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Well, well, well…

July 11, 2017

Oh, bloody bollocking bloody bollocks.

Go down to water the garden this morning. The water is coming out of the hose in little more than a trickle. I really must get the plumber round to change the filters which are practically black. (A job easily and quickly done when Mr Fixit was still here. Without him I must wait until the plumber is in the area, as he doesn’t charge me for this service.)

Then the trickle dries up. Uh, oh.

Go back to the house, turn the hose tap off. Before I get into the crawl space I can hear the pump going into overdrive. Switch the water source from the well to the cistern. Go into the house to check the fuse box. Yep, the well pump fuse has switched itself off. (This is never a good sign.) Switch it back on. Walk up to the well. The tank is almost empty and even though the fuse is back on it is not filling up. Come back into the house and call the plumber, who for once actually answers his phone. Tell him what happened. “Your well’s run dry,” he says. “No,” I protest. “It’s too early.” (The only time the well has ever run dry before was mid-September of the third ridiculously long, hot, dry summer.) “I’ve already had a couple of other people whose wells have run dry,” he tells me. This, of course, is not what I want to hear.

What the hell? We had forty feet of fucking snow last winter.

Okay, I know from experience (the four day power failure due to heavy snowfall the first winter Mike and I owned the place) that a big pan of snow on the woodstove does not produce a lot of actual water, but seriously. Forty feet of snow? A rainy spring? Juneuary? How is it possible that the well has run dry? Sir, sir, this cannot be. (One of my lines from As You Like It.)

Okay, let’s not lose all hope. Last year something similar happened, but it turned out I just needed a new float mechanism. The float mechanism looks fine to the casual observer (me), but perhaps this is something similarly easy to fix. The plumber (a busy man) says he will stop by at some unspecified time this week. Until that time I shall keep my fingers crossed.

If the well really has run dry, I am screwed. The cistern is full (all that rainfall in the spring) and might last me through the summer, but not if I water the garden. I cannot afford to pay to have it filled every few weeks. When the well ran dry in 2015 I had to give up watering the garden, but that was in September, so, as sad as it was, I’d had my bumper crops of berries and cherry tomatoes and courgettes.

If I only pick one thing to water, what should it be? Probably the raised vegetable bed, which is doing very well this summer. But what about the rose bushes and the berry beds and the dwarf apple and pear trees (admittedly neither is producing fruit this year)? What about the thirsty rhododendrons? What about the lilac trees? There is no rain in the forecast. Will they all die if they get no more water from me this year?

Wait a minute! What about grey water? Short break while I do an internet search. It seems dishwater is fine for flower beds (if you use an environmentally-friendlyish washing up liquid, which I do) and bath/shower water is fine for vegetable and fruit beds (if you use reasonably non-toxic bath products, which I do). Okay, I guess it’s time to start putting the plug in the bath when I have a shower. This is going to involve carting a lot of buckets around. (Oh, for a grey water barrel! If anyone on the island is reading this and has something they could lend me, please let me know.) But it beats the hell out of everything dying.

I shall do what I can. Sigh. Sniffle. Sigh.

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