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.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Running Water

The Rural Life...



I have a new appreciation for running water -- that is, water that flows through faucets and other plumbing fixtures.

Throwing money down the well I wrote a post several weeks ago about problems with our water pump. I won't go into excruciating details but something is still wrong with the pump, the pump motor, the electricity, or the pipe that goes down into the well.

The pump man who has kept our water running for 15 years has just had knee surgery and is not able to work. In his absence, we've invested about $450 and too much time and frustration in repairmen who don't know much about pumps and wells! We've finally decided to solve the problem permanently by having county water piped in.

Bringing in county water has been a rather tedious and slow process involving easements and plumbing permits and delays in getting the meter set but on Tuesday, the plumbers are supposed to start cutting the ditch and laying the quarter-mile of pipe.

When all the pipe is connected, a plumbing inspector has to check everything and perform a pressure test to make sure nothing is leaking. Then the ditch can be closed and we'll have running water again. I hope this miraculous feat will be accomplished by the end of this week!

One good thing is that another of our neighbors decided to go halves with the cost of the ditch and have water piped to the edge of his property as well. We each have to buy our own pipe, though. The final cost will probably be around $1500 for the waterline (around $2000 when the cost of the meter and easement is included.)

County water will be a big improvement. We'll have a monthly water bill for the first time in 15 years, but we shouldn't have any more unusual water-repair bills for many years. We'll still have water if the electricity goes out in winter storms. The purity of the water will be monitored and no doubt, it will be safer than our well water. Furthermore, having county water will increase the property's value.

We probably should have done this years ago, but our pump man was always able to keep our well going for us. The well will still be inside its little house in case we ever need it. It's good to know that if we must, we can take the grating off it, drop a bucket on a rope and get water. We don't intend to ever close it off.

We've been hauling water from a neighbor's garden hose to wash dishes, flush the toilets, bathe, and so on for about two weeks now. We've been washing our clothes at the laundramat (and that's just as much fun as it ever was, ha!)

I don't want to complain too much because everytime we've gone for water in our truck, I've thought about the people in this world who haul their water for miles with a yoke over their shoulders.

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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.