Archive | September, 2014

No Water. The Well’s Gone Dry! We’re All Gonna Die! Or Maybe Not.

29 Sep

At this time of year I sometimes think back to our early years here, soon after we had bought our house.

It started one weekend afternoon when S-S turned on the kitchen tap. The usual flow of expected water soon turned to a trickle, then a dribble, then nothing.

The Pump that Whirrs and Slushes and Gurgles

The Pump that Whirrs and Slushes and Gurgles

Civilized and educated people that we are we immediately knew that something was wrong. Education is such a marvelous analysis platform. Immediately we leapt to civilized problem analysis: the well’s gone dry; the pump is broken, there is a leak somewhere in the system; it’s the Second Coming. Our panic was only mild. Well, maybe a bit more. Oh the humanity: no water; the money to fix it; something’s broken; the money to fix it; we can’t flush the toilet; the money to fix it! I already had visions of building an illegal outhouse. Comfort and sanitation before thirst.

After an hour or so we entered “problem solving” mode. Who might know how to fix it. Well Uncle G used to have a cottage, let’s ask him. Uncle G says, “Maybe you should check under the house.” Our pipes are all in the crawl space under the house, so down under I go. S-S asks “Why are you going down there?” I wisely reply, “I dunno, Uncle G said to.”  After a half hour squirming around in dust dirt and spiders I find nothing. We need a Plan B.

Plan B is calling Mr. L, a local handyman we know but he costs. Mr. L will come out right away so he is the choice. Well Mr. L always comes along with “the wife.” It was about three years before we actually found out “the wife’s” name. While S-S and “the wife” talked about country wife stuff Mr. L and I went back under the house. After an interminable 15 seconds Mr. L asks, “What’s that?” “That” was an electrical line. Since Mr. L is also and electrician we have to check out “that.” Personally, I thought, “what has an electric wire got to do with water flow?”

The Pump Switch with Instructions for City Morons

The Pump Switch with New Instructions for City Morons

The Pump Switch Sneaking a Peek From Behind the Ironing Board

The Pump Switch Sneaking a Peek From Behind the Ironing Board

Back in the house we trace the line to the laundry room right above where we first saw the line. Hmmm. An ironing board is resting against the wall. Hmmm. S-S is not a fan of ironing so the ironing board has never been moved. Behind the ironing board a “Swiffer” and its long handle has slipped.  Hmmm. Mr. L moves the ironing board, then the Swiffer. Underneath the Swiffer is a wall toggle switch. “What’s that?” asks Mr. L. I, in my profound wisdom, say, “I dunno.” Boldly, fearlessly, Mr. L flicks the switch. We hear the pump begin to whirr and slush and fill up. We have a pump switch, Lordy, Lordy! More importantly we have water. We have a switch we knew nothing about. So as tip to those of you who buy a new house, check behind the ironing board. And watch out for wobbly Swiffers.

Victoriously we return to “the wife” times two who promptly roll their eyes wondering why it took us so long to fix. Laughs all round. Mr. L only charged us $30, giving me the city moron discount.

But we have a pump switch. Switch on, switch off, switch on, switch off, switch on, switch off …



Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To the Dump We Go

15 Sep
The Dump's New Cell.

The Dump’s New Cell.

I was down in the dump today, literally. Late summer and early fall are the times to get rid of a lot of “stuff” collected over the summer: garden junk, especially from the veggie garden; and reno garbage be it lumber, siding, painting leftovers and the like.

Although we have a pretty good garbage and recycling system in the backwoods here, there are some things they won’t take, such as the above. That means loading up the back of the RAV and toodling off down the dirt roads to the dump site. And it’s a loooong toodle. Ah, the dust, the plinking of rocks against the undercarriage, and then the hill. Yes, believe it or not we actually have a hill here in flatland. Rising to the majestic height of 6 or 7 metres, plus or minus 5 or 6 metres. It’s actually the old sandy shoreline ridge of glacial Lake Agassiz that covered most of southern Manitoba and well beyond. Creatively it’s named Ridge Road. Turn right and down more dust and dirt. I’ll have to give the RAV its annual wash early.

Seagulls by the thousands resting at the dump. Hard to see in this pic but they are there

Seagulls by the thousands resting at the dump. Hard to see in this pic but they are there

The dump is off down below the ridge, a vast stretch of old TVs, old washing machines,  and seagulls, seagulls, seagulls, circling, arcing and shrieking. Oh and don’t forget the flies. I opened the RAV rear to toss the garden stuff. Immediately the car filled with hundreds of flies, literally hundreds. Maybe they were tired and needed a lift, because once inside they wouldn’t get out; they just buzzed and swarmed and preferred to rest on me. Maybe it was a hint that I needed my monthly shower.

New Cell Vista

New Cell Vista

Well, with my carload of passengers I drove to the “new cell.” What is a cell you might ask. From what I could see it is a big square hole in the ground just waiting to be filled up. And it was filling up. I got the rid of the reno junk. The flies didn’t help. They just preferred to sit in the car and wait for me to finish. The attendant took my address and licence plate number. That was all there was to it, although he did thank me profusely. Something about being glad to get out of the bulldozer because the shocks were gone and his behind was hurting something fierce. Too much information.

The Dump Pond

The Dump Pond

And yet I found a site there where if you didn’t know the actual location you would think it was some part of an idyllic pond in a northern landscape. The water was surrounded by high grass and sunflowers that had gone wild. The sky was blue, the sun warm and the water would peel the skin off you. Looks are deceiving. Photographs do lie.

Anyway, The trip home was an exercise in trying to dump my freeloading fly-riders. Along the dusty road, all windows open, most got the message. There were only about 50 or so by the time I got home. I must have bored them because as soon as I pulled into the driveway the rest took off. Nature can surprise you, although I’ll now not only have to wash the car but also have to clean out fly poop.

Looking forward to the same adventure next year. Maybe, perhaps.