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Friday, July 29, 2011


When we first bought our house, taped onto and inside almost half of the cabinet doors of the kitchen were notes on what to do if there was no water.  Since we completely renovated the house and replaced the holding tank for the well, we never were particularly concerned.  Our only apprehension was that the well itself was drilled adjacent to the house and incorporated into the basement structure of our house.  Along the driveway, there is a large concrete surface about 18 inches above the ground and in the basement (which is actually a cellar) you skirt through the parts that would be behind the house and in the back is where all the gear for our well is.  It's a damp, dark, desolate room that I try to avoid as much as possible.  In fact, I think I've managed to only visit that area two or three times in the eight years we've lived here.

Most places we've been or looked at tend to have the well drilled away from the house.   In the "old" days, people used to put those sweet little rounded stone walls with a roof on their wells so that they could draw water from it with a bucket.  In fact, there's a farm near us that has a beautiful field stone well wall in their yard from days of yore.

We were not so lucky.  All we got was a white and green, aluminum clad, falling down, double seater, faux outhouse.
(this is not a picture of our faux outhouse but is quite close except our roof was dark green)

Yes, that's right, I referred to an outhouse as faux.  Why might I do this? Because although the outhouse was equipped with everything from the half moon door to the double seats inside,

 there was no ditch for the "function" portion of the outhouse.  We attempted to move the outhouse several years ago to use it as a shed near our now non-existent garden, but as soon as Erik lifted it with the skid loader bucket, it fell apart.

Anyway, the well is located basically beneath our house.  In the almost eight years we've lived here, it's never given us a lick of trouble other than our holding tank at times not being able to keep up with our demand  and that is usually only when an animal has knocked the automatic waterer off the base and caused the trough to overflow or if the kids have decided to crack open one of the frost free's

and make mud puddles, mud pies, or cover each other in mud.

That is, until now.  

The last few months have been abnormally dry around here.  About three weeks ago, we started having problems with water.  Our first fear was that our well was running dry.  We'd have periodic spells where we'd be running water and then all of a sudden, the water would stop.  Not good.  We immediately implemented our best conservation practices; doing a few loads of laundry at the laundry mat, restricting showers (the kids take a nightly bath in the pool except Saturday when we wash them in the shower and wash their hair), unplugging our commercial icemaker (I'm sure this seems frivolous to many people, but having a limitless supply of ice for Erik to take to work daily, especially during this recent heat, is almost essential), not running the dishwasher, etc.  When you think about what is required of our well daily, just on the human population alone, you can see the well is really put to the test. I am so grateful we have a well and don't have to pay for water!  Add in our barnyard critters, which the goats, alpacas, and donkey alone drink at least a gallon a day draining about 75 gallons of water daily!

Erik would hustle down to the well-room and wiggle the pressure gauge on the tank and he would hear water start trickling in the holding tank again.   After about a week of this stop and go water, Erik finally had the time to run to the plumbing supply company that we frequent and was able to buy the replacement parts and fix the gauge.  So far, the water has not run out like it was doing before, but there are times, on days when I really push the well to its limits, that we have very low pressure for a few minutes.

All of this background story is to tell you about the adventure Walker and I had on Thursday afternoon during a BIG storm!

But that story is for another day.

For now, please whether you have city water or a well, please conserve your water.  When you are running your water while brushing your teeth, or waiting for the hot water to come through the pipe,  think about the portion of the USA that is in a severe heat and drought crisis and pray for them.  I've read in farming publications that portions of the Southwest haven't seen a drop of rain since September 2010!  Many farmers/ranchers are selling their cattle at a HUGE loss because they no longer can feed or water them.  The heat is especially bad for our crops too.  Many of you know sweet corn was behind schedule (and supplies are limited as evidenced by Ambrose's selling out of corn by 11 am most days) because the heat and lack of rain is horribly detrimental to our crops.  While you may think this only affects the farmers and ranchers, it does not.  If corn harvests are bad, prices will rise yet again.  If you think the oil industry caused trouble because of the prices rising, imagine what the impact will be if food AND fuel cannot meet demand!  If you're not really a praying person, now would be the time to pray not just for rain, but for those folks depending on the rain, not just for relief, but for their lives.

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