Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pump House Blues

When my 18 year old got home from caroling, she left every single light on in the house.  At some point, my mom sense (or maybe it was the penny-pinching sense) received the message, and I woke up to run around the house turning off lights. This is when I noticed no water was coming out of the taps.

Unlike those of you in colder climates, there was no way that my pipes were frozen, so something had to be wrong with either the pump or the catchment tank.  I briefly struggled with my impulse to wake up my husband and let him handle it, but a kinder impulse reminded me that he hadn't slept well the night I trudged (there is that word again, I seem to do a lot of it) out with my flashlight and my cold bare feet to the pump house.

Sure enough, the pump was running hard, but I didn't smell any burning.  There were several inches of water on the floor and a sound of gushing.  My flashlight is a little weak, and I am not entirely familiar with the system out there, but I located the plug for the pump and pulled it (yes, stupid me, standing in a puddle of water in my bare feet, pulling a plug), then found the valve and turned it off.  That stopped the sound of gushing water, which had to be a good thing.

I walked out to the water tanks and, yep, the left tank was nearly empty.  Nothing I could do about it at midnight, so I went back to bed.

Fortunately, the pump is not broken, but it seems nearly 5000 gallons of water flowed out in just a short space of time.  A joint in the pvc piping around the pump had given way and it was easy enough for my husband to replace in the morning.  It is a great blessing that the pump is not broken, because replacing it would have been difficult right now.

Whether the lost 5000 gallons is a minor or a great misfortune depends on the weather.  This is the time of year that things tend to dry up around here.  Last year, we had a fairly lengthy drought which meant doing laundry at the landromat and short showers.  We still have 5000 gallons, but it is much nicer to head into the dry Christmas/early January period with full tanks.  Hopefully, this will be one of those short dry periods (I can not believe I am saying that) and we'll have rain.

It definitely won't rain today - the wind is from the south, which means vog and dry weather.  It also means that the air smells like sulfur and it is just that bit more difficult to breathe, and you can feel your plants dying....but it is cheerful to see the sun, and to have the chicken run nice and dry.


Faith said...

What a picture. The smell of sulfur and your plants all dying, the minute the rain stops.

Sounds like you live on the side of a volcano or something. LOL

It's hard to imagine you running out of water with 200 inches of rain a year, but I know what you mean. You get used to the weather patterns and living by them. Any change and things get out of whack.

Glad you didn't add any sizzling of human flesh to the smell of volcanic action while messing with that plug!


Grandpa said...

In every household somebody will have to be the one with the money-pinching sense. In ours it's me - used to tell the kids to think what they want BEFORE they open the fridge, and not to leave the fridge door open for too long, otherwise penguins will come.

You have to be careful about standing water and electricity;

This is all rain water that you have collected, right?

Hope the damage and the loss won't be too hard on you.

NancyDe said...

Haha, Faith, as you have probably noticed, I have a tendency to exaggerate - the smell of sulfur was real (although the vog seemed to blow past us as the day went on), but it actually does take really thick vog to kill off the plants - and more than one day. The problem with the 200 inches is that it all seems to fall in concentrated patches - and your tanks are full and there is still more rain. Then it doesn't rain and the tanks empty. You just get used to it. I have to admit I am a bit concerned because we are all going to be home a couple of weeks here - which means more water usage. I sure don't want to have to pay a trucker to haul water up here.

Yeah, I am a idiot about pulling the plug - I knew it as soon as I did it, too. lol.

Yep, Grandpa, all rain water, but if it doesn't rain, you end up having to call a trucker....hope we can conserve and the dry period isn't prolonged. We are very blessed that the pump didn't break.

Chai Chai said...

"Trudge" sounds more like a deep snow type word. You could "traipse", but only if it were dry and the sun was shining. A "trek" would have to be further than the water tanks. If you "lumbered" out you would have to be lugging some kind of burden. You could "slog" out there, but that would only work if it were raining and muddy. Maybe you "plodded" out, seems to fit with the bare feet and moonlight.

The loss of the water is a tragedy, hopefully you can get a bit more rain to help a bit.

NancyDe said...

Chai Chai: traipsing was definitely not the correct mood, but I do like the plodding - I think I might have to use your post as a great lesson in word choice! :).

Definitely no rain today. Apparently, other islands have imminent flash flooding, so maybe the rain will make it down the chain....Just enough to fill my tank - which is an algebra problem worthy of Grandpa's site: so much roof area, so much tank area, how much rain to fill the tank? I should write it out....hmmm.....