Status update from the middle of nowhere: Devilishly dry. Hellishly hot. Last rain a distant memory. Forgetting what an overcast day looks like. Sanity in jeopardy. Survival uncertain.
Okay, so it’s not that hot, but damn I wish it would rain – we’re running out of water! Our cottage’s water tank is quite petite and without a good downpour every few weeks it can almost empty out.
That there is our little tank. And see that rusty thing at its base? That’s this crazy old pump:
No, this is not the means by which we pump water to our cottage, thankfully (our house pump is old, but not that old). It is, however, the means by which we can pump up from the much bigger barn tank, we were told, which acts as our reserve:
Having almost run our little cottage tank dry, we tried our luck at pumping up from our reserve. We hadn’t done it before, so had no idea what to expect. We ran a power cord out to the pump and plugged it in. The little motor ticked away with more guts than you’d expect from something so old. But alas, it coughed up only air. Our suspicion was that the buried pipe had been crushed by the logger when we had some of our trees felled.
With only one course of action to pursue (and our water situation a looming emergency), we decided to try our hand at joining a new pipeline.
First, we haphazardly uncouple the thingamabob from the doohickey. Here we learn a major lesson: The old adage “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” does not always apply!
Instead of loosening the nut (if you can call it that), we were tightening it onto the pipe! It’s hard to explain if you’re not familiar with this kind of stuff (we aren’t), but the nut needs to “tighten” on the thread in order to release the pipe, and we were turning it counter-clockwise, which you’d think was correct but indeed was not.
Anyway, I’ll refrain from waffling further; long story short, we actually managed to pull it all apart, albeit incorrectly. Luckily nothing was damaged in the process. It seems really dumb in retrospect, but hey, we learnt something about pipe fittings.
We then successfully attached our new pipe and uncoiled it. At fifty metres, it reached perfectly between the two tanks with a metre to spare.
Don’t fret, we won’t be leaving it out there like that to be squashed by tractors and the like – we’ll only unravel it when we need to pump up from the reserve tank, otherwise it’ll stay coiled up out of the way. Here’s hoping we won’t have to pump up more than a couple of times over the summer months.
We then went up to inspect how the old pipe had been attached to the pump.
Electrical tape concealed the attachment… Why? What were we in for…?
Ah. Of course. Like most things around this farm, someone had whipped up a make-do “solution”. So here we encounter our next challenge. As you can see, the kind of pipe used for this endeavour is too small for the pump nozzle. And our new pipe was exactly the same type as the old one, so we ran into the same problem.
Our instinct was to heat the end of our new pipe and stretch it open, so we did a quick search online to confirm. Sure enough, that’s supposedly what you’re meant to do. One method of heating if you don’t have any other means is to boil the pipe end. So, threading the end of our fifty metre pipe through our kitchen window and into a pot of water, we did just that.
Wham, bam, what do you know – works a charm! It was a snug fit, but with the help of a screw driver and a pair of nose-hair pliers, we managed to get it on without incident – no electrical tape necessary.
All that was left to do was to run the pump and hope for the best. There was still a chance that the old pipe wasn’t busted at all and there could be a problem with the pump itself. It certainly looked old enough to have a few issues.
The anxious anticipation and desperate hope for water to gush forth…
Hooray! Success! What an accomplishment for a couple of clueless city-slickers. We excitedly shoved the pipe down into the house tank and watched the flow, as if it were liquid gold, slowly replenish our worryingly low supply.
As the water level rose over the next few hours, a weight simultaneously lifted from our shoulders. With a working reserve pump, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about our tiny tank supply. It is so easy to forget how much we take for granted a resource as crucial as H2O. How fortunate we are to have access to it at all.