Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drinking 147 Year Old Water

Well, well, well...just one more hurdle to cross on our new farm...the 147 year old well. Now there is no proof it is that old but chances are it was bored back in 1868 when the original house was built. Which by the way we now refer to as "the dog house" because our dogs sleep in there, along with our cat and a stray squirrel we often hear in the walls but have yet to see. I call him Sylvester.

Back to the well. From a distance the well house looks oh so quaint.

 
I plan to use some of the weathered wood for door and window trim in the grain bin house. But the inside of the building is less charming.
 
 
Just getting inside is tricky as the wood has deteriorated in the entryway. When we bought this property in September 2013 the well opening and pit that held the pressure tank was covered by mice chewed insulation and several large boards. We waited until our old farm sale went through and then had the pressure tank in the pit replaced and a spigot added from which we could pull water for the livestock. Yes, we do testing on our animals. Better them than us, anyway we figure the water had fed thousands of heads of livestock over the years it could probably handle a few more.
 
 
 
See that tire in the front? Look hard, it's the black rubber thing. That is our makeshift lid for the HUGE well shaft. The tin pan completes the look don't you think? When uncovered the well shaft looks like this:

 
Frightening isn't it? The plumbers we had out to put in the new pressure tank estimate it is about 100 feet deep. So of course the doorway is gated and the grandchildren have been threatened to not even LOOK in the well's direction. But still, I won't rest well until the entire contraption is modified with a proper, secure and very small cap. This morning we sent off water samples for testing and pending results will likely need to shock it (bleach) for any bacteria counts before it is considered safe for us to drink. We already know it must be high in iron as the bottom of our livestock waterers have this lovely rusty orange residue. In the meantime we are buying water for ourselves and/or begging it from friends and relatives. Very soon we will  start tearing down the well building so the plumbers can make this monstrosity safe .
 
One more expense we must tackle...we've been given an estimate of $3000 for all the well work and yet people still wonder why we call it The Poor Farm.
 
 
P.S. After two weeks of drinking the well water our critters are doing great. Please cancel your calls to the humane society.

11 comments:

  1. Water, shelter, food... you've got your priorities right for sure. I'm sure clothing is just optional at this point? *smirk* ;-D $3 grand? Every penny you put in your well will pay you back in spades in future years. Besides, I'm sure you made a bundle selling the big farm. (Yeah, riiiiiiiiight. *heh*)

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    1. Clothing, good clothing, is indeed optional. We have lowered our standards so much in that area, that clothes with only one or two holes in now "high falutin'" to us. And yes, have to agree that a safe and healthy well is a good investment.

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  2. Our place was built in 1900. We have a gravity fed spring for our water. We were worried about the pressure, until the plumber started his work. He took the cap off the pipe that fed into the house and it the water knocked him eight feet across the basement! o-O His comment "Yahup, pressures good."

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    1. Oh man, with that much pressure I'll bet your showers are AWESOME!

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  3. Can't wait for the personal tour!!

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    1. You've been here and done that. I'll send you the T-shirt soon. :)

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  4. From someone who has just become a sexagenarian, enjoy those quint years! My husband and I also took on a many-years neglected rural property in our 50’s. Over the last decade we’ve renovated one house and are contemplating tearing down another, not to mention tackling fields overgrown with blackberries and roses. I did not have the luxury of a rural upbringing so snakes in the yard and occasionally a bit closer are an unwelcome novelty, but the rest is pure pleasure. I look forward to reading about your triumphs and hope your tribulations are minor.

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    1. I was also raised "non-rurally" Chicago is my home town, married my prince farming at the age of 34 and then was a nurse manager for 11 years with an office job. So it's been just the last 5 years since I left nursing that I've really gotten down and dirty with Mother Earth...and I have never been happier or smelled worse.

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  6. That well would freak the crap out of me too!!! Nightmares are made of that stuff I tell ya.

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  7. Despite the being a hundred and forty seven years old, it’s good to know that you are still able to acquire a good amount of potable water from the well. I think it’s great that the house is still in good condition, and that it protects the well, your tank, and a few of your pets. Thanks for sharing this with us, Donna. Have a great day!


    Verna Griffin @ AXEON Water Technologies

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