A Step in Self Reliance — Installment One

| 3/28/2016 4:33:00 PM

Jennifer Quinnwater line in stream

I wouldn’t trouble my readers with another episode in my saga of plumbing woes except that this one led to a major step in self-reliance.

Back in January I again found myself without water from my ever-flowing spring, which was very perplexing since I knew I hadn’t been doing any digging around the water line, and since nothing broke during last winter’s sub-zero temperatures I was sure freezing weather wasn’t the cause. Possibly an animal had knocked it loose or pulled it apart somewhere, but this was not an encouraging thought.

Dreading the thought of a mid-winter trudge through the woods and up the steep ridge, I resigned myself to hauling water for the time being. One day, though, I did hike up to the spring and found it in need of some cleaning but confirmed that the water was in fact leaving the spring and getting lost somewhere between there and where the line goes underground a couple hundred feet from my house. That stretch includes quite a bit of barely-accessible, steep terrain, where the water line is lying in the stream most of the way.

Soon there was a heavy snowfall, then rain, and the ground was saturated. As I learned during my last water crisis, my holding tank is cracked so that water runs in during wet and rainy conditions. (What would I do without the cracks in my holding tank?) So up until early March I was able to manage quite well between conserving water, hauling it from the stream, and using whatever was available from the tank. Just to be on the safe side I used bottled water for drinking, but I suspect the water that seeps in is actually cleaner than the spring water, since it’s filtered through the ground, while the spring flows into a crude basin that contains dirt and sometimes critters like crayfish.

A couple of times I needed to go to a neighbor’s to take a shower, but there were days when I could take a shower at home or even do a load of laundry. Most of the time, though, I had to turn the pump on and off when I wanted running water, since it wouldn’t get the pressure up to the cutoff point.