Problem, with Ramble


I have a little problem.

Let’s take a closer look.

It’s my culvert.

Just barely, you can see the cement that braces the culvert on this side. Way under water.

The culvert isn’t draining properly, and why is a mystery hidden under 100 feet of pipe.

That’s right, 100 feet of pipe. It might make sense to, you know, EVERYONE, to simply run the pipe under the drive to the barn here–and here only–

–and then release the water into the, you know, NATURAL CREEK. After all, what does the pipe need to do but let you drive freely to the barn? But no! That is not what has been done. The pipe runs way, way on across the rear barn yard, bypassing the natural creek and setting up 100 feet of pipe waiting to clog or collapse.

The bypassed natural creek bed:

The creek has been bypassed for 100 feet to let out way over here on the other side of the rear barn yard.

From there, it runs down a ditch to rejoin the creek where another (short and therefore properly working culvert) runs beneath the right-of-ways on my farm and then releases on out into the continuing natural creek bed.

Why such a lengthy pipe run was laid is a deep and mysterious question. For one thing, it sets up a situation in which you have a serious amount of pipe underground, and trouble awaits. Second, bypassing the creek means there is no naturally flowing water in the rear barn yard. The natural creek bed only has water in it after a rain–and that water comes from the overflow due to the blocked culvert.

I’ve tried all kinds of self-help and minor assisted-help. My cousin helped me dig out the release ditch in hopes that would improve water flow. When I had the septic issues in December and they brought a backhoe, I had them clean out the culvert, hoping for improved water flow. I had Sean and Sean (the superboys) get shovels one day and dig into the pipes (yes, there are two pipes at the start, then only one pipe coming out at the release point–why???) to try to improve water flow.

Nothing is working.

I believe the best solution is to dig up the pipe where it crosses the drive to the front barn yard, find out if anything is wrong in that section, then cut it off. Bypass the 100 feet of nonsensical pipe and release the water right past the fence INTO THE NATURAL CREEK BED.

Because I just can’t take this anymore. I can’t drive to the barn because it’s always wet. I need to drive to the barn to offload feed, materials, and sometimes hay. Some days, I can barely walk to the barn for walking through a pond.

I explained my plan to Dave and Matt.

They said, “Whatever you want us to do, we’ll do it.”

And, by the way, that right there is why you need a Dave and Matt. Or sometimes you might just need a Sean and Sean. Often times, you might need a cousin Mark. Or even a neighbor Jim or a neighbor Andy. Or even an old neighbor Skip. Or an old farmer Lonnie. But, ladies, what you don’t need is a man.

I’ve resolved to be a non-practicing lesbian. Let me explain. I coined this term some time back. In fact, I used it in one of my romance novels, though I can’t remember which one now because I can’t remember most of them. I had first decided to be a non-practicing lesbian back in my old farmhouse days. Back then, I tried to talk Georgia into being a non-practicing lesbian, too. We’d have a non-practicing lesbian compound! Georgia always found me amusing in a sort of baffling way.

Non-practicing lesbian means you aren’t actually a lesbian (that’s the non-practicing part), but you don’t want to be with a man (that’s the lesbian part).

This is especially handy if a man tries to hit on you. You just explain, “I’m sorry. I’m a non-practicing lesbian.” That really ends the conversation, ladies, because they are so confused. So write that one down.

You’re welcome.

I was talked out of my non-practicing lesbianism at one point, and I lived to regret it, so learn from me.

Now back to telling men what to do and THEY DO IT.

Dave and Matt will be here on Monday, and as God is my witness, I will never walk to the barn through a pond again. And when they’re done, they’ll leave. (This is a key component in non-practicing lesbianism. The men do what you tell them to do, then they leave. It’s totally empowering.)

P.S. I apologize to all of you who are happily married or etc. Carry on. Consider naught of my silly dribble.

The rest of you, take heed!


  1. perry says:

    Your farm problems sound like our house problems right now, there is no end to them, lol. I say go for it, what have you got to lose but 100 ft of pipe to nowhere. Good luck!

  2. bonita says:

    Yes! I’ve been a NPL for years! For a while I was even a Marxist NPL! That really kept them at bay. Although, I must admit there are times when even a NPL has to batt her eyelashes or ply tradesmen with baked goodies…
    {btw check out your Kickstarter link… above]

  3. MousE says:

    NPL, that’s just perfect! I’ve been independent for… lessee…. um… since…. 1976. ! OMG that makes me really old…. nevermind. But. Raised my daughter all by my lonesome – Well ok that’s not true, I had good friends – female I might add – who helped along the way. After my heart got broken into a million pieces, I said, never again. And now I know what to say! ANYhoo, my gosh, Suzanne, the problems just keep… keeping on. Wow. But you will overcome them! Now go tell those men what to do! And look at that kickstart fund growing.

    good luck with the pipe that goeth nowhere….. Love the “as god is my witness” line btw.

  4. Sonia says:

    LOL!! I shall remember that term.

  5. jan n tn says:

    Maybe the 100 foot of pipe is there to keep the ‘natural creek’ from becoming a ‘natural gorge’ through the barn yard. Just sayin’ If this is the case, you may consider lining the creek bed with large rock or recycled concrete(parking lot)to slow down the erosion. I know it’s a pain to have a puddle or POND, in your case. But a much bigger problem to stop your real-estate and fencing from going down stream in the spring rains.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      jan, this a creek that starts on my farm not far from where this location is. I’ve been observing it for a few months now. It’s not likely to become a gorge–it’s a pretty small creek, even when it’s full from rains. I know how small creeks can become big creeks! But this is not far from the origin, so there’s not a lot coming at it. The creek bed through the rear barn yard is lined with natural rocks, so should be fine.

  6. twiggityNDgoats says:

    After seeing your problem first hand, getting rid of that long pipe is needed so I’m glad that’s going to happen soon. Just be sure to put in a large enough pipe to handle a storm flow (my hydrogeologist self talking). As one who has to deal with several culverts, the key to keeping them flowing is to check on them often and make sure that they are not blocked with sticks and leaves. I go out immediately after storms to make sure they are still flowing. If you see blockage get it out ASAP so that the flowing water will help clean out any accumulated debris inside it. So glad you pond will be going away.

  7. easygoinglady says:

    Well now, this reminds me of the issue I had, when i moved into my house. Except mine was INSIDE the house, in the basement. Water conditioner tank and hot water heater were located on the side of the basement that DID NOT have a floor drain. They had dug a trench into the floor, routed it to an under the floor drain that flowed over to the floor drain on the other side. Of course at times, a clog would happen somewhere along the way and the water would overflow the banks of the trench and I had a small lake in the basement.
    I studied it, and decided on what I thought was the logical thing to do….MOVE water conditioner and hot water tank over near the drain, so on those occasions when an actual overflow might occur, it goes directly to the drain instead of making a lake.
    I know, seems simple, right? So why did it take me to figure this out, the water conditioner had been there for 20 years and the water heater longer. Makes me scratch my head and ask….What were they thinking when they came up with this plan!
    Bottom line is, my idea worked and has been working for more than 15 years. I truly have no idea why it was done that way in the first place, other than that was the corner the water entered the house.

  8. Tawanka says:

    Diverting the pipe sounds like a logical plan. But in the back of my mind I keep thinking the guy that originally laid the pipe must have had a reason (dumb as it may seem). Have you checked with your local county agent? Sometimes they can actually make good suggestions or share some background on the problem you are having. I have had to recontour my property a couple of times to correct the drainage problem created by a man that wasn’t thinking of a longterm solution, just a quick one (typical). Best of luck.

  9. Diane says:

    Suzanne you are so funny. I am married and happily so most days. But it would be so nice to have a few extra men to call up and have them do what I want do it and I can send them on their way. I am jellous of you. lol. Now all I got is I will get to it in a moment and it after nagging like a good wife does it may get done or I have to do it myself. So all the power to you woman!!! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  10. shirley T says:

    Poor Suzanne, wasn’t for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all. :hug: Seems like you are going one step forward and one step backward. Let us pray the weather stays good until your boys’ can get it all done. :shimmy:

  11. SanAntonioSue says:

    Now, Suzanne! I’ve been married to my high-school sweetie-pie 28 years but, some days, am most definitely a NPL and have been for many years!! There ARE reasons, other than pleasure, why I agreed to the purchase of a fishing boat and a workshop with a recliner, fridge, cable tv and a dvd player……muhahaha (twirling my faux mustache)…. :devil2:

  12. shirley T says:

    I’m thinking the psychic sister, who lived there before you, knew all this was going to happen soon and she picked you because she knew that you could handle it 😥

  13. lattelady says:

    I LOVE that term. Amazing. Yes, even a NPL can turn her head coyly and bat her eyelashes. That is a ‘tool’ to help get things done. 😀 Just like fresh baked goodies.

  14. Murphala says:

    I know this is a whole lot bigger, but can’t someone run a snake in there to see what it hits, and maybe even pull (a little bit) out or loosen it? Even just to diagnose the problem a little more? But if it’s small, it may just be that enough sediment has accumulated that it’s almost totally blocked so you would have to dig.
    Can the ends just be sealed off and then forgotten about? I agree that getting an expert eye, i.e., the county agent, would be a good idea before doing anything else. Hope this resolves soon!

  15. thistlewoodmanor says:

    Been there, done that. Took me three tries to get the (mostly) perfect man, so don’t give up totally; but it sure is nice when you don’t have to worry about the relationship stuff and can just tell ’em what to do!

  16. wildcat says:

    I’m married for 11 years to a great guy who treats me well. But if anything ever happens to him, I will be an NPL too. Husbands require so much effort. I like the idea that a man will just show up, do what you tell him to do, and then leave. LOL I have probably always been an NPL at heart, I just didn’t know what it was called until now. :yes:

  17. lberry says:

    :sheepjump: I’ve always said I want to be a lesbian without the sex so now you’ve given me a better way to express it. Thanks! Where’s the compound I wanna join!

  18. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’m sorry you’re having this problem on top of everything else, but I sure do love your rambles Suzanne!

    We have an old spring area that has some old concrete culverts along its paths, not the whole way, and all I think it does is help prevent wash outs during heavy rains. They were added as my father and uncles came across them… no idea where though! They just appeared out back every now and then. I don’t THINK they were the type to just help themselves at road projects, but you never know! They were all depression survivors and made do with whatever they found!

  19. Karen H says:

    Aww I feel bad that you are having so many problems with your new farm. It sure will be wonderful, for you, when everything is fixed. About the NPL thing….I have a friend that says that also and when men continue to pursue her she
    looks at them and says in a very strong voice “CAN YOU SPELL L-E-S-B-I-A-N? LOL People say the funniest things.

  20. trudyh says:

    My life has been so much more peaceful since I became a NPL, no kidding.

    All this repair stuff reminds me of when I moved into the first house I bought. The good thing is, once it’s over, you know all your house systems and you know they’re okay.

  21. cabynfevr says:

    I’m married, no offense taken here! lol I kinda like the sounds of it. Where is that compound? Good luck with the “pond”!

  22. LisaAJB says:

    Suzanne, even for us married folk there’s something to be said for telling a man what to do and having him do it! Your farm troubles remind me of our house troubles. We’ve done some work on the house since we’ve moved in in September and everything we find something wring we think, “why would they do it that way? That makes no sense. Our way is much easier!” And then we fix it and move on to the next project. Good luck iwith your 100 feet of pipe! :happyflower:

  23. LisaAJB says:

    Oh forgive my typos. I have this iPad auto correct! It should say every time we find something wrong. Sigh.

  24. UlrikeDG says:

    I’m pretty sure my husband would agree with you on the “and then he leaves” front. He’d probably be pretty upset if the plumber moved in with us. 😆

  25. Goldenval says:

    I can’t understand why someone would go to so much trouble re-routing that water if it wasn’t necessary….or at least they FELT it was because of some problems they were having. Maybe putting that water into the creek would flood your pastures. Can you find a neighbor that’s lived there a long while that may know why it was done that way….maybe locate a previous owner? Do you have to have a permit to do this? Maybe you can find an old permit at the town hall. Water is such a pain in the patootie when it doesn’t do what you want it to. Hate to see you re-do everything only to find out there was a valid reason for it to be that way. (avoiding a bigger problem maybe) Some of these really old-timers are pretty smart when it comes to stuff like this. Good luck. And….oh yes…I agree with the NPL….it’s just….EASIER.

  26. jeepdriver says:

    Food for thought: maybe he laid 100 feet of pipe because his brother was a pipe fitter and he had a pill of pipe sitting in the yard. He needed to use it for something!

    I’m 62 and have been a NPL for over 15 years except I call it BAV, born again virgin. I’ve never been happier, healthier or wealthier. Just sayin.

  27. NancyL says:

    Now I get it – you’ve just described men (most men) as grandchildren! You keep them for a few hours, get them to do stuff around the house, and then you send them home! I love the idea of NPL – I’ve definitely been one for several years!!!

  28. JoJo says:

    Back many, many years ago when a man ran into a woman they could not conquer, the man would refer to her as a “libber”, things have changed a lot over those many years, and I am not familiar what a NPL is–I guess I am really out of touch :yes:

  29. elewis2 says:

    Susan you may want to check with the DNR about this some areas of the country have laws governing animals and their waste being allowed in and along streams. Usually something like this has a good reason wouldn’t hurt to check with them before you find them knocking on your door. Might be cheaper to rent some equipment than to do the work twice and still have the problem to deal with also.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Several people have asked me about the creek and animals. That is not an issue. This creek’s source is my farm, for one thing, and for another thing, this creek already runs through existing fenced pastures both before and after the barn yard.

  30. WvSky says:

    Problem number 3 was that the previous idiots used corrugated pipe instead of smooth. NOTHING will trap debris, especially sticks and twigs like corrugated pipe. I agree, cut as much off as possible and make it so that you stand a chance to unclog it in the future, because it always will.

  31. WvSky says:

    Let me rephrase that last statement: Corrugated pipe is fine if it LARGE diameter. But this 12 or 14 inch stuff has no business being used in this manner.

  32. Hengal says:

    Oh Suzanne I’m so sorry for your trouble but I laughed out loud at your post! Had to read it to DH!!!! Hope things ate fixed soon!

  33. lavenderblue says:

    I have a question. Where is the backed-up water coming from? I assume it isn’t from the septic system, since you are letting the dogs drink from it. And if your weather has been like ours, it is definitely not snow melt.

  34. JerseyMom says:

    Hahahahahahahaha…. I’m married – for 32 years! – but if I had it to do over again I think I’d say “I’m a non-practicing lesbian, but thanks anyway.: Hahahahahahahaha

  35. FujiQ says:

    Hmmmmmmm too bad “eunuch” isn’t the appropriate word here. It really doesn’t get enough use in our modern vernacular.

  36. princessvanessa says:

    My sister and I (both of us are happily divorced) have often said that what we each need is “a wife”. You know….someone to cook, clean and run all the many errands that we did when we were married (plus work a full time job).
    I kind of like the non-practicing lesbian idea; I’ll also take “a wife” though.

  37. Gwen says:

    Even though i am married, i know exactly how you feel, i love my hubby, but sometimes………….:)

  38. Merryment says:

    Sometimes folks get stubborn and they want the water to go where they want it to go. But water is a force of nature, and as the saying goes, seeks its own level. Let the water show you the way. You’ll both be happier.

    Loved your ramble! I’m a proud, gen-yoo-wine PL, and let me tell you, some guys kind of like the idea, so the pronouncement of being a NPL should be used with caution. Just sayin’. I can’t tell you how many men have sidled up and said “I’m a lesbian in a man’s body” and I tell them I have a friend they need to meet, because he loves going out with guys who think they are lesbians. Usually shuts ’em up.

    But in fairness, there are a lots of really great guys out there; I work with a maintenance shop full of them, so don’t be too harsh with them. They are wired differently, so you’re never going to work with them like you do other gals. But then again, I just hire them for labor and send them home too… :wave:

  39. CarrieJ says:

    I’m happily married but that is still GENIUS..I will save that in my bank.

  40. Grouchymama says:

    Who the heck is ramble? Had to chuckle about the NPL-understand the frustration that comes when you can’t do “man” things or have “man” knowledge. Many married women have the same problem but have too many years invested to admit it. Ha! You are getting an education in the School of Hard Knocks. Those lessons will not be forgotten easily. Just take it one day at a time and ask lots of questions and double check everything before you dig. Now you know why they say it is a “Man’s world”. Not fair but sure seems that way unless you have a lot of money and can get it done by way of the leaky checkbook. Group hug to you!

  41. Grouchymama says:

    Well….there are “men” projects and there are “women” projects and sometimes they cross over, if you know what I mean. I think psychic sister needed someone who would not ask for a home inspection before she sold the farm. She saw you as a single woman who “just fell off the turnip truck” and bam…you had yourself a farm. If more women were able to be independent, you would see single women everywhere. Not everyone has a leaky pen that can write a check to get everything done just the way they want it with the greenbacks to pay for it. You are doing a great job-eventually everything will settle down.

  42. Hugh says:

    So what about us guys? Is it acceptable for me to be a “Non-practicing homosexual” and just hire females for various projects?

    …just askin’…

  43. Merryment says:

    Sure thing, Hugh! I do trade-offs with some guy friends of mine all the time – home brew and farmstead cheese in exchange for wiring, eggs (and eggs and eggs) and sourdough bread for work under the house. It’s all fair.

    Also, I invite both genders to cross the role line a bit. My brother taught his wife how to do laundry, and he makes a mean spaghetti. I bought a HUD house, and learned lots about tiling, sheet rocking, painting, plumbing and how to build a fence. I still hate going under the house, though!

    Maybe the main message is to value the skill and work of others without making it an expectation/condition of a relationship. And if you carry that attitude forward into a good relationship, working together is so much easier.

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