Friday, May 6, 2011

When the water goes out

Wednesday evening, about when I should have been putting Little M down to bed, instead I was beating at burning grass tufts with a dead branch. Why? Well, our well pump went out, and then in my rush to try and get water to my waiting husband before he completely lost control of the field he was burning, I managed to snap the top off of our irrigation pipe.

It all started normally. My husband was down in the bottom side pasture burning the weeds that got out of control last year. He was taking care to keep the edges of the field wet where it interfaces with the creek-side shrubs and trees, so that the fire wouldn't jump over into the trees and get out of control. He had a hose connected to the spigot near the well, but all of a sudden he wasn't getting any water pressure, and then the water quit entirely.

Little M and I happened to be out on the back deck checking out what he was up to, and he called up to ask whether we had any water on in the house. We didn't, and I suggested he check to make sure he hadn't melted part of the hose. After doing a bit of rushing around down in the field, he realized that the problem was more serious than a melted hose - there wasn't any water coming out of the well.

I grabbed the baby and rushed back through the house and out to the irrigation turn on. That's when things went from bad to worse. I had Little M in one arm, and was trying to unscrew the irrigation turn on with the other, but it was sticking, so I tried to slam it open more violently. Yeah, that was a bad idea! I managed to completely break the plastic pipe that entered into the metal turn on, meaning instead of getting water running down the irrigation pipeline that could be used to control the fire, instead I had a river of water gushing up out of the ground and trying to wash out our yard.... Ooops...

I yelled at my husband that the irrigation wasn't going to help us, and we headed back out to the fire, him with a shovel, me with a branch I picked up on my way. We were lucky, most of the areas were on their way out, and there were just a handful of spots that were still burning. Between the two of us we got the fire out before too long, and without exposing Little M (then on my back in our Ergo carrier) to too much smoke... whew!

We were so lucky! We headed back up to the house and stopped to turn the irrigation water off at the turnout (lucky I've been working on piping irrigation ditches at work lately so knew what to do!). When we got back to the house, we quickly realized that the power was still on in the house, meaning the well pump shouldn't have been off. Then we looked at the breakers and realized that the well pump fuse had blown. We switched the well pump breaker back on a couple times, and each time it would make a scary sounding noise as it started to overload, then it would flip off.

That started a series of phone calls - our parents to see if they had any insight, some local friends to see who they would recommend along the lines of plumbers and electricians, then some calls to leave messages for said plumbers & electricians to see if anyone would be available to come out in the morning.

Yesterday morning, I had to work early, so I left my husband at home to deal with the well. He kept me updated throughout the morning and into the afternoon as the boom truck arrived, they pulled the well pump, realized that the motor had gone, arranged for a refurbished (and much cheaper!) pump to be brought down, and installed it. Boy was I glad to hear my husband call and tell me that the water was on again!

We still have to fix the irrigation pipe, and I definitely think we need more water stored in the house for emergencies - the hose in the field is at a lower elevation than the house, so after the well pump went the hose drained the house water, so we didn't even have the normal amount left in the tank when the power goes out to carry us through. We were lucky (and are lucky!) to have great friends and neighbors who helped us trouble-shoot the problem, who suggested the right well people locally to have come out, who offered to let us come over and shower or fill bottles, and who listened to me tell the water story over and over at work. Thanks everyone, you know who you are!

That was our excitement for the week!

1 comment:

  1. I guess your weekend will be a big improvement, huh? ;0) Enjoy your Mother's Day!


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