In which we have no water and our neighbors are very helpful folks

Do you remember the year 1980?

That was the year Mount Saint Helens erupted in Washington State, and dumped a gazillion tons of gritty ash as far away as the Ukraine.

That was the year Terry Fox started running his "Marathon of Hope" across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

1980 was the year that the US registration for the draft was reinstated, that Solidarity was officially recognized in Poland, that John Lennon was killed. It was the year that Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was released.

That was the year the US hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the Olympic hockey semifinals. (umm, do you remember the Soviet Union?)

In 1980, I was a sophomore in high school, working part-time shelving books at the local public library. I got my driver's license, and attended my first high school dance.

In other words, 1980 was a






So, why is a time 30 years in the past on my mind today?

Because: In the summer of 1980, our farm's well was drilled and the well pump installed.

And today, the well pump and almost everything attached to it, finally stopped working.

It's true: even in the Swamplands, on a rainy September day, it's possible to not have water.

The neighborhood to the rescue!

Young Justin brought his dad's tractor over to clear a "road" for the well-system truck to approach our well head, while his mom quizzed the well-system guy to make sure he wasn't going to rip us off--Reggie knows everybody around here, and she takes care of her friends and neighbors.

The well-system guy is also a neighbor. Thanks to Reggie, we didn't get charged time-and-a-half, even though today was a national holiday.
Jim used Justin's dad's tractor to mash down a road, and the rest of us hacked and bashed at the overgrown foliage with loppers, choppers, and hacking tools.

Next: Matt, son of the well-system guy (who finally passed Reggie's close inspection), backed the big boom truck down to our well.
Up with the boom
and up with the pump....

...which was a loooooooooong way down.

Bill and Matt pulled more than 200 feet of pipe out of the casing before they got to the pump itself. ($12 / foot, just in case you were wondering).
Then they replaced all the 30-year-old galvanized steel pipe with PVC, and replaced the broken pump with a new pump,
and then poked the entire schmeer back down the well casing, rewired the entire rig, and hooked everything back up again.

The result: we have water again.

We also needed a new trench for the new wiring. Neighbors to the rescue again! Terry and Sandy had a trencher rented for the long weekend, and they brought it across the street and saved us several hours of digging trench in the rain.

The result: water systems are expensive, and the day could have been completely depressing. Our wonderful neighbors saved us money, time, and a lot of work.

Life. It's spendy, some times. But still good mostly.


  1. So, so grateful for amazing neighbors, who just happened to have not only some outstanding expertise, but--a trencher! If your well had to go blooey on Labor Day, this was the charmed Labor Day for it to do so.

    Perhaps we can all contribute to the Haiku Farms Well and Vehicle Fund, just in the spirit of good neighbors and Labor Day disaster miracles.

  2. How lucky to have neighbors like that.

  3. VERY good neighbors! I had a pump die back in the '70's in rural Pennsylvania, and it was over a year before we could afford to get it fixed! We had to haul water from work every night--with two babies under 4! I'd rather adapt to no electric than no water!
    What an efficient and successful intervention!
    wv=trove--> you have a treasure trove in you neighbors!

  4. You are indeed fortunate to have such amazing neighbors!

  5. Woah, those pictures are totally cool! Wells are a mystery to me. I know ours is 170+ feet deep and the water starts at 140 or so, but how the water goes from down there to my faucet is magical!

    Your neighbors are great. :)

  6. Wow, stressful day -- and another aspect of farm life to consider...

    I guess water is one of those essentials that just cuts to the front of the line, though.

  7. Having no water is somewhat of a panic situation when you have horses! We were w/o for six days a few years ago and I was having to haul water for six horses-from my neighbors in a trough strapped to the bucket of the tractor.
    We are currently in the process of installing a 1000 gallon holding tank, so hopefully that can be avoided in the future.
    Glad to see you have such good neighbors!

    Hey I was just re-reading your blog about Fiddle's tack and dressage lessons. I have a trailmaster, do you think that would be adequate to use for lessons? My old dressage saddle doesn't fit Dazzby or Cartman and I would like to start some dressage this winter- time to get the baby (Cartman) going, as Dazzby cut her foot a few weeks ago and is going to be out of commission for the rest of the ride season.
    Hope you are all doing well at Haiku Farm- I love the blog!
    Karen W.

  8. Abbie/Leah/Kate/Monica: Not sure if it was a good labor day or if our poltergeist is branching out...either way, hooray for neighbors!

    Evensong: yes, I'd rather have no electricity than no water, but then, if we lose electricity then we also lose the pump. Sigh. Rural life.

    Funder: I had to look stuff up after they left. It's a librarian thing, I guess.

    CG: Fortunately, each horse has (full) a 60-gallon water tank, so they aren't in danger of dehydration immediately, but I do know about hauling water--we have to do it sometimes in winter. Bah.

    As for the trailmaster saddle, I use the trailmaster in lessons with Hana, and I use the euro in lessons with Fiddle. I figure as long as I'm not doing any "real" shows, it will be fine--and I prefer to practice dressage in the saddle that I'll be riding in for 100's of miles, anyhow!

  9. Why does important stuff always break on weekends and holidays? ugh!

    The boom between the power lines made my heart skip a beat!

    You are so very lucky to have the world's best neighbors to help. I bet you're a terrific neighbor, too, or they'd not be as willing to help you like they did. ;-)



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