Friday, February 8, 2019

Well, Well, Well

When living in the city, I never thought about drinking water.  I turned the faucet on and water poured out.  When we moved to the country, we realized it is common for homes not to have access to city water.    

Houses need a safe and reliable water source before being built.  Here in Tennessee the choices are either using a freshwater spring or digging a well which is risky and very expensive (averages $25 per foot).  If water is not found, a second or third site must be chosen.  Before purchasing this house, we turned down another because it did not have good water.  It was safe to drink but smelled of sulfur.  That well was 1,000 feet deep.

When water is discovered, it must be assessed and tested for bacteria and hazardous contaminants.  Every well is registered and the information documented with the government.    

These underground well houses were built to store perishable foods in the absence of refrigeration.

Often well houses are seen sitting in fields where they are used to water livestock. When we were shopping for land, we occasionally walked across an abandoned wellhead.  They were dug years earlier but were no longer in use because the water was either not good quality or not needed.  

This well still has the old hand crank pump.  It looks in good repair so it is probably still being used.

This one is covered in a plastic shell with foam insulation and can be lifted for maintenance.  It has a faucet and an electrical switch conveniently located on the outside wall.  It is the latest style.

Some people have chosen to build elaborate structures.

This is our wellhead and the only thing exciting about how it looks is that Scooter is beside it.  It is 157 feet deep and was dug by the previous owners.  Since the house is located 1/5 of a mile from the road, we guess it would have cost at least $10,000 to dig a trench and lay the pipe to connect to city water.  That's assuming there aren't any large solid rocks in the pathway.

Up close is a label which shows the registration number.  Ours has a pump rate of 25 gallons per minute which is awesome.  Plumbers are impressed when they see our clear water (I know I am bragging). We can safely drink from the outside hosepipe ("hosepipe" is a southern term for garden hose).  The water is extremely cold straight from the well and it's a welcome refreshment in the heat of summer.

Perhaps seeing my bladder in the basement closet might be more impressive. The water from the well is pumped first through the filter on the left, then into the bladder for storage and keeping the pressure up.  Next, it either goes into the hot water heater or up into the house.  The gauges at the bottom show the pressure inside the tank. 

I love having an unending supply of cheap water.  We were cautious a few years ago when we were in an extended drought but we usually don't worry.  I consider it a blessing to be able to take all the long, hot bubble baths I want.

"Mom, you might love bubble baths, but I hate them." groans Scooter.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

January's Garden (2019)

There are still no changes since last month's update. The garden is slowly disappearing.  Everything is dormant so we are eating it faster than it can grow, which is normal for this time of the year.  

It looks better in the pictures than it does close up.  Much of the green color is weeds.  WEEDS!  Why do they flourish effortlessly even in the bitter winter?

The bed below shows the importance of planting the seedlings early enough so they can be established before cold weather arrives.  The larger plants were transplanted about a month earlier than the smaller ones.  When they are put out too late, they just sit there and don't grow.  Of course, that begs the question, when is the best time to plant each vegetable?  I don't have a good answer yet.  If the weather would be consistent, I could figure it out.

This is my one surprise.  Tokyo Bekana has not only survived the cold weather but sprouted new leaves from the roots after I harvested it.  Usually, it is long frozen by now.

The broccoli has decided to begin heading.

That's about it.  January is a dull month in the garden.  There is nothing to do but harvest fresh greens for salads and sit inside reading seed catalogs.  It is the only good thing about January.

"Mother may say January is uneventful in the garden but she has never crawled around sniffing the muddy ground in the early morning.  A thousand different monsters walk across it during the night and I must guard against all of them!" huffed Scooter.

Additional links:

Monday, January 21, 2019

First Blooms of the Year!

I saw two croci blooming yesterday and they are my first blooms of the year.  It was exciting!  Last year my first bloom was not until  February 13th so this is three weeks earlier.  I don't know if this variety blooms earlier and I missed it last year, or if we are going to have an early spring.   Whatever is true, this is the reality of our weather.

It won't stop raining and I have forgotten how the sun looks.  At least now I have hope spring will come.

Additional Links

First Blooms of the Year (2018)

First Blooms (2017) Hope is on the Way

Friday, January 11, 2019

Introducing Our New Roommates

We have twelve...twelve huge, inquisitive, troublesome, fascinating roommates.  A local breeder is leasing our pasture, mending our fences, and mowing our field in exchange for pasturing part of his herd.  Some are Tennessee Walking horses, others are saddle horses, all are broodmares with their colts.

They are magnificent animals full of energy and curiosity.  Suddenly, one will begin to gallop around the field, a few will follow and the rest will stand and stare at the circling parade.  In the house, it sounds like thunder so we look out the window to see if a storm is blowing in.

Their owner checks on them twice a day to make sure there is plenty of food and water.  The field is already stripped of every green grass blade or weed they can find; so napping on top of lunch has become a popular activity.

A couple are quite mischevious and have caused a few problems.  They figured out how to open the door to the old chicken coop, then pulled out the nasty cardboard covered in old hay left from our last flock of chickens.  It was a disgusting chore we have procrastinated doing for five years.  

Since the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, the temptation to escape has been overwhelming.  

One smashed part of the fence and the others eagerly followed their leader.  Waking to this view in my front flower bed did not make me happy.

It has been enjoyable having livestock again on our property.  It has added excitement, entertainment, and uncertainty.  She is definitely scheming and planning something.  I wonder, what will happen next?