After the pump blew up and the inevitable running around to check all the power to the pump house had been shut off with circuit breakers, we finished the round of cards that we had been playing at the dinning room table before chaos ensued and assessed the situation.
- A foot of snow outside and still coming down, the generator in place in case the power goes out completely.
- Try to get a nights sleep before starting the chores at daybreak, then dismantling the blown pump for repair.
- Get the darn thing fixed.
The electricity stayed on for us almost all night (this was a miracle in itself), any time we ventured outside the sound of limbs cracking and trees falling echoed across the hillsides that surround the farm. No traffic could be seen traveling the county road and we could hear nothing from what is normally the busy State Highway 26 less than 2 miles away. We were blanketed with the thick snow.
Before daylight, we lost power and plunged into darkness. The generator was started and basic functions of the house were restored. Normally this would include the well water, but not so with the pump out of commission. We really don’t suffer much when the power is out. Our water heater tank uses the heat from the outdoor wood furnace to supply the house with a nearly limitless supply of hot water even during times when we are running the generator. Except for this time, with no water going to the house, well, you know the lament…
At the first light of day, it was cereal with milk for breakfast then out to the barns for the chores began as planned. Dismantling the pump brought the realization that it could not be fixed, it was fried to a crisp. Mike walked the bits-o-pump through the snow along the long trail that had been walked in the snow by our many trips to the pump house, to the pickup where he barely could maneuver in 4-wheel drive to the county road.
Sometime during the wee early hours, a snowplow had gone by and although a majority of the snow had been pushed aside, the county road was a challenge. Many trees that had leaned or dropped large branches into the road still hung dangerously in the road. The snowplow had gone around the large masses of tree and snow leaving single file stretches while more people were venturing out onto the roadway. The State Highway was not much better and Mike was dodging motorists who were slipping and sliding on the road where the packed snow had formed ice.
It took buying a whole new pump, a brand new compression tank and three trips to town to get all the correct connections and parts to complete the repair over the next three days three days. To look on the bright side, we were still out of electricity during most of that time, so not having running water was just a small glitch in the urban camping that is the farm during power outages.
Inside the pump house, the compact corner for the pump was a challenge in itself. Movement was restricted by storage and pressure tanks and lots of pipes. The new pump was a different size and shape than the old pump and it took some extra plumbing to get it into place.
Chores had to be done between the repairs. Lots of water needed to be packed by bucketfuls to the stock tanks for the cow/calf pair, the heifers in the show barn, the herd sire with the show cows and for the 8 yearling bulls.
After the power was restored, one more trip to town was needed because a leak had formed in the final stages of getting the pump plumbed into the system.
As of this writing, we have power and water all in the right places at the right times. Hooooray!