Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Witchin' water

As I mentioned in my last post, we're having some problems with the well.  Again.  We replaced the bladder tank for the well pump in January, and we replaced the pump in March.  Only fitting that in June we should have to replace another piece of it, yes?

Friday afternoon, around 4:00, I noticed that we had no water.  So I checked the pump.  Pressure = 0 psi.

That's a bad sign.

I learned last weekend how to prime the pump, so I tried that.  No luck.  Why would it be so easy?  So I unplugged the pump to let it cool off and rest for a while and tried to prime it again.  Still, no luck.  The pump is fine, the lines in the house are fine, there's no leaks anywhere inside or outside that we can find.

We deduce that the problem must be in the well.

Now we have a bigger problem.  Where is the well?

Most of the time, wells have some type of PVC cap that extends about a foot above ground.  All the important lines are buried underground.  Not so for us.  Here, on top of our hill, everything is underground.  There is no above-ground well cap.  There are no markers.  We've talked to people who used to live here before, and all they can tell us is, "It's out behind the kitchen somewhere."

That is remarkably unhelpful.

We spent Friday night borrowing a 1000-gallon water tank, rinsing the fertilizer residue out, and filling it up so at least the cows would have water.  (Gee, this feels familiar...  almost like we've done this before...)  They are watered.  They are happy.  Yay cows.

So on Saturday afternoon, after the Princeton Veterinary Hospital open house, we started trying to find the well.  Apparently, some people have the ability to "witch" water.  You start with two large wires, bent at 90 degree angles, and hold them loosely in your hands so the long ends of the wires are pointing away from you.  Please allow my husband to demonstrate.

Then, you slowly walk forward, perpendicular to where you think the water should be.  As you walk closer to the water (if you have the talent), the wires will start to twist on their own power, until the long ends are crossed in front of you, like so.

John has the witching ability.  I tried it too.  Apparently, I can also witch.  (That may be no surprise to many of you.)

Based on the witching, we thought the well should be here.

We made the scuff mark in the grass ourselves.  Nothing so simple as "splotch marks the spot" here!  This is in the backyard, about 50 feet away from the house, in a straight line from where the pipes enter the basement.  So we dug.

Then John changed into more suitable clothes and dug some more.

Then we got out the probe to see if we could find something hard under all this dirt.

But the ground was too hard to use the probe, so we dug some more.

Then the hole got really deep, and John had to sit down to keep on digging.  After all, this is where the witching said the well should be!

And after all this, what did we find at the bottom of our 3-1/2 foot deep hole?  No well.  So much for witching.  We did find a section of corrugated pipe coming from we're not sure going to we don't know.  It is not the kind of thing that would be attached to a well, so we ignored it.  And it is not going in the direction that we witched water, either.

We left this hole in the ground as a reminder of where the well is not, and we gave up for the night.  We ordered pizza (can't expect me to cook if there's no water, can you?) and went to bed.

We tried again on Sunday.  But that's a story for another day.

Part 1:  The well, teaser
Part 2:  Finding the well, witching water
Part 3:  Finding the well, for real this time
Part 4:  Down in the well...  90 feet down, to be exact
Part 5:  Whee!  Water again!  Success!

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