Sunday, June 19, 2005

a downside of country living

Cliff and I have never had a water bill, in thirty-nine years of marriage.  Each of the places we've owned has had a well.  So that means free water, right?

Most of the time, yes.  Until something goes wrong with your well, or with the pump.

Several years ago the metal casing of our well rusted through and allowed sand into our water supply.  That makes for some gritty drinking.  The only solution was to drill a new well.  It was a mess, and very expensive.  But we got it done.  Metal casings are no longer used in wells, so that problem shouldn't occur again.

If we lose electricity, we lose water, since electricity keeps the pump running.  That, however, is usually short-lived... unless there's been an ice storm, and the power outage lasts for days, which has only happened once in our time here. 

Cliff rigged a light on a pole outside so we know when the pump is running.  The reason for this being that most things that go wrong with a pump will cause it to run often, or even constantly.  So if that light stays on all the time, or comes on too often, we know there's a problem.

Lately, it's been coming on too often.

We warned our renter yesterday to get some water in containers to use, because we'd be pulling the pump.  Cliff set a bucket of "flushing water" in the bathtub, and I got a big pan of cooking-and-drinking water ready in the kitchen, just in case.  You see, we've had things go wrong in the process of pulling the pump out of that 130-foot hole.  There's no way of knowing if things will go smoothly or not; and on weekends, it can be difficult to get parts.

There were two things that needed fixing:  there's a rope hooked to the pump, far down there in the water, that is used to pull the pump up when needed; the metal it attaches to had rusted through, so we had no rope for pulling it.  We had to rely on the pipe that carries the water to us to hang onto the pump fastened onto its bottom end, and bring it up.  And Cliff had to figure out a way to hold onto the slippery black plastic pipe while he got a new hold on it and made the next pull.  With the help of the John Deere tractor and Travis next door, who operated the tractor, we got the pump pulled, ten feet or so at a time.  Cliff is better at "making do" on things like this than anyone I've ever known.  He's saved us a fortune over the years with his ingenuity.  I'm sure, just yesterday, he saved us three or four hundred dollars.  Bruce, up the road from us, is the only person I know of who will pull pumps and work on wells:  his services are very expensive. 

The other thing that needed fixing was a fitting close to the top, which had cracked.  This was the culprit that had recently caused our "warning light" to be on a lot.

It wasn't easy, but things went much more smoothly than I expected.  We started the job around 11 A.M., and by 4 P.M., it was finished. 

Thank You Lord that we got it done!  And thank you, Cliff, for your ability to improvise. 



pinkroseal said...

    Mo this is a great sight,  you are gifted and good you are using this talent.
 Keep up the good writing.  I enjoy your journal.  Pinkroseal. Great pictures also.
 Having been raised on a farm I truly appreciate your enteries.

csandhollow said...

I remember when I lived in Texas. We had a well that was only 20 feet deep. It was fed by an underground stream that none of the other farms had tapped into. In 100 years it had never gone dry. We would dip water out when the power would go off.

ksquester said...

You two amaze me.....Anne

cyandfayedavis said...

I saw my husband do this once the day after he had had angioplasti.  That night we had to call the Dr. and get help.  Making do is an art form that my husband has mastered too.

plieck30 said...

Been there and done that. We have much more trouble since we rented the farm house out then when we lived there. You are right that water isn't free anymore when you have to hire one of those well men. Paula

jevanslink said...

I woke up this morning and there was no electricity.  So I dialed an 800 number and pressed a couple of buttons, then I went out to breakfast.  When I got back to the house the power was on.  I would not survive in your environment.  Mrs. L

ryanagi said...

Wow...can Cliff install hardwood floors? I wanna borrow him. LOL

marainey1 said...

You are so blessed !  'On Ya' - ma

bookncoffee said...

Wow this is interesting.  And I'm glad it turned out well.  Maybe that is why it is called a well b/c you wish it will turn out well.  
he he.