Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jet Spray Panic

Back at our old ranch in Manitoba, we had a typical prairie septic system with a split holding tank, one for solids which was cleaned out once a year and one for liquids. The liquid side had a floating pill switch and once full, pumped out through a long pipe some 200yards out into the pasture where it went through a jet spray and was spread onto the pasture to filter through the 15 feet of top soil and sand back to the water table. This is a common system still in use there today and is very reliable, until small children swallow orange or cherry pips.
The jet spray is buried 8 feet down so as to be frost free in the winter and to get the necessary pressure to spray the fluids above ground there is a narrowing of the pipe called a venturi, much like putting your finger over the garden hose. The pipe is one inch in diameter but the venturi is only one quarter of an inch, now picture an orange pip when it meets the venturi! Just like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam. My children in there gusto for fruit would swallow the pip which would float into the fluid tank ,pass through the large pump and lodge eight feet down in the venturi plugging up the sewer usually in winter always when its 30c below zero!! The rule was made and thoroughly executed that all fruit was peeled, segmented,de-pitted and inspected by a parent before consumption NO exceptions.
Daddy you see had had enough of trudging out to the field in arctic like gales often through snow banks,to remove the eight foot pipe to unblock the venturi. All I might add done with bare hands as the screws are to small to handle with warm gloves.The children had experienced my wrath and barn language in these matters and eagerly worked with the new rules and still chuckle at the memory of those events.
Fast forwarding to today its cherry season in our part of the world and munching on big black juicy cherries is a favorite treat. Yesterday while chatting to my daughter in the kitchen she was absent mindedly picking cherries out of the bowl and munching while chatting to me. Suddenly she stopped mid sentence and said "crap, Ive swallowed two pips". Horror spread over her face, she visibly stiffened and I could see flash backs taking place, visions of fatherly wrath, followed by Anglo Saxon adjectives. Then a relaxing and a smile. "Thank goodness we are at the new place," she said. Yep she's got that right no jet spray and not arctic fronts. I wonder if she will be checking her children's plates before they are allowed to wolf the cherries and orange segments. If not I have the experience to train the grand children.

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