Sunday, June 21, 2020

Water Tables, Pumps, Pressure and Wells - Oh...And A Fridge And Car Update!


Hi Everyone 😊

Happy Sunday! I hope you're all doing well. It's dry as a bone here in Queen's County New Brunswick...we haven't had rain in a week and there is no precipitation in the forecast for another week. It's so different from my last place! In that area, there was constant humidity and rain several times a week. Complete opposite. 

Before we bought our home here, we rented a cottage that had a shallow well. That mountain village had lots of rainy days and MANY months of snow, so water supply was never an issue. We have a shallow well here too and we are finding that it IS an issue, mainly because of the current drought and the capability of our old water pump. Lately we have been running out of water and our pump has been struggling to draw water up.

Lesson time for those who are interested! 🎓  (And please correct me if I don't get all of this right!!)

There are three types of well water systems that most rural homeowners use. Shallow wells (also known as dug or water table wells), drilled wells and artesian wells. 

Shallow wells, like ours, are dug to the level of the water table, about 30 - 100 feet down. The water table is the top section of the saturated earth that contains underground water. 

Drilled wells are typically dug over 1000 feet below ground level to the zone of saturation. Artesian wells just confuse me so I won't get into those!

Most people will install a shallow well because it's cheaper. Ideally I would LOVE to have a drilled well because it's a more reliable water source.

To drill a "drilled" well, you need BIG machinery and it costs anywhere from 5-10k (CAD). This price doesn't guarantee you'll find water though. If the auger doesn't hit a spot with water, you are basically sitting on pins and needles as they drill lower and lower because most companies charge you per foot drilled. 

We have an old pump, likely about 15 years old. We knew it needed replacing in a year or so but we are trying to hold on to it as long as we can! It only has the capacity to draw about 40 pounds of water per square inch 😕. If I fill up my 2.5 gallon watering can twice, the pump turns on. Every time we use between 4-6 gallons of water, the pump needs to draw more water up from our shallow well. If we take long hot showers or do lots of dishes, the pump works harder to try to fill the 40-gallon hot water tank.

The water pump is attached to a pressure tank, this helps draw the water up to the pipes in the house. If the pressure tank's gauge starts to shake and shimmy, that means it's struggling and we need to turn the pump off. Why? Because the well is dry (figuratively) and if we leave the pump on, it will burn out. 

If the well is dry, it's because we pulled all of the water from the water table and there isn't any left. There will be more of course! But at this point, we've used too much water and the ground water needs to restore itself into our well. Another reason the well could be dry is based on the weather and seasons. We are in a drought right now so it's normal that the water table is low. The problem with that is the water table continues to fall year after year if there are a lot of summertime droughts...this means in the future we may need to dig a deeper well.

It's complicated, but we are learning. Here's an example: I can fill my watering can about 14 times before the pump starts to struggle. That means we can use about 60 gallons of water before the well dries up and needs to refill itself. Of course, that's right now because of the drought. So far we figure it takes a good few hours for the water table to come back up.

Alex and I are determined to conserve water. We are also trying to learn how to schedule our water needs better so that we don't get to the point of drying up our well. I stagger the watering of the garden now over several days. We only do one load of wash a day and it's in the morning. All leaky faucets will be fixed asap because that affects the water supply as well. We keep an eye on that pressure gauge to make sure it's not struggling. If we see that, we turn the pump off - the last thing we need is a burned out pump!! 

We are going to install gutters and we're on a waiting list for some food-grade plastic barrels that we will turn into rain barrels. The company sells them to people for $5 a piece. There is a waiting list for these barrels, and there are 3 people ahead of us; but the nice lady at the company said we should hear from her in about a month. I asked for 4 barrels so that we can harvest rain water.

The fridge??? Okay in short, the fan was broken and because it was one of those modern fridges run by a computer chip, that had to be replaced too. The fix was going to be way too pricey. We'd bought that fridge plus a washer and dryer from that second hand store. The washer stopped working as well. We never tested the dryer because we don't have an outlet, but we decided to rent a Uhaul trailer and return all three appliances. I was so sad because I LOVED that fridge!!! We were lucky that we got a full refund. We ended up buying some low-end new appliances, and even though it's not as big as the used one we returned, I'm still getting my stainless steel fridge! 😊 But, the appliances will only be delivered in mid-to-late July. It's weekly shopping, more canning and hand washing until then! We are pioneering right now so to speak!!

Our leak is pink.

The car??? When we returned the Uhaul trailer, the mechanic there noticed some grease on the trailer. He checked our car out and told us that he thought our transmission fluid was leaking. Oh joy. I've been checking the fluid level and it's borderline right now...I have to find a mechanic to check that out. But the good news is I have an appointment in early July to get my New Brunswick driver's license and plates! 😊😊 Getting rid of my Quebec license and plates is my last tie to that province!!

Fun stuff: In February I'd ordered a few trail cameras for our 7-year anniversary in March. They were on back-order but they were supposed to arrive at our new home just around the time we were to arrive. A few days before we moved in May, I was told that they were still on back-order. With all of the stress of the move I COMPLETELY forgot I'd ordered them and they arrived a few days ago! It was a wonderful surprise! We're going to have fun with these!! Last night when we brought the dogs out before bed, they all went nuts...barking, growling, pulling - there was something in the woods! It's a shame we didn't have the cameras up last night, but they are up now. I hope we get some good footage!

Charlie - resting by the window. She had an allergic reaction from what we think is a spider bite - her face swelled up three times its normal size. This has happened several times before. Poor gal was on Benadryl for 24 hours.

Big post today huh? Friends, I'm so busy. It's crazy. Tomorrow we have a chimney inspector coming. He's going to sweep the chimney, inspect our wood stove and help find out where it's leaking. We have rust on the top of the stove and inside so we need to fix that leak before the winter. I also have to figure out a menu plan and go shopping.

Sandwiches - a typical dinner these days!

Oh and during the last rainfall, we realized there are a few leaks in the roof too. One of these days Alex and I will get up there and try to figure out where it's leaking. We can't afford to fix the roof this year, but we CAN figure out a patch job. I was watching lots of videos on how to find leaks and caulk them. Worst case scenario we'll install a good quality tarp over the area where it's leaking and figure out how to fix it next year.

💞 We LOVE our home and property, despite its flaws and problems!! I need to find time to paint and draw this week!!! Please join me on Thursday for our art date, the theme is Heat Wave. 😊



  1. Busy, busy, busy indeed.
    Having lived through more than one drought my heart goes out to you. In one of our homes we were dependent on tank water - and the tank went dry. That was NOT fun, and we didn't have the money to have the tank filled. For several months we showered and washed at a friends place and brought home water for teeth cleaning, toilet flushing and the like.
    I hope your water woes (and your car woes) can be easily sorted.
    I am really looking forward to seeing what the trail cameras capture too.
    I hope all of you (regardless of leg numbers) have a wonderful, healthy happy week.

  2. Goodness, what a busy time.
    I don't know how you do it.
    I'm really worried about drought, as well. Our pump died on February. That was a time.
    We parse out our water use, too. It's the only way to do it.

  3. The pup in the window is too cute. My gram caught water to use as well. No waste. Good idea to plan your water needs better and rough, ugh, we had to patch a piece of ours but we're not ready to put a whole new roof on yet, either.

    Stay well and here's to lots of goodness, your way.

  4. oh god what is in those woods...haha! i bet you will know soon. you guys are the best. i love how you learn all of this new stuff. i hope you get some rain soon. we are dry here too.

  5. I am impressed with your understanding of water table dear Rain
    it made my head spin lol,yet i enjoyed knowing details and complications you re facing in new place
    i am glad that your wisdom and brilliance to solve the problems is faster than problems itself so i bet all is going to be fine soon by the grace of Lord !

    I felt for Charlie ,hope she recovers soon
    hope your fridge problem is also be fixed ,here i still have not heard about fridge that works by chip ,great invention indeed though in the beginning such things show some issues but sooner comes the flawless piece
    best of luck with all you up to my friend

  6. Your description of your water issues brought back so many memories for me. When we moved up here to our first piece of property we were on for 15 years, all we had for the first few years was an old, hand-dug well made by the original pioneers in the early 1900s. It went dry twice a year, in March and again in August. We had horses, a donkey, goats and chickens at the time so it was real challenge, as you can imagine.

    'Tis good to see you and Alex staying happy and optimistic through all these glitches that it seems all new property owners encounter. They just have to be worked through, but I know you can do it. Carry on!

  7. Well, I am sorry you got so many surprises after your move but the good news is that you love it anyway. We had an artesian well on the farm I grew up on. It is basically a natural spring underground that brings the water right to the surface and you just put in a pump and tap into it. It was the freshest, sweetest water I have ever had. I hope you are able to resolve your water situation because that is really vital--and hope the drought ends soon.
    Good luck-you got this, kiddo! xo Diana

  8. I think once you are able to get a rainwater catchment in place, this will help immensely for things like watering the garden.

    Funny, is it not, when you trade locations how much different it is to grow things? I have had to discontinue several items because they would not grow- but was able to find some excellent replacements (sweet potatoes and black eyed peas are now my friends).

    Bummer about the refrigerator and car. Alas, these things happen. As my father called them, "Money pits. Buying them new means you just put off those costs for a while."

  9. You are like pioneers! Thanks for the update. I am hoping you get lots of Rain soon, to help that well and the water table.

  10. Rain, oh my, but you all have your work cut out for you. But we all have challenges when we first get started! Just different ones, which makes for interesting reading as well as a sense of camaraderie via the internet.

    You two are so wise to tackle important things like water first. Rainwater collection is an excellent idea, We've gradually expanded ours and are able to water our plants and livestock with. The ability to expand is especially nice, because we can do it as we can afford.

    Sorry your appliances were duds! Everything seems to hit all at once, doesn't it?

  11. Was going to comment, but it got to lengthy. Sending an email. LOL

  12. When I was a kid, we relied on a shallow well for our water supply too. So we spent decades conserving water BIG TIME. Years later when my Mom moved to the city and finally had access to never-ending municipal water, she'd let those taps run like a sonovabitch -- "I've earned the right to waste water," she said and she was right.

  13. Hello Rain! I hope everything works out for you. It's so hot and dry here too and I pray that rain comes and fills up your well. Sending you hugs and lots of love. I sent you an email! :)

  14. my daughter is in pretty much the same situation. She has to be careful of how to use water.
    Where I live we are currently forbidden to water gardens and land during the day. It is allowed at night when it does not evaporates by the heat and sun. My area has a low water table as well, and still need some rain to fill up.

    But it seems to me your problem is more difficult.
    Wish a little rain for Rain!

    Take care.

  15. My goodness you do have your plate full ... wells can be a scary issue because you have no control over what happens. We had a well at our last place and we were told that the ground water that fed it came all the way from northern Michigan ... go figure. Anyway, it never ran out or even low so I guess we were lucky. I think your patience is being tested with everything that is happening to you ... but in the long run, things will fall into place and your home will be everything you hoped for. As for creatures in the night ... I can imagine something big and scary, but it was probably something little and cute, though not friendly :) I will look forward to seeing what you capture on your camera. I always wanted to have one of those, but never did ... never really lived in a place where it would catch anything that I couldn't see by looking out the window :) Your strength of character is getting you through some rough times and I just know it all will be worth it. Have a wonderful weekend, Rain ...

    Andrea @ Form the Sol

  16. Back in the 1990s we experienced drought in Hawaii. We had to ration water. Now, we don't have drought. In fact, there is flooding in some areas. So, let nature take its course.

  17. Your new home has a lot to work with, but I say as long as you have fun doing it better for you, it's ok.
    You are two adventurers, that's the way it should be!
    I'm curious what you're filming there in the forest!
    Interesting how it works with water ...
    get well soon Charlie and you that everything you do works out!
    I wish you a good week!
    Greetings Elke

  18. Sounds like you're staying on top of things which is great! Older homes always have their Oddities that you have to deal with sadly. We made our own rain barrels and then we have bought some ready-made. Our experience of making them was that they always leaked. In our area we were able to find ready-made ones with brass fittings for $35. Downspouts also require a diverter unless you just have the downspout to the top of the barrel. The barrel gets full you can just flip the diverter up and let it go out through the normal downspout. There's a picture of a diverter on my blog on the left side. That's what we use galvanized and will last forever! I hope you get some rain soon

  19. Wow! Great post Rain. Sorry for all the troubles. My mom had a well. It was the best. The city wanted to come in and take it over, along with other wells. Then all of those people would be on icky city water. There was an uproar about it and to this day it never happened. I am told Oregon is in a drought. Where the heck that is I would like to know. It has rained everyday since last year. Oh a day or two without rain. I too catch water. Remember just one thing at a time and it will all be done.

  20. You and Alex do have a lot going on, Rain, and while I would say you are experiencing the joys of home ownership there has also been a lot of shall I say "growing pains" as well. We had a well at our former VA home and thankfully, never had any serious issues unles you count blowing an expansion tank (that's what keeps the well from turning on constantly). We also managed to irrigate with the well and it amazed us how it never ran dry because we didn't know its exact age or location. After we sold the house, former neighbors told us the new owner replaced the well. Thankful it wasn't us as the cost than was over $5,000 to drill a new one and many folks had done that at their homes during our years living there.
    The barrels to gather rain water sound like a terrific idea and hope you get several ASAP. Too bad about the faulty appliances, but good you got your # refunded and hopefully working ones to replace them.
    Nothing wrong with sandwiches for dinner, especially on hot days!

  21. I love sandwiches for supper. Girl...u are one busy bee. I am sorry u had to let go of the fridge, i know how much you liked it. I hope the waiting period wont be too long . Handwashing woyld be my death ... lol
    Our water comes from a spring so we never have to worry about running out...BUT our wellhouse flooded and burnt out our pump last year. We needed a bew one and were lucky that the ex owner of this place still had one laying around ...
    I think collecting rainwater, especially for your garden is a great idea. Little tricks like collecting dish water or shower water to flush the toilet for example would work too...and of course ... always shower in pairs ;)
    I know you will get it all sorted out. Every little leak will be yours to conquer.
    I can't wait to see pictures from your trail cam. Last year our mules got out and were gone for hours til late at night. Next day ... after they were back home, our neighbour showed us their shananagans on his trail cam pictures. I thought it was so cool ...
    Yesterday someone called us and sais soneone had seen a cugar crossing the road onto our property. I would sure get that guy onto the camera.
    Happy solstice sis 🧡 I just posted as well. When u find a minute...come on over and check it out.

  22. Cup half full or half empty! you are definitely the half full type of girl! You have so much going on an such big issues to manage, what an adventure - I hope your water barrels arrive asap - I wonder if you would be allowed to order double - more than you need so you can rig up water from the well when you have a drought or get as many bottles filled as possible from guttering when you do get some rainfall ... to take the stress off the pump at peak times and store it for emergencies for gardening... Your car is important, you are in such a remote place you need it, I hope you can get it fixed, or get a motorbike with topbox for running out to get weekly supplies! The cameras sound exciting, looking forward to more on that. I hope your little dog feels better by now. Take care, stay well, thanks for sharing all your progress and good luck with the current problems xxx p.s. In some arid countries I have seen they use plastic polytunnel to keep hummidity, moisture from the ground so minimal watering (Israel) for crops - wonder if this might be helpful for you to try.

  23. I feel so sorry for you, Rain. We had a drought for two years in a row a few years ago. I am on city water and, although it was not rationed, they charged a lot extra if you went over your allowed amount. I don't let any water go down the drain if I can help it. When I wash my hands, I collect the water in buckets. When I do dishes, I collect the water in buckets. Those buckets water my herbs and veggies. I am a master at saving water. I use a bit of water to get wet when I shower, then turn the faucet off. I lather up, wash my hair, and brush my teeth in the shower. When I'm finished, I turn the shower on and rinse everything. I've yet to find a way to collect water in the shower. I have buckets set outside to collect water when and if it rains. I use it for my herbs. The only water that is not gray is when I shower and when I cook.

    SO sorry about your fridge. It's great you got your money back on all three appliances, though. I hope you don't have too many more problems in your new home and you record lots of night time activity on your land.

  24. Sorry about the troubles … but I just know you two will fix things and come through any problems.
    I think the sandwiches look yummy :)
    Take care.

    All the best Jan

  25. Oh boy! Being a homeowner is no picnic and there is always something going wrong or needing fixing but things will settle in after awhile but you will always need and emergency fund as you never know what's up the road! Good luck but enjoy the journey!!! It is worth it!

  26. wow ... you have a lot on your plate - ...very interesting to read about the wells. and glad you got a full refund on your appliances.

  27. Rain,

    Y'all are plugging right along with all the things gone awry. Your positive, "I can do this" attitude is charming and I love it! We all need that kind of spirit to move us forward instead become down trodden. I don't know the first thing about wells but DH grew up with one. In fact, his folks relied on well water for more than 60 years. I think the city finally got it piped up the mountain a couple of years before his mother passed. I remember how she'd fret over not having enough water at times even though they had large drum buried in the ground use for collecting rain water to use in the garden. Sometimes they'd have the fire department fill it for a cost during dry periods. I guess I'll scoot for now but I'm sending good vibes your way for everything to come together as it should. You guys are sure learning loads of new stuff. See ya around the cyber block when time permits, my friend!

  28. Rain, you two never cease to amaze me. You would have made my plumber dad proud with that lesson on wells and how they work. Growing up I heard him talk about drilling wells often, but I never really understood (or cared about) anything beyond the concept of drilling down until you hit water. You, of all people, will deal with these issues and have so much wisdom on the other side of all this work. As Betty above says, you're a "glass is half-full" soul. That obviously serves you well, friend.

  29. It's definitely a crazy busy time! But eventually the dust will settle and you'll get into a nice, manageable routine!

  30. I forgot to say, I'm a recluse/hermit myself but it's nice to know others that feel the same way. good luck!


❤ Thanks for your comment, I love hearing from everyone! ❤ Why not join me and my fellow artists every Thursday for TADD? That's Thursday Art and Dinner Date! It's a lot of fun!