Friday, August 17, 2018

And then, the Well Ran Dry Again

What a week.

After arriving home on Sunday after a family gathering, we were once again greeted with no water. We shut off the power to the pressure tank to see if it might refill on its own again, but no such luck. Our neighbor allowed us to fill two fifty gallon barrels with water from his well so we could at least water our livestock. A run to the local gas station secured us with enough drinking water wand wash water for our milk equipment. Our outhouse with the composting toilet came in handy and the 300 foot walk to it in the middle of the night made me grateful it was summer and not winter. We managed, as did our ten year old grandson who was spending the night.

Seriously, how many kids can say their grandparents still use an outhouse? Has to worth something when sharing stories in the grade school cafeteria.

Built for us by our oldest son for Christmas one year, it certainly comes in handy and the Sun Mar composting toilet really is nifty. No smell like a traditional hole in the ground outhouse.

With closer inspection of the well pit Monday morning though, Keith noticed a wet area in the dirt of the well house.

This made him think that maybe the problem was not with the well after all so we called the company that did the well revision for us three years ago. Fortunately they made it out Monday afternoon and after digging down a couple feet with their nifty mini-digger, the culprit was discovered.

The adapter on the underground pipe between the pressure pump and the well casing had completely broken. Seems when the pump was on, and working nicely, water was being pumped right into the ground surrounding the well house rather than into the pipes leading to the looney Bin.  Cause of the broken adapter? Probably the heavy clay soil that had settled around it when it was first installed. Oh well. Pun intended.

In the picture above the well house which houses the pressure tank, is on the right and the well casing which goes down to our 100 foot well, is on the left.

After a couple hours a new adapter was installed  and a layer of pea gravel placed under the adapter to keep the clay soil from pushing down on the pipe adapter and breaking it again. At least that was the plumbing companies theory.

Four days later and all is well (forgive me) in the water department, but all this trouble has us planning for an improved backup method for water on our farm. We're looking into both larger rain barrels as well as an underground cistern for collecting rain water off the barn roof.

Speaking of rain we finally got almost an inch last night. The flowers look better and the garden has been revived, for now. Not surprisingly, there were no puddles or muddy areas to navigate as the ground was so dry it all immediately soaked in. Thus we are still conserving water, using old dishwater to water fruit bushes and flowers, taking short showers and washing only the very dirtiest clothes on very short cycles.

No more rain predicted this weekend. Bummer.


  1. Well thank goodness it's not your WELL that was the problem. What a relief that you don't have to think about drilling a new one. I hope that the company that installed the adapter in the 1st place has given you consideration on the cost of this repair. Meanwhile, happy dance for you. Now you 2 can look forward to a quick hot shower now and then. Cheers!

  2. Our well ran dry a few times when we lived in Illinois. We always called "the water guy," why worked every day of the year except Thanksgiving.


    1. Our "water guy" has been that guy for years. he helped us on many occasions on the old farm and now here as well. So glad the company we work with is still a local one and not a huge conglomerate

  3. With regard to your grandson's 'show and tell' story, I had a potbelly pig for 11 yrs and Roosevelt lived in the house. My husband occasionally used smokeless tobacco. One of our grandsons attended a elementary school where a lot of the students had parents who were quite well off financially. He went to school and told them that his grandpa lived on a farm and had a pig who lived in the house and his grandpa liked to sit on the porch and chew tobacco and spit on the pig. My husband and I got a huge laugh out of that. My step daughter, on the other hand taught at the same school and was mortified.

  4. Ah, the pleasures of living off grid!

    1. This last week I'll admit, fantasizing about living in a penthouse with "people" to do my bidding, or at least, my laundry.

  5. That's great, bad news to have, lol. In that you finally get your permanent water supply back. The lack of rain in our area, has me thinking water catchment solutions as well. We don't actually have snow to contend with, so don't have to worry about tanks freezing.

    If you ever decide to build a greenhouse, consider storing your water barrels in them for protection in winter. You could also use the roof area for catchment. Good luck in finding your new water solutions, as you go about adjusting your old ones.

    1. It's always a process isn't it? You find solutions for some issues and new problems crop up and thus, life on the homestead is never ever dull.

  6. Having to limit water is always an unwelcome challenge, but I'm glad the problem was fixable. I didn't realize you had a composting toilet, probably missed it along the way. I'm thinking we should have one of those eventually.


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