Sunday, January 7, 2018

Above Zero

For those you you with modern houses, and no well, you may, or may not understand the trials we've gone through for the past two weeks. Mostly frozen pipes--I've had to draw water from the bathtub into a pail and such in order to do dishes, at least 3 times. But, hey, I didn't complain. I was able to do the dishes, after all.

But it got worse. One afternoon (Friday), I went to take my bath, and after a few inches of water in the tub, the water simply stopped. Dennis had turned off the heat lamp in the well pit (which is outside of the house, and not very deep), thinking to save a little on our electric bill. I understood his well intentions, but he beat himself up over it all night. We couldn't get it to come back on, even after having the heat lamp turned back on.

The next morning, we went out in the minus-something, darkness of pre-dawn armed with flashlights and a small blower heater. Trudging through 4" of snow (thankfully it wasn't more!), we got to the cement block where the well pit is. I helped him pick up the heavy iron cover, and drag it off to the side to lean against the house. He eased down the ladder, and descended into the pit, which might be 7' down. Not a lot of room down there, and I could see the dried mud at the bottom.

I handed him the small stool to set the heater on, then the heater itself. He hooked it up to a drop cord, which he had to feed through a small hole from the basement. I can't tell you how many times we've berated how this house was built back in 1905 or '04, depending upon who you talk to. Sure, they had running water. they actually had a toilet down in a separate room in the basement--which is super creepy when you think about it, but they at least didn't have to go outside in the dead of winter to the outhouse.

Having done what we could, we went back inside to wait. Well, I waited. Dennis went out to the pole barn shed where they'd installed a new well and indoor pipes to fill water jugs just in case this didn't work. Imagine not being able to flush the toilet, for instance?

The worst it ever was was several years back when our power was knocked out for more than two days. I was able to cook something on the stove top (then, but now we've got electric, so this would be a bad thing). We had to go spend Christmas Eve and day in a motel. We were lucky to find a nearby bar and grill open in order to eat that night. The next day, we had to drive a distance to a truck stop in order to eat breakfast.

So, this wasn't as bad, but it wasn't pleasant at all.

Finally, after 20 or so minutes, the sound of the well came on--a sweet sound to our ears.

But, the water had to clear up. We ran the softener, but this hasn't helped even after 24 hours. The water is still ugly yellow. Dennis described it as looking like chicken soup, but decidedly with a nasty smell.

This morning, the kitchen sink water was running, but as always with the wind out of the south, the laundry room--which was actually built off the porch and simply walled off, is still frozen. I think it's 18 pails of water to fill that old washer of ours. We were running out of clothes etc. Taking laundry into town isn't our idea of a good time, and if you've ever spent time in a laundry mat, you know what I mean. Plus you have to pay to do your laundry. When we had no dryer a few years ago, we'd bring our wash in and dry it. We finally bought a dryer--one of those large expenses you don't expect.

So, here we are, still dealing with issues, but at least we have water. This week is supposed to warm up. However, I don't like the forecast of "mixed precipitation" for tonight. I'm hoping we get through that okay. We certainly don't need any other weather-related issues!


  1. What a lot of headaches to have to deal with!

  2. It is. Thanks for stopping by, William.

  3. I lived in a house that was originally a cabin. The river was our water and when it flooded it snaked the line to the house down over the falls. The electricity went out with regularity which meant carrying water up the hill from the river. At least if the hill was still there that is. Otherwise the water was too fast and dangerous to go near. No, I'm not going into everything. I hope and pray it warms up for you!

  4. Ah. Those were the days.
    This was not the original house (they had a cabin at one time) the McGurrs built this one in 1905 or 06. It has original electric/plumbing--the first (they say, but I believe the Ellwoods have that distinction.)
    Being that January is well under way, and we did have a brief thaw, we should get through the rest of this winter with little problems (aside from the usual).


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