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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well done

[posted by risa]


Beloved and Last Son are visiting my in-laws in California, and I'm lonesome. Keeping busy seems to work best for that.

Sometime during the week I wrenched my back, possibly by stepping off a curb in not the best way, and come Saturday morning I found myself moving very, very slowly. But I had made my mind up to finish the well project, and so dressed nice and went down to Jerry's -- our local competition to the out-of-town big-box stores -- and asked for a couple of rolls of one-and-a quarter inch PVC flexpipe and enough fittings to set up a pitcher pump on the kitchen sink -- someday. For now, we just want to be able to draw water at all -- and so the current project is confined to the greenhouse.

Went home, changed into stinky old farm clothes.

I stashed one roll by the woodshed and rolled the other up to the potting shed, behind the house. There, I installed the foot valve on one end of the roll with a fitting and a ring clamp, and snaked that end down the well until it thumped bottom, backed off about eight inches, then sawed off the pipe with a crosscut saw. I then installed the pipe clamp that came with the original jet-pump pipes, an antique thing that looks nineteenth century, and which has the job of not letting the sawn-off pipe slip down the well. Filled the pipe with water from a hose, to be sure the foot valve was holding water as it should. Yep. Good! Next, slipped on a ring clamp, then tapped in a fitting with a mallet, tightened the ring clamp, and threaded the pitcher pump onto the fitting.

Here I got into trouble! The pump being unwieldy, and my body uncooperative, I got the pump crooked on the first five soft plastic threads of the fitting and stripped them. So it was necessary to remove the pump, loosen the ring clamp, pull the fitting with a pipe wrench, and carry the fitting down to the garage to be sawn off behind the insulted threads. I could go get another one -- they cost only forty-nine cents each -- but I had done my budgeted driving for the day, and didn't feel like changing clothes again -- don't like being out in public dressed like Jolene the Plumber.

Back to the potting shed, tried again, got the pump right on the second try, and pulled the handle.


Ahhh!

And then I reassembled the greenhouse windows, put away the tools, and went to bed early.

We'll have this water tested. If it's safe to drink, then next year I'll run a hole under the foundation of the house and run pipe the length of the place and then up into the kitchen. Meanwhile, having a pitcher pump beneath the greenhouse window has advantages.

It can't freeze, at least during the course of a normal winter. So we should be able to water the stock (and the house) in any kind of emergency involving a broken jet pump, frozen-broken pipes, or a power outage.

The kitchen pump would be about three feet higher than the one on the well. It would have the advantage of supplying water to the kitchen, but the potential disadvantage of exposure to freezing because of the additional 100 feet or so of pipe. So it would be nice to have the greenhouse pump as well. Two pitcher pumps on one line at different heights don't work out, though; not with an open line.

We discovered that problem at our old place in the Coast Range, where we had two buildings, each with its own pump on the line from the springhouse. We solved it by installing an inline valve under the lower pump. By shutting off the part of the line leading to that pump, we assured pressure for lifting with the higher pump. So that's what we plan to do with this well.

Eventually.
.

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