Monday, November 07, 2016

Taking care of the well

I’ve decided to stop talking about the lack of rain and the parched earth. I remember thinking last spring after weeks of rain — I’m getting tired of the wet stuff. I thought of my friends in California who hadn’t had any significant rain in two years, so I didn’t whine out loud.
But it was hard hiding the fact that splashing from the porch to the truck was getting old. Not to mention the feeling throughout the day that my skivvies were beginning to mildew. Sitting here two months into a drought, I say without hesitation, that I’d love to splash through a mud puddle from an old slow rain.
This drought pushed me to complete a to-do item that has lingered on my list too long — put a pump in the old well down at the barn.
Calling my nephew Haven who is a plumber, he told me what to do to get the ball rolling. I had to measure the distance down to the water table. Deeper wells require submersible pumps, but shallow wells take a less expensive type.
In years past, the well had an assembly over the opening that looked like the frame of a child’s swing set. Up at the top was a small pulley with the bailer rope threaded through it. Someone built a cranking assembly using an old car rim with a jack handle for the crank. The crude pulley made it easy to lower and lift cool water from the well. The dilapidated device fell apart years back, so we tossed it in the scrap heap.
Today after lunch, I walked down there with a length of rope dangling from my arm. After removing the protective covering from the top of the well, I dropped a tubular bucket called a bailer into the opening. As it lowered, it clanged against the sides. I could hear the echo reverberating up through the metal shaft until the bailer hit the water.
A moment later, a slurping sound told me the bucket was full. My nephew instructed me to lower it another 10 feet just to make sure I didn’t hit bottom. The bail dropped like a stone, and I think I could have lowered it to China had my rope been longer.
Lifting the bucket out required pulling it hand over fist. Resting the container on the edge of the rim, I dipped my fingers inside. With the mercury bumping 90 degrees, the water felt like heaven on my hand.
Rather than waste the precious water, I poured it on a thirsty tree and laid the bucket down. Stretching the rope flat on the ground, I pulled the measuring tape from my pocket. Forty feet. That meant I’d need the less expensive pump.
After coiling up my rope and storing the bailer in the barn, I sent my nephew a text and told him to order the pump. Using well water to keep our fruit trees and blueberries alive without using the water that comes through the water meter is my goal.
I know restrictions are not far away and I don’t want to be one of those people who take advantage by using too much of the drinking water that we all must share.
I can promise you this: It will be a long time before I whine about it raining too much.
The well pictures looked lame, so I shot a picture of the old front porch near the well.


  1. I have lived through drought repeatedly. I never, ever mind the rain. And adore the smell of rain-washed earth.
    Good luck with your pump.

  2. Sorry your still haven't had rain. After about a month of dry weather here in the summer, things have evened out nicely and the grass that was burned out has greened up once again. I do remember my grandparents well that had a handle on it to crank up the bucket filled with water. The well was fed from a spring and was the best water ever!

  3. The well, pump and memories all rolled into one, makes for a good entry and a good day. The last bucket well I remember was in Georgia at grandpa's home. It is nice to have a back-up for water, and also the option for watering gardens and trees. Good read.

  4. I might have said it before, but I wish I could send you some of our Oregon rain.

  5. It's getting dryer down here in south Alabama as well. I think, now I think the weather man said we would get some rain today. I'm enjoying this weather when it rains I always have a mess to wash off all the dirt that runs from the yard across the driveway.
    Good luck with your well I was wondering if the water would be good to drink.

  6. Your picture touched me deeply for some reason. I really felt connected to that porch with those fantastic chairs.

  7. Rick your picture is a tiny slice of a time past. Thank you for sharing it. Hope you write about adding the pump and then ways to move the water to the trees and gardens.

  8. Anonymous3:13 PM

    May you soon be soaking wet!!


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