Sunday, January 18, 2015

Last week

Monday afternoon in the kitchen, and I could hear water gushing from somewhere and the well pump (which is in the cellar not in the well) running, but not the water tank. The gush was under the sink, where a pipe had come apart at a joint and was trying very hard to turn my kitchen floor into the next flood plain.  oh yes. all under the sink, the insulation, the dishes, the newspaper we used for insulation, the rugs...

Couldnt turn the water off, the levers are meant to be hammered, not turned, apparently.  and the pump  is running and running...couldnt close the  water faucets down cellar, they need superhuman strength or orangutan blood to operate...and the water is running and running...

Husband is out plowing, by the time he got back I'm on the porch in wet slippers waving at him.  Actually waving is really too mild: "gesticulating wildly" might be closer to the truth

He had all he could do to stop the Niagara Falls  under the sink, all he could do to turn the main switches off down cellar...

Some things you just know are going to happen. Last month for no particular reason I bought a new clothesline that I really didn't need yet , and earlier in the fall two good ten quart pails, of the sort suitable for carrying water from a well.  And I have had a 1 gallon jug of drinking water in the fridge, something i never do.

So while he figured out What Went Wrong and What To Do Until theDoctor Comes,  I  hunted down the two shiny new pails, the old blue well pail with the fishing sinker on it, and then made my knotted well rope. Old habits have a kind of muscle memory,  ain't it grand.  Got the dug well cover off and sure enough, there's water down there.                                                          

makes you want to run right out and haul water, don't it

Half an hour later we have water in the house, if not in the faucets.  He's got his owner's manuals out, and I'm trying to adjust to the very real possiblity of no faucets for maybe a week or more.  I'm spoiled, that's what it is...and while he turned pages and made funny noises I mopped up the water on the floor, moved the wet papers and rugs and such to a place where they could drip silently,  and pulled all the stuff out of the cupboards.    By Tuesday  he had a new faucet in place, new piping, and i am in awe. 18 hours without water and it was as if a switch had been shut down.  I kept turning it on, watching the water flow, feeling  like Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker...


  1. Aie, flooding, the worst. I know you live in an old house, but even in my newer one, I make sure I can shut and open all the valves at will every now and then so they don't sort of freeze into place. Having had the experience of being unable to shut the shutoff, gah.

    Good job you have a partner who knows what the heck to do, though.

    1. well he said he has never liked the way those operate either...some sort of internal thing that prevents them from being accidentally turned the wrong way...oh yes
      the hell of it is, I can't tell which way is the right way, lol I could have been hammering it shut
      to the point of REALLY broken pipes...
      his comment about the cellar one, 'well, its the one with the orange handle..." one is red, one is yellow, one is orange. by now they all have faded to flakyorange, and I still don't know which way to turn it. He will be putting a tag on the real orange one very soon =)

      one way to look at it, if we had had a 'modern' tile floor in the kitchen instead of the bare wide boards, id now be ripping up perfectly good tile to let the floor underneath dry out.
      With this, the water dribbles through the spaces between the boards, and makes the most delightful rain forest down cellar.

      at least one of us appreciated it

  2. When I was a boy, I was drawing water from the well and the bucket fell off the rope and fell to the bottom of the well. I screamed to the top of my lungs. Both my parents came flying outside, thinking I had fell in the well. I got my ass busted real good. Those folks believed in punishment.

  3. you did scare them, after all...and ill bet after that you made sure the rope was nice and tight, too.

    I learned about knotted ropes for the same reason: in the winter the rope gets wet, and after a few minutes it turns into an icerope. First time it happened it just slid through my mittens like butter. ohhh what a long way down. I got the pail up after a fairly long time using a well hook and a rope, but after that any rope went down had large knots in it.
    you spend 20 minutes on your belly in the snow dangling a well hook down a well, youve got lots of time to rethink the whole