your four-wheeler could spark a fire. Absolutely no campfires or open flames allowed at all, and in some places (if they even let you in) even propane gas stoves/grills are outlawed right now. And it’s over a hundred degrees in most parts of the state with elevations below around 6500 feet above sea level, which means we are all fucking dying here, trapped, jumping from air conditioned building to air conditioned building.

    The people who figure out how to divert the excess water that floods the east and south to the west and midwest will become the frigging heroes of the next generation.

  19. 19
    Christine Stier says:

    two words: rain gardens.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, but perhaps not towards the house?

  21. 21

    @TenguPhule: He can get his dad to help.

    ETA: I propose a Japanese garden with a water feature.

  22. 22
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    The people who figure out how to divert the excess water that floods the east and south to the west and midwest will become the frigging heroes Koch brothers of the next generation.


  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    My grandparents’ (lots of immigrants) and parents’ (children of immigrants) cohort in my family, mostly bought into the idea that rent was for suckers, you had to buy a house. One great uncle, whom I never met, never wanted to own, because as he used to say, if a lightbulb burns out, I want someone else to change it. For the moment, I really like having a house, in spite of the frustrations, because it comes with a yard, but there are days when great uncle Whatsits seems like one of the smartest old coots I never met. In ten years, I could see myself renting an apartment or townhouse, within walking distance of a park.

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    @James Powell:

    I definitely do not miss the constant need for maintenance punctuated by budget destroying

    We’re planning on selling our house – the market is excellent right now locally, BUT
    – We have to put in a $15k-$28k septic system, mandated by state environmental regs, or no selling. The guy who’s going to do it is digging for the neighbor next door. Both houses about the same age, with failed cesspools.
    – The heating oil tank in the basement is leaking. No other access than the inside stairs. It has to be pulled out, replaced, and spilled oil cleaned up. No co$t estimate, yet.
    I like the tax advantages, too, but….

    Speaking of taxes – I meant to write to Anderson/Mayhew about this: Those lovely ACA subsidies of hundreds of dollars a month for insurance? The are reported on IRS form 1095 AND ARE FULLY TAXABLE AS ORDINARY INCOME!
    Some fucking subsidy THAT is!!

  25. 25
    jacy says:

    My air conditioner is not conditioning, I need to rewire my kitchen, and for some reason the sink is draining onto the front walk. I love my house, but home ownership is a bottomless pit.

  26. 26
    QuaintIrene says:

    I propose a Japanese garden with a water feature.

    How koi!

  27. 27
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Starting with the least excavation: French drain, rain garden, cistern. I’m a big fan of rain gardens, myself.

  28. 28
    joel hanes says:


    water feature

    mosquito breeder unless frequently maintained, and maybe even then.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Deep Southerner says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Then we’ll just see pictures of dying koi flopping when that project goes teats-up.

  31. 31
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I’m a 60 y/o widow with no family…I’m happy to rent this condo and let some one else worry 😉

  32. 32
    Ohio Mom says:

    I just hope the giant puddle is not collecting against the basement wall. All that pressure can bow a wall. Ask me how I know. On second thought, don’t.

  33. 33

    We’re moving in two weeks and have had no luck in selling this house. I’m trying not to think about it.

  34. 34
    The Dangerman says:


    I propose a Japanese garden with a water feature.

    Steve The Cat: “Seconded”

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Steve The Cat: “Seconded”

    Steve understands this does not come with a live sashimi display, right?

  36. 36
    TenguPhule says:

    Trump believes that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” So he started one.

    Now the casualties are beginning to return home from the battlefield, and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the people’s representatives presented some of them to Wilbur Ross, the president’s billionaire commerce secretary.

    “Corn, wheat, beef and pork are all suffering market price declines . . . due to current trade policies,” complained Sen. John Thune (S.D.). “With every passing day, the United States loses market share to other countries.”

    Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) said “we watched the soybean market start to collapse” because of trade-war concerns.

    Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) warned about steel and auto producers in Ohio, “hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs.”

    From Pennsylvania, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey cautioned that Kraft-Heinz may move its ketchup production to Canada to avoid retaliatory tariffs.

    Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) put in a plea over Coca-Cola’s rising aluminum can costs.

    Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah warned that contracts have dried up for a steel fabricator in his state because of the tariffs, and “multibillion-dollar investments for new manufacturing plants that employ thousands of workers are also being put at risk.”

    And those were just the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.

    Someone find me the second smallest violin in the world.

  37. 37
    dexwood says:

    Nothing works in an old house like you.

  38. 38
    BoDiddleySquat says:

    @MelissaM: Agreed. You’ll hem and haw at the price, but at the end of the day…French drain.

    Or, do like one of my neighbors. Build a dam on the high side of your property. That’ll stop most of the water coming into your yard. Of course, all of your neighbors uphill from you will have flooded yards, but hey, apres vous, le deluge. It’s against code in most municipalities, and is in ours, but that didn’t stop this guy. People tried to walk him through all of the issues and why there are rules about things like this that everyone has to follow once you decide to move into town, but by god, he wasn’t going to get pushed around by a bunch of busybodies. Eventually he went on vacation, so somebody dug a breach in his dam and wheelbarrowed the dirt and rock to his front yard, leaving it in a nice, small pile. You know, so he would be able to easily find where all of his dirt and rocks had gone. He got the message.

  39. 39
    Ruckus says:

    Did you ever look up the word equity?
    Here’s one.

    the value of a mortgaged property after deduction of charges against it.

    All of the charges. Liens, taxes, maintenance, repairs, parties…….

  40. 40

    @Deep Southerner: He seems to be good with living things.

  41. 41
    GregB says:

    Dear God. Trump’s supporters are descending into a cult like frenzy of adoration.

    This nation will need to be de-Trumpified.

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:

    When the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden ( Ore.), told Ross the administration is woefully behind in granting exemptions, Ross said Wyden would learn otherwise if he did his “homework.”

    Ross told Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) that he’s heard the rising cost of newsprint for rural newspapers “is a very trivial thing,” and he told Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) that it’s tough luck if small businesses don’t have lawyers to apply for exemptions: “It’s not our fault if people file late.”

    Asked by Sen. Michael F. Bennet ­(D-Colo.) what the administration would do to help American farmers and ranchers, Ross told him “I’m not in detail familiar with all of the tools” and let the senator know that “we have no control over what another country does in retaliation.”

    Ross further claimed to the lawmakers that the huge spike in steel prices “is not a result of the tariff” but of “antisocial ­behavior by participants in the industry” — behavior triggered by the tariffs. He justified tariffs on Canadian steel for ­national-security reasons, though the ­United States has a steel-trade surplus with Canada, by saying the concern is about transshipments of Chinese steel through Canada — yet he admitted “we do not have definitive data” about such shipments.

    Ross has no friends on either side.

    His days are numbered.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: The little girl is home after her surgery. She seems to be doing pretty well.

  44. 44
    Gin & Tonic says:


    No other access than the inside stairs.

    How’re they planning to get the new tank in?

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:


    He seems to be good with living things.

    Fish are an exception.

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @raven: Hope that continues.

  47. 47
    Fair Economist says:

    You should plant a grass from a seasonal swamp like the Okivango. Something that survives both flooding and desertification.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It’s going to be a challenge for all of us.

  49. 49
    gene108 says:

    Check out Mike McGrath’s Facebook page. He has a radio show, on Philly’s NPR, on organic gardening, “You Bet Your Garden”. He has several episodes, where he discusses seeding lawns. You can check out the podcasts.


  50. 50
  51. 51
    dexwood says:

    @Fair Economist:
    Or rice. Cole could corner the rice market in his area.

  52. 52
    JPL says:

    The picture helps because you have a map where to add soil.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    He is playing the exact role Trump wants, same as Pruitt. Sanctimonious pricks, all.

  54. 54
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Our moneypit old farmhouse had a rainwater cistern….all gutters drained into it. We used it for laundry, garden,livestock, duck pond ( kiddie wading pool) …… Our old school farmer ancesters weren’t near as dumb as the current crop.

  55. 55
    Mary G says:

    I did all right selling a 1923 Bungalow/money pit I bought in So. Cal. in 1986 and sold in 2004, but most of that was luck that my timing worked really well with the big bubble.

    ETA: Also meant to say if that big puddle of water is touching your house or seeping into the basement, you have to put in drains/rain garden (never heard of those, lol) because water is the sworn enemy of houses.

  56. 56
    frosty says:

    @Mike J: Many local codes exempt single family houses. And most stormwater regulations govern new construction and possibly reconstruction that adds impervious surface, which John hasn’t done. So I suspect he’s clear with the regs.

    As far as drainage, the first thing to figure out is where does he want the water to go. It’s likely against the local code to send concentrated runoff onto the neighbor’s property. He may be able to ditch it to a municipal storm drain or street gutter. I’d shy away from infiltration galleries. That’s a lot of excavation and #57 stone and they tend to fail within 5 years. If he’s got clay soils, forget about it.

    He might need a stormwater engineer (0r maybe a good landscape architect) to look at it.

  57. 57
    Keith P. says:

    French (Freedom) drain is likely going to be your most effective drainage solution. It should be relatively inexpensive since you do that kind of stuff yourself – you’re basically going to dig a 1′ trench from your backyard to your front curb and drop a perforated pipe into it.

  58. 58
    gene108 says:


    George W. Bush instituted a steel tariff in 2002. It lasted about a year. I don’t remember it triggering an international trade war. I doubt most anyone even remembers it happened, because it really didn’t rock the boat.

    Edit: Bush, Jr, as overmatched for the Presidency as was is infinitely more competent than Trump

  59. 59
    Roger Moore says:

    I bought my condo in 2010, and it seems to have been a reasonable decision so far. My mortgage + taxes + HOA is quite a bit higher than my old rent, but I doubt I would have been able to keep paying $900/month for a 2 bedroom in Pasadena forever. Similar sized apartments are renting for twice that in my old neighborhood these days.

  60. 60
    Elizabelle says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: I really wonder why we don’t do pipelines for water.

    Infrastructure and maintenance jobs; the east and midwest is often inundated with excess water, and a spill would not be as ecologically disastrous. Might drown a few unlucky critters, but …

    Water will turn out to be far more valuable than oil.

    I’m sorry to hear your state is in such a drought. Frightening times.

  61. 61
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve owned 3 homes and rented 5 apts. I pay more per month in my current apt than I ever paid for any of my homes, but when something goes wrong, and it always does, I don’t have to do squat. Maybe it’s my age or general give a shit attitude at the moment but renting is just easier. On the plus side of home owning, Every one had a garage. Only two of my rentals did. Two of the three homes appreciated, one I sold for exactly what I paid for it after living there 3 yrs, so almost free room and board, rentals of course didn’t give me squat.

  62. 62
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    How’re they planning to get the new tank in?

    Damned if I know. We were going to get the oil company guy in for a conference (he’s good, local businessman, literally a stone’s throw away) but i went in for surgery etc and just got home at the end of last week.
    I have quite a large credit. I set up autopay a few years ago and paid them so much their accounting system couldn’t handle it.

    ETA: I’m pretty sure it’s against code to keep it outside and run a pipe to the cellar.

  63. 63
    kindness says:

    I wish we out here on the left coast could take some of that rain from you. Especially as summer is here. It won’t rain again till October at the earliest.

  64. 64
    Deep Southerner says:

    @TenguPhule: Won’t be live when he’s through.

  65. 65
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Elizabelle: Elevation differences. Water isn’t valuable enough yet to be worth the cost of pumping.

  66. 66
    trollhattan says:

    103 by Friday. Yippie.

  67. 67
    Elizabelle says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Makes sense. I think eventually it will be, though.

  68. 68
    J R in WV says:


    OH, man, that’s so good to hear. She’s so cute in all your pics. They’re all so cute, aren’t they?

    So glad for you, scritch her some for me… if she is up to it!

  69. 69
    Ruckus says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    Ah yes. Clay soil, high water table, cinderblock basement walls that were not reenforced because the code didn’t require it when the place was build. My Ohio house had that and it caused the wall to bow and buckle. The builder was pretty damn good about it, even though the warranty was way past. They brought in their guy, paid half, which was thousands less than I could have gotten it done for myself.

  70. 70
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @TenguPhule: The GOP hitched their wagon to Trump, and Ross is on the ‘right’ side (from Donnie’s view) on the trade stuff. So fuck them all. I hope all their constituents feel the pain and realize that is what happens when you vote for the GOP. They will fuck you over and fork over all your money to billionaires.

  71. 71
    khead says:

    I’m no Carl Spackler

    I dunno Cole. You ARE a Cinderella story out of WV.

  72. 72
    Gin & Tonic says:


    I’m pretty sure it’s against code to keep it outside and run a pipe to the cellar.

    I’m not so sure. I know tanks buried outside are against current code in MA and RI, but an above-ground outdoor tank may be OK. Of course, if you trust me on this you’re an idiot. so get your oil guy to tell you. But I just can’t picture how you get one inside without a bulkhead. They’re not very flexible.

  73. 73
    TenguPhule says:


    George W. Bush instituted a steel tariff in 2002. It lasted about a year. I don’t remember it triggering an international trade war. I doubt most anyone even remembers it happened, because it really didn’t rock the boat.

    George W Bush, for all of his many many many many many sins, was not a completely insane moron.

    Trump has literally picked a tariff fight with EVERY SINGLE ONE of our major trading partners. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. At the same time.

  74. 74
    frosty says:

    @Keith P.: That might be a good solution, but that’s a lot of water for one perforated pipe. If it was me I’d have someone run the numbers on how much water his yard is holding, the rate of rainfall, and pipe size. The more slope there is to the street, the faster the water goes and the smaller his pipe can be. If it’s relatively flat then either use a bigger diameter or double/triple up the pipes to the street.

    And if he doesn’t have drainage problems on the run to the street, use ordinary pipe, not perforated, No reason to add more water when you’re trying to move the stuff in the back as fast as you can.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    Great news. Many, many more happy days.

  76. 76
    efgoldman says:


    I hope all their constituents feel the pain and realize that is what happens when you vote for the GOP.

    Cleek’s Law and David X Machina’s corollary

  77. 77
    cliosfanboy says:

    @QuaintIrene: I think it’s an alligator

  78. 78
    frosty says:

    I love the home ownership aphorisms. Especially “The only thing that works in an old house is you.” Too true, too true.

    And after the latest back spasm from yard work etc. the condo is looking better.

  79. 79
    trollhattan says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
    I once figured the weight of a barrel of crude oil (two-hundred something pounds) versus an acre-foot of water (millions). Costs a LOT to shove water around.

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:


    I really wonder why we don’t do pipelines for water.

    Distance and the fact that half of it would go through areas that experience freezing weather.

    Pipes tend to clog and burst when the water freezes inside them.

    Not to mention the amount of energy to move that amount of water.

  81. 81
    gene108 says:


    My husband is still very reluctant for us to buy a house, or even a condo. At this rate, we won’t buy anything until we’re eligible for Social Security at 68 (thanks, Ronald Reagan!)

    I bought my condo in 2007, when housing prices were still high. I doubt I will ever get what I paid for it. In 2011/2012, when housing prices in my area really crashed (lot of foreclosures coming back on the market, driving prices down), I was underwater a bit.

    I just look at it like one day, I will pay off the mortgage, so my cost of occupancy will be lower. As an investment, it is a bust.

    Basically, a house/condo may not always be a guaranteed investment that goes up in value, given the potential for boom bust cycles, but if you stick with paying a mortgage long enough, I guess you will eventually reduce you cost to live somewhere

  82. 82
    J R in WV says:

    @Keith P.:

    you’re basically going to dig a 1′ trench from your backyard to your front curb and drop a perforated pipe into it.

    Actually, he should do a trench from the pool in the backyard to the point on the property line that’s lowest compared to the level of the pool when it contains water… depending upon ownership.

    On second thought… Perhaps the front curb would be best, as that isn’t someone else’s property. You need .25″ per foot of slope in any drain. So some rudimentary surveying is in order. One quarter inch of drop per foot of run length. No more, no less. It’s important.

  83. 83
    NotMax says:



  84. 84
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    They’re not very flexible.

    Gas conversion might be cheaper. It’s an old but reliable furnace

  85. 85
    Deep Southerner says:

    @raven: I’m so glad to hear that. Thanks again for your help earlier this week. (This is formerly-known-as Dolly Llama, for future reference. I changed my screen name this evening and just got out of moderation.)

  86. 86

    in India, tje arrival of monsoon signifies a season of love. From classical Sanskrit, Kalidasa’s Meghdoot (cloud messenger) to Hindi movies.
    Chal Chal mere sang (Come with me..) from Asititva (Existence)

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    CaseyL says:

    I also recommend a French Drain. It’s probably the least expensive option, though I think you need a municipal storm drain or culvert or something for the drain to drain to.

    I also endorse making sure the water isn’t resting against the house, esp. the foundation. That would be Very Bad.

  89. 89
    frosty says:


    I really wonder why we don’t do pipelines for water.

    It’s been done. Southern California gets their water from the Owens Valley and the Colorado River. IIRC eastern Colorado is pulling water through the Rockies from the Western Slope. Both of these were easier than diverting Mississippi drainage to the southwest. Lotsa pumps needed to buck the uphill grade.

  90. 90
    efgoldman says:


    I also recommend a French Drain.

    Our house was built with French drains. No flooding as long as we remember to ream out the outlet pipe (onto our front lawn, down to the storm drain) every year

  91. 91
    jl says:

    Thnx for yardpix. Looks great I don’t see a problem.
    Just an excuse for a few days of exercise to regain that slender girlish figure.
    Carry on. Success is around the corner. (/not snark, the yard will be great. Looking forward to the BJ commenter convention BBQ in the luxe backyard)

  92. 92
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    Not seeing the wild boar rooting around. Did he get washed away?

  93. 93
    Elizabelle says:

    @raven: Rest up, Lil Bit and her people. I hope she is right as rain soon, and good at adapting her eating and drinking.


    Also, thanks to all for comments about water pipelines. Very informative.

  94. 94

    @TenguPhule: We move lots of water here in California. California Water project from the north, LA aqueduct from the eastern Sierra, and water from the Colorado River to the east.

  95. 95
    NotMax says:

    Wait until Thurston discovers the Joys of Mud…


  96. 96
    Jay says:

    @Keith P.:

    Landscape cloth wrapped around river rock.

    After installing “juice boxes”. They are 4’x4′ x4′ one use, plastic containers, in an aluminum grid frame, mostly used for shipping fruit juice. Around here, they go for $75 to $150 CDN. Stack them 2 to 4 high on a 2 foot or 3 foot timber or block base as rainbarrels under the downspouts. Because of the aluminum frame, it’s easy to attach planks to the structure to make it all “pretty” and blend in.

    We “save” 36,000 litres of rainwater for the gardens this way.

  97. 97
    trollhattan says:

    The DWR Edmonston pumping plant at Tehachapi is the world’s largest. Original plans included a nuke plant nearby to power the thing. It pushes the water nearly 2,000 vertical feet.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: All this talk of French drains makes me think that Cole may make a French Mistake.

  99. 99
    raven says:

    @J R in WV: We’re giving her some doggie downers to keep he from getting excited but she still likes scratches!

  100. 100
    TenguPhule says:


    We move lots of water here in California. California Water project from the north, LA aqueduct from the eastern Sierra, and water from the Colorado River to the east.

    Moving water from the east and south east states to the west and midwest states would be a bit longer then those projects. :P

  101. 101
    gene108 says:


    The GOP hitched their wagon to Trump

    The beauty of the GOP hitching their wagon to Trump is when shit starts getting bad, like say a recession, and Trump fucks up the response, they can always unhitch their wagon from Trump and say he isn’t a true Republican or true conservative.

    And it will work. It worked washing the Bush stink off of them. And their will likely be Dems* in charge shouldering the responsibility of not fixing everything right away and the blame because things are bad.

    As far as Republicans are concerned there is no downside to Trump. He energizes the base, and when he screws up they cut bait and pretend like he never happened, while targeting all their criticism on Democrats.

    Given right-wing media power and a strong subconscious, now slightly buried, MSM desire to “both sides” any issue, I think there is a good chance it will work.

    * The 2016 in fighting between Berniebots and Democrats is just going through a truce to focus on Trump. Once Dems are back in charge, those wankers will be sharpening their knives to stick it to elected Democrats for Democrats failure to be like Bernie.

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    frosty says:

    @trollhattan: Yeah, that’s why I said “mostly”. I was sure the Colorado River project needed some big pumps to get into LA and San Diego.

  103. 103

    @trollhattan: Yup, from the Central Valley to the high desert(Quail Lake & Pyramid Lake). I drove by the lakes this morning.

  104. 104

    @frosty: That’s not the Colorado River water, that’s from northern CA.

  105. 105
    Mike J says:


    I really wonder why we don’t do pipelines for water.

    The great lake states have treaties making it illegal to sell water that should run into the great lakes watershed to outside states.

  106. 106
    Jay says:


    Below the frost line, it never freezes.

  107. 107
    Spanky says:

    I’m no Carl Spackler,

    Don’t sell yourself short.

  108. 108

    @TenguPhule: Not by as much as might think.

  109. 109
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @burnspbesq: lol
    @lahke: Looks intriguing!!!
    @Elizabelle: It’s sad, because camping at 8000 feet is one of the cheapest, best ways to take your family on vacation in this state if you’ve got a limited budget (80% of New Mexicans). And its so weird to have literally lived her long enough to remember when in the 80’s and 90’s, we could take our kids camping every weekend in the summer and find tiny streams and ponds for them to play in in the mountains of Southern New Mexico–and they no longer exist.

  110. 110
    khead says:


    He’s a tremendous slouch.

  111. 111
    frosty says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I suspected as much because of the Tehachapis. Didn’t know about that one. But again IIRC the LA Aqueduct got over the hump with a siphon instead of pumps. I’ve got a picture of it somewhere, I think in the book “Cadillac Desert”.

  112. 112
    NotMax says:


    Tile fields. Old tech.

  113. 113
    Another Scott says:

    @Mary G: Yup.

    “Water – The Universal Solvent”


  114. 114
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Haven’t seen you in a very long time! Welcome back, fellow Mapp & Lucia fan.

  115. 115
    Wapiti says:

    I wonder if Cole’s place is lower than the neighbors’. Is he getting all of his roof water, and all of their roof water and yard runoff? If he’s the low man on the block, he might be lower than the front curb. Might talk to the city for recommendations and to sound out what you can and can’t do.

    Here in Seattle the powers that be are pushing rain gardens, to get water away from your house and time to soak back into the soil rather than running down to the street drain. Our storm drains and waste sewers use the same pipes, and really heavy runoff from a bad storm can overload (and overflow) the waste water treatment plant.

  116. 116
    trollhattan says:

    @frosty: Yup. Colorado River and Owens Valley water at least have geographic help starting at altitude while SWP and CVP south of Delta water all starts at sea level and take an enormous amount of energy to get south and over to the coast.

    We should use Brawndo!

  117. 117
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Hey, BTW, you gonna bring some of our water back when you come to Sacto? Thnx in advance.

    Hope your ankle is getting better.

  118. 118
    raven says:

    It’s bad for the glass. . .

  119. 119
    gene108 says:


    Trump has literally picked a tariff fight with EVERY SINGLE ONE of our major trading partners. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. At the same time.

    How else is Trump going to pay Putin back for investing in his campaign, besides destroying Western alliances that are hemming Putin in from recreating the borders of the USSR/ Imperial Russia?

  120. 120
    Jager says:

    Speaking of houses, We got up this morning, I was drinking coffee and reading the paper on the lower porch, Mrs. J yelled come upstairs. There was a 4 foot gopher snake by the french doors in our bedroom. I chased him off. A couple of hours later I saw him again when i was getting ready to leave for a meeting. The god damn thing had worked his way to the lower porch pillars. I chased him off again. He was after our 4 baby birds in the hanging plant. The sparrows were going nuts. I was going to kill it, Mrs J stopped me. When I came home from my meeting, I changed clothes, made a scotch and water and went out on the porch, the sparrows were flying around going crazy. I looked down and there was the snake on the porch floor. I wacked the bastard with my shoe and grabbed a garden spade, When I came back he was on his way down the stairs to the lower patio. I hit him on the steps. I knocked him into a flower bed and pinned him in the dirt. The sparrows flew down and pecked at the snake. I picked the snake up with the spade and he was still alive. I smashed it’s head with the shovel and tossed him across the street in the trees. When i came back I took down the fuchsia and the nest was empty. The snake son of a bitch got all 4 babies. Sad night up in the canyon. The gopher snake is the third snake I’ve offed since last fall, a 5 foot rattler, a juvenile rattler and now the gopher snake, who I wouldn’t have killed, if hadn’t eaten our babies. Revenge was sweet.

  121. 121
    Jay says:


    Works great, no cleaning, mine are decades old.

    One was built in 1912 to drain a peat bog.

  122. 122

    @trollhattan: The Colorado River Project(MWD) has some big ass pump stations in the desert. It’s not gravity fed like the LA Aqueduct.

  123. 123

    @jl: Ankle is better, actually mostly I was sore from the fall. Thanks.

    I usually return some portion of the water I consume.

  124. 124
    EZSmirkzz says:

    Why John, it seems like just yesterday you were falling through the back porch peeling the skin off your legs!

    If you don’t mind hard work you could put together a water level, length equal to the width of your yard, plus six to ten feet, and establish highside, which from this perspective looks to be on the right, and low side which appears to be on the left. Basically you’re just filling a clear tube, 5/16th or 3/8th -(large in my book, but water isn’t to bright,) with water. fill it slow and make sure there aren’t any bubbles in the tube when you’re done, if there are bubbles you’re not done. This can be frustrating to do, but is highly entertaining for observers, especially children.

    It may be easier to fill a large wash tub on the deck with water and then siphon the water to ground, or use one of those hand pumps from the auto parts store. If you’re feeling ornery you also stick one end in the water and find a Republican to suck on the other end, but you’ll be responsible for any drownings. Once the tube is filled, minus six three feet or so on each end, you can use pieces of dowel rods to plug the ends of the tube when you’re moving them to various points on the grid layout. I’ve always uncorked them when establishing level marks so that the air pressure is equalized on both ends, then corked them up when I was moving them around so my klutzy ass didn’t drop one end and spill the water out necessitating finding another likable Republican if that is the methodology you used in the first place.

    If you’re working alone pick up a couple of wooden painter’s roller extension poles to drive in the ground and tape or affix the water tube to the top, I’ve used small nails or screws in various combinations, but put them high enough up on the tube that the dowel cork covers them up when moving them, or you’ll have to find yet another Republican.

    You don’t have to establish grid points at any particular distance as water seeks it’s own level. whether the end of the tubes are next to each other or across the yard from each other. drive a one by two stake at the grid point, which is where you will anchor either a string line or screed height. I’d imagine string line is close enough for backyard dirt work, but YMMV. You’ll want to leave the stakes high enough to mark with a pencil, or you can alternately drive them down to the level you wish to obtain with your dirt, which is where you would drive a small nail into the top to tie your string line to, which if I were there is how I would do it while you sat on the deck and watched me, after amusing yourself with my filling of the tube with water.

    Anyway you measure from the water level line down to establish your grade. If you measure down eighteen inches on the high side and you want a one inch fall to the other side you would measure down nineteen inches on the low side. I’d move the grid in six or eight feet increments on the length, and maybe half way on the width, depending how you wish to shape the water flow. Anyway you can make the water run anyway you want it to go. I like to keep the grid points six or eight feet because a straight eight foot two by four screed is better suited to my cheap than a longer one, and if I’m using strings then it’s close enough to rough in the dirt with a rake and shovel.

    First time through will probably take a full day, maybe two. Learning curves are learning curves. Sounds like you have some pretty sharp cookies around you already from the looks of the house, so they may help you get the project done in a day, although you might want to keep a close eye on the guy that painted that one room pink.

    On a humorous note, if all that’s too much trouble you could move the shed in the back up to the house and put a large gate that swings in on the alley and park a Winnebago in the backyard, and just blow the whole thing off. No one would notice.

  125. 125

    I assume no one here is watching Trump’s rally in Duluth. God knows, I’m not taking that hit for the team.

  126. 126

    @Dorothy Winsor: I cannot see his mug on TV, forget hear him speak. Because of him and the shouty man from Vt even the NY accent has begun to grate.

  127. 127
    Elizabelle says:

    @Dorothy Winsor: Nope. Could not pay me to do so.

  128. 128
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Dorothy Winsor: Could you rent it to a military family or students?

  129. 129
    jl says:

    ” I usually return some portion of the water I consume. ”
    OK then, Water up before you get to the grapevine or it won’t count.
    Turn your back to the public before you whizz, this isn’t Los Angeles up here. You’ll get in trouble.

  130. 130
    gene108 says:


    ETA: I’m pretty sure it’s against code to keep it outside and run a pipe to the cellar.

    When my mom renovated her home in NC, she installed and outdoor propane tank and propane heating system.

    Might be an option.

  131. 131
    charles stannard says:

    A swimming pool;)

  132. 132
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Dorothy Winsor: seems to be getting far less play on twitter than the last one, but I could be wrong

  133. 133
    MomSense says:

    I’m sorry about your yard issues. Grading sucks.

    I’m at another bar listening to music. Having a ball. My kid crushed it earlier. He’s on at the end of the night at this place.

  134. 134

    @Patricia Kayden: We don’t want to deal with renting. I’d rather cut the price and take a loss. We made money on our other two houses. Losing some on this one wouldn’t kill us.

  135. 135
    trollhattan says:

    True, and does drop a long way part of the distance. CVP and SWP also get a free ride as far as the Delta then it’s literally uphill the rest of the way. Distance covered pales compared to the Colorado, though.

  136. 136
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Just before I left the US the boss wanted to know how much equity he had in his house, I crunched the numbers and it was pitiful. While he had spent 20 odd years paying the mortgage his house was worth exactly what he had paid for it 20 odd years ago. So yeah, he had equity, but he had basically been renting the place from the bank for 20 odd years. I used to think that home ownership was the only way to go (stupid decision I now know) because we ended walking away from our house in the US after 25 years with nothing, we owed the bank more than it was worth. When I think about the amount of times things broke down (air conditioning, water heater, electrics) I would have loved to have just called the landlord and told him to come and fix it. As it was every time we had to pump money into the place took us five steps back. (Of course the flood of Hurricane Floyd didn’t help but whatever).

  137. 137
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Put in a rain garden with native plants. It will help with drainage and filter runoff and takes less upkeep than trying to maintain a yard of grass.

  138. 138

    @jl: I was almost at the Grapevine this morning, drove up to the Nordic Base Camp on Mt. Pinos for some Milky Way shots. Not a great location, too many trees, I’ll take my chain saw next time.

  139. 139
    Jager says:


    When you’re done, bring it over here, I’ve got some wood you can cut.

  140. 140
    trollhattan says:

    Outside erl tanks were SOP in Seattle when I lived there as well as my part of California. Had to dig out a retired one we discovered during some yard work. Surprise!

    Am sure codes vary. Also surprised they still are a thing, everyone here converted to gas.

  141. 141
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Good, Now you know how long you have to hold it.
    Good luck with the Milky Way pix. Let us know when you have some new ones.
    I’m puzzled by the tree problem on Mount Pinos. The high campgrounds I remember were pretty clear.
    Unless you are trying to get pix from near the road, should be plenty of places to get some good pix.

  142. 142
    opiejeanne says:

    @QuaintIrene: QuaintIrene! Don’t you just adore Lucia and Georgie?

  143. 143

    @Jager: Sounds like you have too many snakes there, I feel the same way about them as clowns.

  144. 144
    Aleta says:

    @efgoldman: And that 25% Tr tariff on China that is how he “keeps his promises” to his voters? It’s a tax on them! (And everyone.)

  145. 145

    @jl: I was at the parking lot for the Nordic Base, I’m not wandering though the woods at 2am. The parking lot was freaky enough. I’m thinking of diving up to Arroyo Hondo, north of Santa Barbara late tonight for another shooting.

  146. 146
    jnfr says:

    There is lots of stuff you can do for drainage. You’ve already been adding soil, right? So you’re bringing the base level up. The rain will die down eventually and you’ll need to pay attention to your sod then, to bind all that mud down a bit before the next flood :)

    It’ll take time but it’s doable.

  147. 147
    Doug R says:


    I propose a Japanese garden with a water feature.

    How koi!

    Well, the raccoons around here love them-free sushi bar!

  148. 148
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Ah, another Luciaphile!

  149. 149
    efgoldman says:


    Once Dems are back in charge, those wankers will be sharpening their knives to stick it to elected Democrats

    They have no power, they have no votes; all they are is a lot of noise on the intartoobz totally out of proportion to what they can actually influence and accomplish, which is less than nothing.

    Oh, and stop cowering

  150. 150
    Dan B says:

    Landscape designer in Seattle here, decades dealing with drainage issues and crummy soils.
    I’ve avoided underground drain lines having seen far too many that had to be removed before any construction could commence. French drains tend to fill up with organic matter, roots, silt and clay. Once this happens the water can no longer reach the pipe. I could go in with stories and technical details. If you can drain the water away, or around, with a swale (shallow ditch) do so. This is the basis of “rain gardens”. The plants are an added, and useful, feature.

    The only drainage system I recommend is non perforated pipe with catch (cachement) basins. You’ll need to clean debris aeay from them and clean them out at least once a year. Again, if you can move most if the surface water away with a swale, do so.

    It looks like you have very little slope and silt and/or clay. The giveaway is the color of the water in the puddles. Your soil may have gotten compacted during some of the work on the house and yard. Clay particles can fill the pore spaces. Silt will do the same but not as severely. Clay sticks to soil particles and cements them together unless there is adequate organic matter present. Seasonal application of mulch can remedy this situation. It takes time, often years, so it’s the lazy cheap solution. The method that works in Seattle area is to add 4 inches of aged conifer bark and fertilizer, till it in, and grade smooth. In a few months almost any rain will percolate into the soil. With the combination of swale(s) and soil amendment you should eliminate your puddles, unless your backyard has inadequate slope or the uphill properties drain into your yard.

    I had two projects in the low rent section of Medina. Across the street was Microsoft’s chief technology officer. Down the street was the Gates guy… The high rent side of the street. Both residences were near the bottom of a bowl and had bern built on a filled in wetland. We created decorative swales that served as vernal pools, dry in summer, and turned the entirety of one front yard into a pond. With that and soil amendment neither has soggy soil issues. Both of them had standing water when I first visited. One had 4 inches above the foundation of the brand new addition! Your issues are not as severe as theirs so: chin up and carry on, to massacre a Britishism.

    BTW the 4 inches of bark mulch fixed the soggy soil almost immediately. No further amendment or fertilizer has been necessary.

  151. 151
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I guess you would not camp at Mt. Pinos. You’re more vulnerable sleeping than wandering through the woods at 2 AM.

    Better luck next time.

  152. 152
    sukabi says:

    My gawd you’ve got a fucking moat.

    French drains

  153. 153
    efgoldman says:


    in NC, she installed and outdoor propane tank and propane heating system.

    Propane is different. Requires all new storage and delivery systems. Much cheaper to convert the furnace to natural gas, which we already have in the house.

    ETA: Actually, it’s against code to keep propane inside the house.

  154. 154
    sfinny says:

    My story is quite positive on ownership. Bought a coop apartment in 1999. By this year had about 140K in equity. Was able to refinance and bring out enough money to cover my credit card debt from previous medical bills and have enough on hand for this years bills. Actually that is kinda depressing after all. Cancer sucks.

  155. 155
    efgoldman says:


    everyone here converted to gas.

    For a long time in New England heating oil had a big price advantage; not so much anymore

  156. 156
    efgoldman says:


    And that 25% Tr tariff on China that is how he “keeps his promises” to his voters?

    Repeating: Claak’s law and Davis X Machina’s corollary always rule.

  157. 157
    AThornton says:


    It’s against common sense to keep 400 gallons of under-pressure propane inside the house.

  158. 158
    efgoldman says:


    It’s against common sense to keep 400 gallons of under-pressure propane inside the house

    Hell, you’re not even supposed to keep a 20 gallon gas barbecue tank in the shed or garage.

  159. 159
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Dorothy Winsor: “accidental” fire, followed by insurance claim

    @TenguPhule: didn’t Ross get outed as a fake billionaire?

    @schrodingers_cat: absolutely agree. Can’t even look at photos of his fat, ugly face

  160. 160
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Jay: Make sure it’s up to code.

    We put in a retaining wall and a dry well (in order to both stop the runoff and save the water). Three doors down their yard is at street level, so they have a French Drain, and a sump pump in their basement. Everything slopes away from the house; the backyard slopes both ways (onto our and our neighbors’ driveways). Being New England, our soil is still mostly rocks, but at least we can get a garden and a place to sit out of it. The back already had a retaining wall/Terrace, so we put all of our pots on the wall, and are about to add a small bed between the top of the wall and the outcropping of Boulders. (Told you, rocks.)

  161. 161
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: OMG! SNAKES! That might be what got the eggs in the nest on our deck last spring. We know we have at least one large garter snake, and the nest was in a tall planter next to a post holding up the deck cover. This one:

    tall planter on the deck

  162. 162
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I loved that E. F. Benson, when asked about his creation identified himself thusly: I am Miss Mapp! We visited Rye just because of the original series but were there the wrong days for the guided tour.

  163. 163
    SectionH says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Totes late, but another Lucia and Mapp fan checking in!

  164. 164
    CapnMubbers says:

    @SectionH: And another!

  165. 165
    Mart says:

    I may be doing it wrong. but after new roofs, windows doors, decks, furnaces, ac, carpets, tile, hardwood counters, sinks, siding, ovens, driveways, landscaping, etc; never have figured out that equity thing when selling.

  166. 166
    Brickley Paiste says:

    For the love of everything that is holy, get that yard filled and leveled on a proper gradient.

    You will be wasting so much water.

  167. 167
    Brickley Paiste says:


    Meh, what are the chances.

  168. 168
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’ve been to Rye twice! Once in 1959, long before I had heard of the Lucia books, and again with a friend in 2007. We ended up getting a private tour, just the two of us, and our guide was full of little asides about various locations used in the TV series. Great fun!

  169. 169
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Such fun! I’m well overdue for a re-read of the books. Or a binge-watch of the TV series. Or (she said greedily), both.

  170. 170
    efgoldman says:

    Is Cole’s back yard sufficiently analyzed and dissected that we could move on to a new thread?
    We haven’t done bear poop in years

  171. 171
    CapnMubbers says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Speaking of books, my copy of Asimov’s Annotated G&S needs a new home. If you don’t already have one and if you want it, I’ll book-rate mail it your way.

  172. 172

    I didn’t have a clue what to do with my empty yard when I moved into my place 5 years ago, Cole. But today it’s a beautiful garden and the apple of my eye. As it transpired, I first took to planting small fruit trees. They all thrived, too, after hit-and-miss attempts to find their optimal spots to grow. The trees were the markers, so to speak, around which I’ve planted everything else. I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s what happened. It took time, of course, and I’m still winging it, but it worked. I’m a gardener now, and a more patient person for being one, too.

    Of course, I like trees. That’s why I moved into a redwood forest in Sonoma county, Ca. Still, the fruit trees I planted immediately lent the yard a solid look, and also made it easier for me to envision what-and-where to plant the smaller stuff that’s also growing there now.

    So my advice is to relax and think longer term. Picture whatever it is you want to be staring at from your deck in 5-10 years, then plant your own markers, while having fun doing it. That’s a great big yard you’ve got there, and you should do nothing but enjoy it. And if by chance you do begin to stress about it? Fuck it, walk away for a while. It’s not going anywhere, and will still be there when you’re good and ready.. Best of luck…

  173. 173
    Steeplejack says:

    @Dorothy Winsor:

    For future reference, Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale (@ddale8 on Twitter) is the best way to follow Trump’s rallies.

    Here’s his thread for the Duluth one tonight.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    Fair Economist says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: People talk a lot about “a house is a way to make money” but not so much about the bifurcated market. Owning in most major metro or vacation areas (but not all) has been a good deal over the past few decades. In most of the rest of the country, it hasn’t. The averages disguise a lot of variation on the ground.

    In the long term it can’t be a big win for anybody. CA prices can’t get much higher – an average income family here will spend 50% of their income on rent. The rents just can’t go much higher, and so purchase prices much higher are ultimately unsupportable (although bubbles can inflate for a while beyond that.)

  176. 176
    cain says:

    I’m wondering if it is even a good idea to even take the presidency? I mean jesus, there is a shit ton to fix. But in the end, the Republicans will swoop back into power just like the last couple of times. We’re nothing but janitors.

  177. 177
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I would love it! Thank you! I owned a copy a million years ago but it went missing during a move or divorce or something.

    If you’ll email me at SiubhanDuinne at gmail dot com, I’ll send you a mailing address. Thank you so much for thinking of me!

  178. 178
    jl says:

    ” Is Cole’s back yard sufficiently analyzed and dissected that we could move on to a new thread? ”
    I thought we were just starting.
    For example, no pets in this back yard? What are those small brown blobs in the middle of the yard?
    What is going on with that potted plant on the LHS of he deck?
    Why did John Griffin Cole not bring in his tools in, out of the rain, and do we ground him for that? For how long?

  179. 179
    Steeplejack says:


    Great point about the stark contrast between the treatment of the children on the border and “We can’t move Barron to the White House in the middle of the school year because it would be too stressful.” These people.

  180. 180
    Jager says:

    Since I’m an old guy. I’ve owned 5, made money on two,lost on one, broke even on the other. Best investment, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 3rd floor brownstone condo on Marlborough Street in the Back Bay in Boston. We’re living in the 5th…we’ll see.

  181. 181
    debbie says:


    It was just reported on my local news that authorities have admitted that some families will never be reunited. I hope they sue the government to hell and back.

  182. 182
    jonas says:

    French drains, dude. Sorry about having to spend the money, but yeah. You don’t have a levelling issue, you done got yerself there a drainage issue.

  183. 183
    Kristine says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I would love that tour. The Mapp & Lucia books are favorites.

  184. 184
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    We have to keep ensuring that they will never be in a position of power again until they truly moderate themselves.

  185. 185
    Platonailedit says:

    @TenguPhule: Heh asshole cowards. You can stop the traitorous thug instead of whining about it.

  186. 186
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jager: I’m kind of embarassed to tell how many houses we’ve owned in the past 48 years. This is the 8th. We usually stayed 8-9 years except for one we only owned for 2 years. We’d probably still be living in the third house if our jobs hadn’t disappeared in 1992. We moved to the SF area for jobs, then back to SoCal in 2001. We bought the 7th house in 2008 and still have it, a little cabin in the mountains. We’ve been in this house near Seattle since 2010. We kept the cabin so we’d have a place to stay when we visited my dad, and he’s gone now and the cabin is worth a lot more than we paid and whenever we think about selling it we go and visit my sister and our son and say, “Gee, I really like this place.”

  187. 187
    Suzanne says:

    Everyone’s telling you to do a French drain, which is a pretty good solution. The better solution is to regrade, which is more expensive but less maintenance. It looks like you have some fall out to the alley behind you, but it’s hard to tell with the picture.

    I have a similar condition and I have to get my foundation repaired in one area.

    Man, y’all don’t have to deal with retention out there in, well, anywhere that is not the desert.

  188. 188
    opiejeanne says:

    @Kristine: There was a wonderful restaurant kind of hidden behind Ypres Tower, and people kept telling us, “Keep going, you’re almost there”. It wasn’t far it was just in an area that you wouldn’t expect a restaurant, until you got there. Wonderful seafood platter, oh my!

  189. 189
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Wow, there are a lot of us!

  190. 190
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I have never met many in my life, and I read the books in the late 80s.Then my girls read them. I wanted to adopt one of Lucia’s catch phrases but I can’t’ remember now what it was. In any case it was supplanted by “Hello, sweetie!”

  191. 191
    Duane says:

    Cole forget the fescue. You can grow rice in that paddy.

  192. 192
    Tbone says:

    John, per the universal building code, your yard needs to slope away from the house 1′ vertically in the first 10 feet. The easiest thing is to get a guy with a skid steer to come out and regrade your yard. Have him build a swale to drain everything around front.

  193. 193
    Regime Touchon says:

    You need French tile system.

  194. 194
    Another Scott says:

    ICYMI, in other news, Drum on a Pew survey:


    The left-hand chart shows that, starting in 2006, midterm votes became much more a vote against the sitting president than anything else. I wonder if that’s entirely a good thing? In any case, anti-Trump sentiment is high this year, but it’s worth noting that it’s still not quite as intense as anti-Bush sentiment was in 2006. Of course, by then Bush had had six years for us to get sick of him.

    The right-hand chart shows voter enthusiasm. Democrats usually have trouble turning out the vote for midterm elections, but this year enthusiasm is sky-high—far higher than it was even in the wave election of 2006. It’s even as high as Republican enthusiasm in the tea-party wave of 2010. If this keeps up, it’s bad news for Republicans.

    So who’s responsible for this enthusiasm? Young women:


    Every other demographic group has changed hardly at all, but millennial women have increased their identification with Democrats by 15 points in just a few years. What’s interesting is that this started in 2015, so it’s probably not especially related to either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. But it might be! I’d have to get hold of the individual surveys throughout 2015 to know for sure.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Women will save the world, if we let them.

    139 days to go. Keep up the fight!

    ‘night all.


  195. 195

    @jl: Being in one place is pretty safe, wandering around you don’t know what situation you’ll wander into(like getting between a bear and her cubs…).

  196. 196
    Duane says:

    @Suzanne: It looks like water behind the shed to me. The shed may block some water flow?

  197. 197
    cain says:

    The fucking New York Times put out a tweet “both sides”ing baby jails. Focusing on incivility not on the deeply horrifying actions of a government that has has no restraints. Assholes. Fuck you New York Times. Here

  198. 198
    cain says:


    John, per the universal building code, your yard needs to slope away from the house 1′ vertically in the first 10 feet. The easiest thing is to get a guy with a skid steer to come out and regrade your yard. Have him build a swale to drain everything around front.

    I know you are speaking english.. (I think), but I don’t think I understood a word of that. :D

  199. 199
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I admit to going through a (mercifully brief) period of saying “Au reservoir!” at every parting.

  200. 200
    Aleta says:

    The shingles look good …the deck looks fantastic. Beautiful rails.

    You could always look at the creek beds and the sides of the river near you where it floods every year, to see what plants will suck up the water, instead of rot. (And make it through a dry summer.) Like um certain ferns, cattails in WV? oat grass if you cut the tops off so it doesn’t seed. That red river wildflower that hummingbirds love.

    If you have to have lawn grass, just also plant a couple of patches of ferns/oat grass/or something that likes a little floodwater in the spring but handles heat. (Is there iris in WV?). If you mow in a circle around each patch, you can leave the plants inside the circles alone after that.

    Then let whatever else wants to come up inside the circles. In a year or two you’ll have some contours of native grasses or flowers that actually chose to be there and won’t wash away.

    The roots of riverside plants and grass might keep your topsoil in place til it stops raining. So you wouldn’t need to plant that grass seed every year. You could ask a hydrologist from the extension service where the old river bottom and flood plains (from a long time ago) are in the neighborhood. Before trying to divert water off an old creek bottom or overflow, or where the water table is high from an underground spring or something.

  201. 201
    Jager says:


    When we bought this 1922 pain in the ass, it was this place in the canyon or a tiny old beach house in Ventura. We chose this house because it was on a private road, sited on an acre and a half. Now, most days I wish I was listening to and looking at the ocean in a tiny house sited on a postage stamp lot. Two people don’t use three bedrooms and three baths and the yard is a ton of work and I pay a guy to help me out once a week. Anze the dog likes it so there’s that to consider.

  202. 202
    cwmoss says:

    @schrodingers_cat: “Bad for glass.” (Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.)

  203. 203
    NotMax says:


    But in just four short years you can hold a blowout centennial gala!

  204. 204
    Jager says:


    Never thought of that, we’ll all chip in fly Cole and his pets to SoCal and have a party, He and the pets can sleep in the “Christmas Room”.

  205. 205
    Achrachno says:

    I’m afraid your having a frequently soggy yard may be the new normal. Some projections say the wet parts of country will get wetter and the dry parts, like where I am, will eat dust. Too much CO2, despite what the idiots say.

  206. 206
    Kelly says:


    Speaking of taxes – I meant to write to Anderson/Mayhew about this: Those lovely ACA subsidies of hundreds of dollars a month for insurance? The are reported on IRS form 1095 AND ARE FULLY TAXABLE AS ORDINARY INCOME!

    No, the 1095 is to reconcile your estimated modified adjusted gross income with your actual year end MAGI. The subsidy is not taxable income. If you did not cross the subsidy cliff and you were within a thousand bucks or so it should be a small repayment of subsidy or maybe a few more Obamacare bucks.
    It is not a 1099.

  207. 207
    Suzanne says:


    The easiest thing is to get a guy with a skid steer to come out and regrade your yard.


  208. 208
    Jager says:


    Or rent a Bob Cat and have some real fun!

  209. 209
  210. 210
    Jager says:


    They can take a hell of a bite, but a day or so of practice at the controls…

  211. 211

    @Jager: Remember, we’re talking about John “How did I injure myself today” Cole.

  212. 212
    Aurona says:

    @Christine Stier: Exactly! The Northwest, Seattle public utility folks specifically, promote rain gardens. I bet you can do rain gardens and raised beds and make it look really cool but be very practical.

  213. 213
    ruemara says:

    before we wonder about drainage, you could use the natural slope, dig a hole, line it and have a nice natural pond. Think outside the box, JC! Home raised trout!

  214. 214
    Jager says:


    His sister could run it for him

  215. 215


    Home raised trout!

    I’m sure Steve would love that idea.

    @Jager: Would that make a difference, she’s a Cole.

  216. 216
    gene108 says:


    we put all of our pots on the wall, and are about to add a small bed between the top of the wall and the outcropping of Boulders. (Told you, rocks.)

    Had to read this a few times before it made sense. I though you meant kitchen pots and beds like those in bedrooms. Very confusing why those would go on an outdoor retaining wall.

  217. 217
    The Ancient Randonneur says:


    Or rent a Bob Cat and have some real fun!

    You really do want Cole to win a Darwin Award, don’t you?

  218. 218
    Mary G says:

    This is so bizarre it had to have happened in Florida:

    Sweet Jesus, I am laughing so hard at this. #lovecraftiannightmare— Derek French (@bio_derek) June 21, 2018

  219. 219
    Aleta says:

    @ruemara: Skating rink when it freezes! Frog jumping contests in the spring.

  220. 220
    Aleta says:

    (@Aleta: I can jump six or more at a time if they will sit there quietly in a row.)

  221. 221
    Mary G says:

    The steaks being grilled at WH this morning for the congressional picnic smell absolutely delicious— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) June 20, 2018

    One of the comments:

    “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 20, 2018

    Chelsea has become a master at the polite but deadly Twitter response. Luv huh!

  222. 222
    scav says:

    @Mary G: Trės bien indeed. She’ll do.

    One can also look forward to their eventual grilling in other, more grand and juried, contexts.

  223. 223
    Meg says:

    Not sure if you will read comment 223, but I will write it anyway.
    It looks like you might benefit from having a dry retention pond.
    Dig a pond, line it with nice rocks. It looks decorative when it is dry and allows water somewhere to go when it rains.

  224. 224
    Mary G says:

    @Meg: I learn so much on this blog. That is a simple, elegant solution.

  225. 225
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Heee! I was much younger and that may have been what I tried to use, but no one in my group of acquaintances back then had heard of Lucia or Georgie, nor did they have a droll sense of humor and I thought It would be very droll to use that.

    I like ‘Hello sweetie!” but I always forget to use it, which may be a mercy because what’s just as likely to come out of my mouth is “Hello sailor!”

  226. 226
    Meg says:

    @Mary G: Thanks. I learned that in a water-saving gardening class provided by our water company.

  227. 227
    bluefish says:

    I think it’s be-you-tee-ful, your back yard. Whatchu talkin bout? And, yes, on the new intensity of the rains.

  228. 228
    Bruce K says:

    Regarding the rains, it’s not just a local phenomenon. Here in Athens, Greece, we’ve been getting thundershowers that my aunt swears used to only happen in late autumn, only now they’re hitting in mid-June. The rain’s a help against forest fires, but after a certain point, it starts to get ridiculous.

  229. 229
    Origuy says:

    I just got back from seeing “Incredibles 2”; my housemates and I watched “The Incredibles” last night on DVD. I’d never see it before. The first one was very good; the second was one of Pixar’s best, if not the best. A really fun ride.

  230. 230
    Aleta says:

    The Trump administration has been paying an intelligence contractor millions of dollars to to fly immigrant children to shelters across the United States. MVM, Inc has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide “unaccompanied alien children (UAC) transportation services” worth $162 million, according to records reviewed by The Daily Beast.

    MVM’s recent job postings show it sought to hire people to escort immigrant children from the border on commercial airlines. MVM is one of a number of defense contractors cashing in on the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of locking up immigrant families.

    The policy was implemented in early April and soon after MVM posted several of job advertisements looking for employees to escort immigrant children in cities like Phoenix, Arizona, San Antonio, and McAllen, Texas…. In a posting for a “Bilingual Travel Youth Care Worker,” MVM sought escorts for “unaccompanied children and teens.” The job would entail “accompanying them on domestic flights and via ground transportation to shelters all over the country.”

    Job reviews for MVM “travel specialist” positions in McAllen posted shortly before the Trump administration took office offer more details about the work.

    Civil rights advocates say that the Department of Homeland Security has shown a troubling lack of transparency in how it’s transporting immigrant children and that defense contractors are an inappropriate choice for handling the sensitive work.

    “It’s horrible, but not surprising, that military contractors which have profited from the deaths of innocent civilians around the world would be hired to transport little children from their parents,” said Wells Dixon, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “It’s further evidence that President Trump thinks he’s at war with immigrant families fleeing persecution, including babies. Someone has to pitch in to do his dirty work when ICE and DHS are overwhelmed with crying children.”

    MVM’s contract dates back to 2014 when a wave of children fleeing gang and cartel violence in Central America began arriving at the U.S. border in search of asylum.

    Before it transported immigrant children for the government, MVM was better known as a contractor providing guards for CIA and NSA facilities in Iraq. A since-dismissed lawsuit by a former employee of the company alleged that employees in Iraq were “procuring and possessing unauthorized weapons and explosives.”

    The use of commercial airlines to ferry separated immigrant children around the country prompted has a backlash from the airline industry. In the past 48 hours, major airlines like American, Frontier, and United have all issued statements refusing to participate in Trump’s policy, earning them an angry rebuke from a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson who accused the companies of “buckling to a false media narrative.”

    A viral Facebook post was shared by the friend of a flight attendant who claimed to have witnessed flights of separated kids. … The flight attendant at the center of the post said she saw 16 immigrant children ranging from 6 to 11 years old “all dressed in black and gray cheap Walmart sweat suits” with “scared eyes looking straight forward dazed” on board a recent flight.

    The Arizona Star tracked down the flight in question, an American Airlines redeye from Phoenix, Arizona, to Miami, Florida. Whether the children on board had been separated from their parents remains unclear.

    –Spencer Ackerman at Daily Beast

  231. 231
    SectionH says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I never got That into it. Also, have never seen the TV show (PBS in US) that my mom loved – I just read All the books she tracked down and bought. Wasn’t easy for her then, no matched sets. Lotsa OP… And I’m not dissing TV, because my Mom wouldn’t have known about the books without the show. I was just never home long enough to watch anything.)

    @opiejeanne: Hello Sweetie has a very different meaning to some of us now who are River Song fans.

  232. 232
    Dan B says:

    Meg, Mary G., and all;

    Drainage, hydrological cycles that determine abundance or famine, civilization or worldwide Syrian-level collapse, balance on an understanding or lack of understanding of of our relationship to the real world and the myths that we construct. Human animals resist understanding logically. Until we understand thst humans are not evil but are easily misked and persuaded we will struggle to progress. Anything hidden below the surface will produce the unexpected and the toxic.

  233. 233
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:


    Man, y’all don’t have to deal with retention out there in, well, anywhere that is not the desert.

    We do, but not for a single building lot. I’ve designed some huge ones to handle drainage fur entire subdivisions near the coast. Turning the retention into something decorative is growing in popularity here and is one reason I prefer rain gardens over French drains. Another is that I like recharging the groundwater instead of carrying runoff away.

    You probably know this, but for people who have never seen one: a rain garden is a small retention area planted with water-tolerant local vegetation. NC is not unique in having a specific list of approved plantings. Strictly speaking, it should be fairly deep with a perforated pipe about midway down and filled mostly with stone, then covered with enough soil to support the plantings, but I’ve seen them done as planted swales on really small jobs. It’s supposed to hold the water to allow time for a slow-percolating soil to absorb it; the perforated pipe is for overflow and set several inches above the bottom of the gravel layer.

  234. 234
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    No offense to this thread — it’s a very nice thread — but it’s been up now for nine hours. All the usual night FPs must have been otherwise occupied. Well, almost time for AL’s pre-scheduled morning post and Alain’s “On the Road.” Since I didn’t get a wink of sleep, I’m looking forward to fresh threads.

  235. 235
    Jeff says:

    It’s pointless to seed grass in the summer. Grass goes dormant in the heat. Live with the weeds for the summer and seed in September,

  236. 236
    way2blue says:

    Why does your backyard need to be level? Can you add subtle relief to exploit whichever direction the natural drainage is? [I can see that you’re a fairly rectilinear guy, so maybe this doesn’t fit your landscape scheme, but my back lawn has a shallow, curving ‘stream bed’ down the middle that collects & directs sprinkler water down the rather shallow natural slope.]

    Or perhaps, add a slight hump down the middle like a soccer field — so water drains to the sides?

  237. 237
    Sherparick says:

    @TenguPhule:Well, Ross really came across as amoral idiot. But the Base believes their Hero has a secret plan & winning these trade wars so they are going off the cliff cheering wildly.

  238. 238
    satby says:

    Is it morning yet?

  239. 239
    Immanentize says:

    @satby: It seems to be.

  240. 240
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @raven: Good to hear!!

  241. 241
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Good news.

  242. 242
    rikyrah says:

    No Morning Thread yet?😔

  243. 243
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Well seeing as Anne is asleep at the wheel, ;-), I guess I’ll just post this here: Dorothea Lange’s Censored Photographs of FDR’s Japanese Concentration Camps

    Humor is the only thing that mellows life, shows life as the circus it is. After being uprooted, everything seemed ridiculous, insane, and stupid. There we were in an unfinished camp, with snow and cold. The evacuees helped sheetrock the walls for warmth and built the barbed wire fence to fence themselves in. We had to sing ‘God Bless America’ many times with a flag. Guards all around us with shot guns, you’re not going to walk out. I mean… what could you do? So many crazy things happened in the camp. So the joke and humor I saw in the camp was not in a joyful sense, but ridiculous and insane. It was dealing with people and situations.… I tried to make the best of it, just adapt and adjust.

    — Mine Okubo, Tanforan Assembly Center

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  244. 244
    lowtechcyclist says:

    As you look out into the back yard, John, is that a wooded area to the left near the back? And is it lower than your back yard? Might could drain the water in that direction.

    Main thing is, like others have said, find SOME way to make sure that that standing water doesn’t make contact with your house. Stuff that gets wet, deteriorates over time.

    Anyone buying a house should ALWAYS get an inspection before the deal is final. (Too late for John, maybe not for some of the rest of you.) A big part of that inspection should always be about water. (1) Will the roof keep the water out? and (2) where does the water in the yard go? Will it stay away from the house?

  245. 245
    opiejeanne says:

    @SectionH: That’s where I got it.

  246. 246
    Spanky says:


    It’s pointless to seed grass in the summer. Grass goes dormant in the heat. Live with the weeds for the summer and seed in September,

    Will I seed you in September?

    I know it’s a well-dead thread, but I couldn’t resist.

  247. 247
    FlyingToaster says:

    @gene108: Pots of peppers (habañero, jalapeño, serrano, ancho, lunchbox (sweet), onions), cherry tomatoes and cilantro. Those don’t do well in the miniscule garden on the south side of the house, so we tried them in pots on the back terrace wall, where they produce. The garden gets the sauce tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, tomatillos, gargantua sage, basil. Pots on the patio (part-shade) get oregano, rosemary, chives, marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme, more basil. Tall pots on the side porch get lettuces and bay laurel — the rabbits can’t reach the lettuces, and the squirrels aren’t fond of the bay leaf scent.

    The bed will be for cukes, strawberries, and edamame. Fall with saffron poppies. Maybe next year we’ll add melons.

  248. 248
    Seanly says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Based on the issues with the tank, it’d be better to convert to another source. However, the old tank still has to be removed.

    My wife & I fell in love with a house on the Boise Bench. Late 50’s modern that still had the original GE electric appliances. We ultimately passed on it for several reasons. But a big one was the cost to get rid of a buried oil tank. The removal of the tank was the easy part – cleaning up the spilled oil was a big issue.

  249. 249
    frances says:

    @efgoldman: @<a href="#comment-6916829"

    An APTC is an Advance Premium Tax Credit which can be used monthly to help with the premium OR taken/claimed at tax filing time. Since when do you pay taxes on a tax credit?

    Some people CLAIM incorrect info on their application and come tax time it turns out they were not eligible for the tax credit they got and spent which would then need to get paid back. The application repeatedly instructs the person requesting the TAX CREDIT to call the Marketplace if their family or income situation changes.

    NO Tax gets paid on the subsidy unless its stupid tax for getting one based on incorrect info.

  250. 250
    No One You Know says:

    @jacy: Oh, yes. Gotta replace a bathroom, and siding/Windows would be a very good idea. Of course, so would another 2 or 3 incomes…

  251. 251
    Bokonon says:

    Plant some river birches – they will hork up all the water.

    For real. They are pretty trees (yellow bark, dark green leaves), and they help dry out problem areas in wet yards.


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