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.