Friday, December 27, 2013

Of Water

Chickens grazing, from an earlier date when we were working on the pen.
The sky was amazing this morning when we went out for our walk, a little later than usual because of the cold. Not a cloud anywhere in sight and the most wonderful blue imaginable. On chilly days I don't really like to let the chickens out until the sun has had a chance to warm the pen. It was still cold, though, so I bundled up and took Emma along for her exercise. Because the water is turned off up at the shop, I have to carry water over to the chickens a couple of times a day. I have four jugs and usually take the extras over filled when I happen to have the van out.

Well, I had four plastic gallon jugs. I dropped one of them this morning when I was almost at the chicken coop. The plastic was cold, I suppose, and with the weight of a gallon of water the bottom of the jug shattered when it hit the pavement. My first thought was that it was a waste to lose all that lovely spring water, then the second was that it was a bummer to have carried it so far for nothing! The jug, a recycled tea container from a long ago purchase, was also a bit of a loss but easily replaced. Fortunately there was water at the house so I didn't have to turn back and start again.

Water on the mountain can be a precious commodity, depending on where you live here. My folks settled on land that had free-running springs, but next door is a house that has a hand dug well that furnishes the water, unless things have changed. The spring that supplies the shops, mine and my sister-in-law's, is a deep spring that has provided the water for as many as three houses and seven or eight people. The spring for the house on Concord Road is also strong and has been supplying water for quite awhile. The water tastes wonderful and is often icy cold in the winter.

There are a lot of wells here now. When my dad was working in construction, he often worked with a Mr. King from Ararat who ran a well drilling service. We were taught to say "Mr." to adults so I don't remember Mr. King's given name. He could find water with a divining rod, called water witching in our area. Dad could find pipes and water close to the surface with a pair of copper rods he kept in the truck but Mr. King could find deep water. It was always exciting to me on the rare occasions I saw it to watch the drill digging deep in the ground to find water.

In the early days of the settlement of Meadows of Dan, people tended to chose places for their houses that were sheltered from wind and harsh weather and near convenient water sources for their families and their animals. With modern building methods and the capability to dig deep wells, people moving here now tend to building in high places with spectacular views. These houses are generally beautiful and quite impressive, but to me a cottage nestled in a warm hollow is more appealing. The house I live in on Concord Road is settled into a little nook surrounded by trees, with a high bank on one side and the creek on the other. A hill rises beyond the creek offering more shelter. Sometimes I can hear the wind howling but it seems to bypass my little space unless it is coming from the north. The shop house is in the middle of a big field and was once sheltered some by apple trees, but is much harder to keep warm than this little house. Both have clear and wonderful tasting water from the springs. I don't even know for sure these days if you are allowed to use a spring for a new house.

Yesterday when I went to do evening chores the chickens were frolicking happily scattered over the yard and up into the field as far as the parking lot. Apparently I hadn't fastened the gate properly during the morning chores. One of the Aspundh tree cutting fellows had parked his truck there and I know I gave him a start when I demanded of the chickens, "What are YOU doing here?" The chickens were ready to go back into their pen, fortunately, with a little help from Knightley the Australian Shepherd and me, along with some scratch grain for incentive.

What I'm spinning: Hand dyed Texel wool from Border Springs Farm
What I'm knittingWarm Hands Warm Hearts Mittens 
What I'm crocheting: Everything is resting.
What I'm readingMrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
Current sounds & sights for spinning along: Rosemary & Thyme mystery series
How the diet is going: Let's not talk about it.


Virginia said...

We also live in a rural setting with the closest neighbors, my parents, 1/3 mile away. We use a well that my uncle dug who still has the well drilling company. We are on the highest hill on the property with a spectacular view. We also have chickens but I don't have to haul water unless their water container has frozen. This year that hasn't been an issue. In fact we are in a very serious drought. The mountains which are usually covered with snow are completely bare.

Living in the Boonies said...

It's cold on the top of the hill!