From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Living with a Well

Water problems--ugh.


The water for our house comes from an old hand-dug well. It's about 3 feet across and 30 or 35 feet deep, and it is lined with big limestone rocks.

When we first moved out here, the well was not well protected at all. It was a 30-foot hole in the ground with a a piece of roofing metal thrown over it. We were afraid the kids would fall in it! We put a fence around it immediately, and very shortly thereafter, built a little house over it, installed a strong metal grid across the mouth of the well, and moved the water pump from the house to the wellhouse.

Having our own well is an exercise in self-reliance. We don't have a monthly water bill and we don't depend on a public utility. If worse came to worst, we could drop a bucket into our well and get water. However, there are drawbacks
  • If the electricity goes out, we don't have water, so we keep some water stored for such emergencies. 
  • Silt seeps into the well when there's a lot of rain, so we have a water filter in the wellhouse that has to be maintained. 
  • We often buy our drinking water, but when we drink well water, we add 8 drops of chlorine per gallon. 
  • In dry weather, we have to be conservative with our water because it's possible to pump the well dry!


Today Dennis had trouble changing the water filter. As he tried to loosen and remove the old filter, a pipe joint suddenly popped a leak. That was the first problem. The second problem was when Dennis somehow cracked a section of PVC pipe while attempting to fix the leak. We called a plumber and paid him to come out and fix the whole shebang. The way things were going, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.