Thursday, July 23, 2015

There's a Hole In The Bucket

dear Liza, dear Liza. A hole in the bucket dear Liza a hole. Sing along with me.  If you’ve been paying any kind of attention you are well aware that California is in the middle of the fourth year of a record breaking and crippling drought. Keep that in mind when I tell that one morning last week I turned on an outside tap here on Dogwood Lane Farm and No Water Came Out! Panic ensued. Was a pipe broken? We had experienced that before (see post here) but horror of horrors, what if the well had run dry?? We are super lucky because we are the last road in Georgetown able to get municipal water and about 10 years ago we bit the bullet and hooked up to that system so we are not completely dependent on our well but we do use the well daily to water what little vegetable garden I’m trying to maintain and for the chickens. I’m very careful with this well water never taking it for granted and very sparing in its use. We want to keep the well in working order because you just never know when a natural disaster or other calamity might occur so a dry well would not be good news. Not at all!
Enter Dennis the well guy. This is a job for the professionals. Once he determined it wasn’t something simple like a blown motor at the well head it was time to pull the pump and see if there was any water. 
He hooked something to the back of his truck and started driving away down the road. The further away he had to drive meant the deeper our well. He kept yelling to me about did I see any wet line yet! We were praying for wet because that would mean we still had water. He drove further and further away, almost out of sight. It turns out we have a pretty deep well but we spotted water fairly quickly. 
 Yay, still wet! We had water! What a relief. It turned out that our 30 year old pump had failed. The pump is at the bottom of the well and the only way to tell this is to pull it up and test it. 

30 year old pump
 Dennis switched out the new pump and dropped it in. 
Brand new shiny pump
The bottom is so deep I couldn’t hear it hit water. All is well and we have irrigation for the hens and vegetable garden. Everything else around here is brown and dry as a bone. I hand carry buckets of shower water to the roses just to keep them alive. I’ve lost two peach trees and one plum tree this year, four years of drought was just too much for them.
I’ve received quite an education since moving to the country about things I never gave a thought to when I lived in the city. Mainly where my water, heat and food really come from. I’m grateful that we’re not trying to subsist on what I could grow here because we truly would starve to death. When my crops fail I can always go to the grocery store. I have a new and deeper appreciation for those who grow and harvest our food I can tell you. While we cut and burn our own wood for heat if we ever get tired of that we can turn on a heater. I’m so grateful for that and think a lot about those who cannot get warm with the flip of a switch. I’m really grateful that we had a enough money set by to repair that well because that kind of water insurance does not come cheap.

Until next time,


  1. I hear you. I remember those days of pulling the pump. Seemed like it happened all too frequently. But, I loved that little bit of independence from the "grid" --except when the power went out. Oops, learned to store water above ground for those emergencies. We live only a block from the main canal now, but canal water is way beyond our means nowadays. We are in CA, too, a bit north of you at the far north end of the valley.

    1. Our miner's inch is way too costly that's why we keep the well going. We have a generator in case of power failure. The things we have to think of that never used to cross my mind are comical sometimes. There's a fire today north of us on Hwy 50 that only points out how very important water is.

  2. Gosh, I hope you get some rain and drought relief soon. So sad about the trees.

    1. I hated to loose those peach trees one was a white peach and super delicious but they just couldn't stand up to the meager water conditions. I'm mighty glad I'm not a family farmer!


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