Saturday, July 11, 2020

πŸ’§ Precious Water πŸ’§

The well-drilling machine

πŸ’§ "Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge πŸ’§


Hello Friends πŸ‘€πŸ‘€

I am here to recite to you a tale, a tale so chilling, so tormenting - that survival seemed a dubious prospect; where rationality was fading and soundness of mind was perilously hanging by the thread of madness.....okay, I'm just plagiarizing old novels in an imaginary Vincent Price voice 😏...but the saga of our water situation was really harrowing and here it is! Grab a snack and get comfy, this is a long one. 



From June 29th to July 4th: we gradually ran out of water. When we bought the place, we were told it was a drilled well and that it was plentiful and up to code. This would mean that it was a 6" diameter casing (basically the hole) and drilled to about 80 feet deep. Since we bought the house in winter, the well cap was buried in snow.

When the snow melted, we saw that it was only a 4" casing. I think the only reason we had a steady supply of water for the first 6 weeks being here was due to the snow melt and early spring rainfall. Legal battle will follow - I have to contact my lawyer regarding the wrongful disclosure of the well size, depth and functionality.

We happened upon Dave Muir. He works for a company called Sussex Farm Supplies. They work with the local dairy farms to make sure the farms and critters have their water needs. He's one of those guys who wants to help, doesn't want to sell you what you don't need and seems to know everything! (Like Bill our realtor).

Submersible Pump 

Thursday July 2nd: Dave dropped by, measured our well and checked out our pump. He confirmed that we had a 54 foot well with a 4" casing and a jet pump that couldn't pull water up more than 25 feet. Dave suggested a submersible pump that would sit at the bottom of the well and pull up more water.

Saturday July 4th: We ran out of water completely.

Sunday July 5th: Dave came back to check out the piping and take some notes for the new pump installation. He brought us 3 large jugs of water to hold us over.



Gif I made from photos Alex took of me wielding the ax!!

Our job that afternoon was to dig a trench from the old well to the house, so that Dave could hook up the electricity the next day. Alex and I took turns with the ax!!


The ground here is a mix of clay, rocks and gravel...very difficult to dig by hand. It took Alex and I an hour and a half to dig that small trench! We picked some fresh mint from the garden and relaxed with some mint juleps after that job. Oh...and cold showers using my watering can lol!


Monday July 6th: Dave came with his crew and installed the submersible pump. Logically we should have had lots of water, after all our old jet pump could only pull up water from 25 feet; Dave installed a pump that hit the bottom of the well at 54 feet. Everything was hooked up, Dave turned on the pump...after 14 seconds, we ran out of water. After another hour or so of testing things, he concluded our well was dry.  (Friends, if you click on the "You Tube" link, bottom right of the above video, it'll be bigger; and btw, for some reason, the videos don't always appear if you read my posts on your phone).

Dave confirmed what we feared. This was the scariest part...knowing that a drilled well could cost upwards of $15,000. We were already tapped out financially from the $3700 car repair and the appliances purchase. Dave called around and said he found a well driller who could be here in the morning - which was a blessing because most well drillers this time of year were only giving new appointments a month away because they were so busy.

I called the 1-800 number of my bank and got flatly refused for financing; so I called a legal-loan-shark, "second-chance" financing company and secured a loan at 39% interest. 😭

Friends, I didn't eat for days last week. The stress of not having enough water to drink, cook, shower, do dishes and flush the toilet...plus there was the knowledge that we'd be paying back an insanely high-interest loan, leaving me and Alex basically house-poor again for the next 8 years. We were so ready to just give up.

Hitting The Ledge

Tuesday July 7th: Mike Steeves and his crew arrived and started to drill. They hit "the ledge" (the bedrock) at 5 feet. He kept drilling and testing over and over. Every foot is $28. Each of those pipes is 25 feet. Every time we watched Mike add another pipe to the drill, we saw $700 plus taxes melting away...Alex and I stayed outside watching nervously the entire 6 hours it took for him to reach water at 300 feet. When we saw the water, we both had tears in our eyes! Out of relief and out of the pain of knowing that the drilling cost was $8400, the 20-foot casing (steel pipe) was $520, the well cap was $100, the drive-shoe (a coupling to prevent the casing from splitting) was $175, plus taxes...a grand total of $10,603.00. GULP. Here's the You Tube Link to the video I posted on Thursday showing the water gushing out of our new well. The cost of digging the well didn't include the cost of setting up the pump - another $2900.

My Poor Green Onions...Covered In Wet Rock Dust

All of this goopy stuff is rock dust. Because of the rain we had, it soaked through and looks like cement - it really is like quick sand. But as soon as it has a day in the sun, it should dry up and we can shovel it out easily. Surprisingly my raised beds all survived the well drilling. Alex and I dusted them off with a paintbrush and hand broom, though we weren't sure if my green onion bed would survive with all of that wet rock dust all over it.

Thursday evening, I drove an hour each way to town to do the "first signing" of the home equity loan, or second mortgage, from that second-chance financing company. I had the second signing planned for Thursday morning and the money would be deposited into my account Friday. The idea of having a second mortgage on my home, after only having my FIRST mortgage for 3 months was depressing to me.

Our $100 Blue Well Cap

Wednesday July 8th: Alex and I managed to get the goop off the green onion bed, fingers crossed they'll grow okay. Mike and his crew came back to test the level of the water in the well. He confirmed to us at this time that 4" casings were made illegal over 50 years ago and that our original well had likely been drilled (possibly by hand) in the 1950's. He also suggested that a hand pump was likely used when it was originally dug. 

Overnight, the well filled up and we had about 270 feet of water storage; if my calculations are correct, that means we have about 418 gallons of water restored every 24 hours, just sitting in the well, waiting for us to use. Great news! Mike said he was hoping for more but that he always hopes for more! He also told us we had water running at a quarter gallon a minute - if this means anything to anyone! πŸ˜• 

Mike: "Don't fill up your pool three times a week though!" Pool? Oh I wish lol! He assured us that what he saw meant we had plenty of water for the two of us, our pets and our garden. 

That news was AWESOME

What WAS NOT awesome was this second-chance loan company charging me 39% interest over 8 years and taking a lean on my home...it wasn't sitting well with me. It just feels like these companies profit off people who are desperate and in need, just feels wrong...I'm not self-entitled at all and I understand why banks don't loan money to every person who asks. But honestly, I have a stable respectable income, a small investment account, a great credit rating and a little bit of collateral now in the way of equity in my home. Why must these second-chance finance companies quadruple what the bank charges in the way of interest? Even credit cards only charge up to 29%! It's unethical in my view but they know they have you over a barrel and you have to go along with their fees and interest rate because you have no other choice (end of rant lol).

Anyway, I called the local branch of my bank and happened upon the bank manager, Natasha. I told her I was going to have a significant amount of money deposited into my account Friday and needed to have a bank draft prepared for the well drillers. She asked me about it and I explained the situation to her. She was amazing and said she'd try again to get me financed. She tried a line of credit, declined immediately. She tried a personal loan, declined immediately. 

Natasha knew Dave and also Mike from the well drilling company. I think that really worked in my favour. Instead of giving up, she tried again, but this time, the terms were that the bank would pay the well drilling and pump invoices directly and I wouldn't see a penny in my account. I was very okay with that, I told Natasha I felt like she was my mom paying my bills for me and we both laughed. The reason why the bank wanted to do it this way, was to make sure I was financing for home improvement to add value to my home and not for drugs, vacations or frivolity. I had to wait another day to find out if it would be approved or not. We did NOT sleep well Wednesday night!


Thursday July 9th: Bill (our friend and realtor) came over with his backhoe and his buddy Mike to help us out. 


He dug a 5-foot deep trench from the well to the house, for the piping and electricity. We are SO LUCKY to have Bill in our lives. He is going to ask us to pay for his gas and that's it. If we had to pay someone to dig a trench that would have been another 3 hours of labour plus transit and gas. Bill saved us a few hundred dollars.


While he was here, Bill also pulled down the eyesore of a staircase we had on the back of the house. The staircase, along with this cement-wall-that-leads-to-nowhere was causing too much pressure on the foundation of the house.


The ground on the other side of this cement-wall-to-nowhere was pushing on the wall, causing a large crack. This crack goes all the way inside to our basement foundation. You can see the vinyl siding is warping due to the pressure.


All of this pressure also made the basement door frame warp and we have to replace that door and frame before winter because it doesn't close properly. Bill is coming back in the next few days to cut down that cement-wall-to-nowhere and to apply compound cement to the inside crack in the foundation. He thinks the house may settle a little over the next few months and there is a possibility the door frame may slightly un-warp itself.


I drove about half an hour away to the closest gas station that had a pizza stand and picked up some pizzas for the guys for dinner. There is a reason why we call our cat "Hobo" Leo. Leo loves to sit on all sorts of items we would consider garbage...like plastic bags, old dirty newspapers and old pizza boxes!

Natasha at my bank called me with good news Thursday morning. I was approved for financing at 9% over 4 years. The bank only needed copies of the invoices and I sent them over promptly. I canceled my appointment with the loan-sharks second-chance financing company and was finally able to take a deep breath.

Alex found a little mouse scurrying in the dirt by the new well, the poor thing was terrified! He released it into the woods about a kilometre away.

Friday July 10th: Dave and his crew came back and hooked up our submersible pump. He said the water might be muddy or cloudy for a while and that we should get it tested for potability. The well-drilling company will be doing a full potability-mineral test for us in about a month's time but I couldn't wait. I drove an hour and a half to a lab that analyzes water for potability for $50. We will have the results on Monday. Until then we are still drinking bottled water, but at least we can do dishes, flush the toilet, shower and water the garden! The water is very clear but bacteria isn't always visible so we just want to be safe.

Nature took care of the garden that night with a HUGE rainfall! I think that my shower Friday night was the best shower I ever had lol! πŸ˜„


The well is drilled, the pump installed, the trench dug and the financing in place. Now we just have to wait for Bill to come back and help us bury the trench. I'd like to just scatter some seeds all over this area, not necessarily grass, but something nice that will be green and soft and maybe grow fast. Any thoughts?


Gosh I didn't even mention the new washing machine...in short, it was washing the clothes, but the lights suddenly stopped working. When I started the machine, it was when we had plenty of water still so it had nothing to do with the water supply. In fact, as I type this, the machine still has water in it because I unplugged it at some point, not knowing if the thing would ever shut off! I think that some kind of chip in the computer is faulty. We haven't had a moment to even deal with this yet but we have a 5-year warrantee so I'm not worried about that. Mind you, the laundry is DEFINITELY piling up. It may be hand-washing again for a while once we get the clothesline put back up!


Nature at her best: we discovered we have patches and patches of wild blueberries growing!


I'll end this post with a photo of Charlie sniffing the air. We saw a beautiful deer this morning on our walk and Charlie kept scenting her for about 15 minutes. I got a video of the deer crossing the road, but my phone's video capabilities suck! (Here's the link for the video if you want to practice your squinting!) 

If you're not too exhausted after reading this post, please join me on Thursday for our art date, the theme is Two Colours.

I hope that this post was useful, informative and interesting to anyone in this situation or who wants to know more about drilled water well systems! We learned first hand on this one, talk about "baptism by fire"! Knowledge though, as well as water, is priceless!

34 comments:

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Holy moly, I was getting anxiety just reading this! I'm so glad the bank financing came through for you. You DON'T want to be dealing with that other company. Country living at its best - it's either your well, your septic, something's cracked, or something's flooded. We had a submersible pump die on us a few years ago and we know for sure that our well is 110 feet deep because we pulled the pump and checked the line... TWICE. I'm so happy that almost all of your issues are figured out / fixed. You must be very relieved. Chances are your water is fine, as well. But best to get it tested anyway. Sleep tight. -Jenn

Elephant's Child said...

I am so very, very glad that it all came right in the end. You must have been on a complete roller coaster of a ride with your emotions. I am thrilled that you have found some really excellent people. Like calling to like.
And love the photo of Charlie sniffing/tasing the air.

Valerie-Jael said...

What a story, glad the outcome was positive. Look after yourself, hugs, Valerie

Elkes LebensglΓΌck said...

* wow * I'm speechless about so much bad luck with you. Such a bastard the seller of your property. I'm so sorry that you have to do something like this where it started so well.
I wish you a lot of strength and perseverance no matter what comes up!
A very nice hug consoling Elke

tpals said...

What a saga! I winced when I read the potential interest rate and was ready to suggest you set up a go-fund-me page. I know it goes against the grain, but I believe it would have been worth swallowing your pride under the circumstances.

That said: hooray for your bank for coming through at the last minute! You must also be thankful that the fine people around you are proof that dishonesty of the person who sold the property is the exception rather than the norm.

Leigh said...

Wow, Rain, what a story.God is definitely smiling on you two. You've got the makings for your own book!

I agree about planting the bare soil over the trench (we've done that too). Best ideas would be shallow rooted plants, i.e. not trees or shrubs. Their roots will try to work their way into the pipe when they seek water! Also, don't plant anything you'd mind being dug up if the pipe ever needs to be inspected, replaced, etc.

Thank you for sharing. A tale of caution to be sure! Absolutely contact your lawyer. The seller should be 100% liable for this. No one would have bought the house without expecting it to be fixed first.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

holy crap! you two deserve more than those 2 drinks! i really hope they can go after that seller for nondisclosure!

Jenn Jilks said...

OMG I just don't know how you do it!
I think it builds character. Good for you for documenting it. I think our septic is about 30 years old.
We've replaced the roof, furnace, converted to propane, put more insulation in the roof. It seems endless.
Monday we get a new A/C, which will be a relief. The house was up to 28 C.
Take care! You are amazing!

creativeseconds.com said...

WOw ~ What a story! So glad it's coming together now ~ your blueberries will be wonderful to enjoy ~ Stay well

Susie said...

Rain, My stomach hurt the whole time I read your post. But relief, so thankful your bank came thru and the fellows tried to ease the pain of all that was happening. I was beginning to feel curse here...since Ted's cancer we had a new roof, water heater, AC, and furnace ...plus the computer needed work, the phone lines. It seemed endless. This is in a 2 year span. Yes, I am about nuts honey. I am praying for you, you are a tough girl. Praying you get some blessings, xoxo, Susie

Mama Pea said...

Before you mentioned it, as I started reading, my own thoughts were "call a lawyer, call a lawyer" as the seller was definitely at fault in the non-disclosure. What an ordeal to go through, and even before you've had a chance to get really settled in your new house. I can so relate because we've gone through a couple of situations similar to this one of yours. Thank goodness you and Alex had each other to lean on and had the fortitude to soldier on through this very upsetting situation . . . and come out as good as possibly could be. Yes, you are going to have material for a book, no doubt about it!

Leftycrafter said...

Good golly Miss Molly!!!!! That is quite a saga. I was more nervous about the financing then the well lol. Those second chance people have a real racket going, don't they? Hopefully your water analysis comes back okie dokie. Now, your appliances need to start cooperating.

Christine said...

I was exhausted and anxious just reading and rereading this. Glad you shared these nightmares along with some glimmers of good here and there. You will survive this, you have water!

Sandi said...

Yay and WHEW at the lower interest loan! I felt that relief with you as I read along.

"..financing for home improvement to add value to my home and not for drugs, vacations or frivolity."

Drugs. Oy vey.
Vacations. Okay...
Frivolity? Ha ha...I am picturing you in your yard in a clown suit throwing cash into the air. What do they mean by frivolity? Obviously this.

Gotta say. That window above your door is AH-MAZING!!!


Pam said...

Okay girlfriend you have me beat!!! Moving is not fun at all and even less fun when you have problems to deal with right upon the move. But as for cost, you have me beat big time. I had plumbing issues upon my move cause a house should never set a yr and not be used. The john upstairs in the main living area was messed up, when you flushed it the water from the supply tank went on the floor.....FUN. So that meant that I had to use the john downstairs. Well for an old woman of 60, had two kids, out of shape....getting to the bathroom downstairs was not always fun. haha....but there was a problem with that john also, water would not fill up in the supply tank once you flushed. So, that required a bucket filled from the shower to dump water in the tank so that the other part would fill with water to flush things down!! haha..Lets not forget that the faucet in the tub needed Hercules to turn it off and I was not strong enough so after the first use, I did not use it again cause it kept dripping. Thats okay, I shower more then bathe. My faucets had no pressure hardly at all and the faucet in the kitchen sink was all messed up. It had one handle to turn it on but you had to position that one handle in one spot to get it turned off....But luck would have it, that I don't live up in the mts and woods with no one around. :). I live in the area I have lived all my life (except about five yrs). i live around folks I have known since Elem. school. I put a shout out on fb asking for plumbers that would not break the bank. A guy I graduated with, have not seen in over 40 yrs said he was a plumber for 33 yrs. He had asked me months and months ago if I would redo an antique sewing machine for him, I told him to let me get moved. So...he came and checked out my problems and we agreed, he would do my work, I buy parts and I redo the sewing machine. YAY! So far all is fixed except the john downstairs but since the upstairs is fixed I am good. He will be coming back in a couple weeks to check it out. There are other things but they are things that will get down a little by little. I am glad the lady worked with you at the bank....YAY for good people. I know you tend to shy away from folks but seems like to me you have landed yourself if a really nice area. Good for you. Hang in there, it will all work out.

gigi-hawaii said...

Wow! I can't believe you went to Hell and back. But, all is well that ends well. I am so glad that the bank paid your invoices and at a lower interest rate than that shark.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What an amazing story. I'm thrilled you were able to get the financing you needed and not go through a loan shark. They take advantage of people who can't get credit elsewhere. You really ARE blessed, Rain. You manage to get the right people to help you. I've never read about anyone so lucky to come out on top, even IF it is a tale of horror. I agree that you should sue whoever told you the diameter was 6 inches. It might even pay for the new well, too. Wouldn't that be great! Only ONE mortgage if you can pay off the bank's second loan with the money you might get from the suit.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm so glad the bank came through for you! Payday loan and second-chance loan companies are pure loan sharks, as you say. Once they get their claws into you, it's almost impossible to get out.

Congrats on your new well and enjoy all that water!

Betty said...

I had been thinking about you this week, I am so glad you have the finance and, again, good kind people have helped you at the last minute - thank goodness you didn't have to take that ridiculously greedy loan. It all looks very daunting in the pictures but I can see the potential - I really hope for you that the crack in the basement and the ugly concrete slab are not going to be a problem, the slab is there for a reason, just hope its nothing to worry over.. I would plant a camomile or clover lawn over that area - it doesn't need cutting will attract bees and be soft to walk on. I can't imagine how any previous owner could live in those conditions in this century and, quite honestly, be so mean and devious as to not be up front about the issues you have faced - I hope you can sue for the discrepancy over the well depth. I really hope now that you can get your food crops going and set up some irrigation with long pipes or hoses to a tap so you can turn on a sprinkler system for your raised beds and not have to lug watering cans. I also think Rain, that you are a very good writer and this would make an amazing book. Good luck - looking forward to the next installment! Betty x

Becki said...

Oh Rain... When I commented on your last post that I felt relieved for you to finally have water, I was truly hoping the expense had not been as bad as this. But how glad I am for you that the bank did work with you in the end and financed the additional loan you needed. I agree with Betty above that you wrote this really well. I was inspired to stay with the story to the end. And I was not disappointed. Hugs to you, dear ones. You and Alex deserve a bit of rest, I believe.

sandy said...

I noticed as I was reading a huge anxiety started within me. The money, the lack of water for days and days, the unknowing of certain things.... I'm still taking deep breaths.... You have really been through the ringer since your move. It must feel great knowing you will have water and the other issues are being taken care of...the stairs, what have you. Wow.

Really really relieved for you two.

sandy said...

i saw the water gushing. It must have felt like when gold was first discovered - wow...
i'm still settling my breathing down, lol

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Rain, reading this was reliving every house decision disaster I have experienced as well. Glad it worked out as well as it could.

There is something about small communities that one does not find in large cities. I cannot understand why more people try to be in the city. But then again, good people help good people - and you and Alex are good people.

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh my goodness what a story.
Thank heaven everything came through in the end.

Boy! You wielded that axe well :)

Take care.

All the best Jan

Jenn said...

OH MY GOSH! What an experience!!
I hope the previous owner can be held responsible for false information.

Stefanie said...

Oh boy , oh boy. Tons of things goin on for your new home. You are a trooper. Make more of those cocktails and eat that beautiful cheese you make.

wyomingheart said...

Quite a homestead adventure, and definitely some tips for all of us to learn by. You would sure have a good battle in court, as disclosure is disclosure, and real estate folks must be honest, for crying out loud! Deceptive practices are why they made laws to protect folks like us...you know the hard working people who pay their bills and are honest... you know... us! Have a better week, and I sure hope that washer gets the bugs out ! Great info, Rain!

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!!!! I have such a fear of my well running dry. I think it should be ok, it's just me now....but for a while it was both my daughters, often their boyfriends, two washing machines going, three showers....a LOT of water being wasted! Every time we get a good snow melt or long rain I'm grateful. I have a large jacuzzi tub in my bathroom but I limit my soaks to about a half tub of water, and definitely no more than once a week at most, often much less than that. Showers are limited to every other day....and of course when I use the laundry or dishwasher it's always a full load. I use a soaker hose in the veggie garden and only turn it on when I really need to....for about 40 minutes. I set a timer on my phone so I don't forget! I ran out of water a year ago November, and that freaked me out, but it was just the well pump that crapped out. They put in a new pump but guess what....they didn't seal the cap correctly and come January, when the snow and ice were well over the height of the pump and a warm spell came, all that water poured into my lower level, destroying the new floors I had installed just a year ago!! Absolutely wiped out my savings account, insurance paid ZERO and the well company wouldn't help despite the photos. So incredibly frustrating! Anyway, I'm sure glad your bank came through - I was getting a serious panic attack with that 39% interest, what a scam! Be well, and enjoy the water!!

DVArtist said...

All I can say is, "WOW" what a story. Thank the gods for Natasha. So glad you finally got a shower. LOL Hugs N

baili said...

from 39% to 9% WHAT A RELIEF dear Rain ,hugs of joy to you my friend!

this was mind shaking story indeed about your well and betrayal by previous owners ,what matters most is that God helped you wit all eventually :)

How true that Lord works through his men :)
congratulations :)

thankfully that washing machine has warranty :)

i am fan of your positivism and strength to deal with things :)
saty strong and wonderful :)
best of luck for all ahead !

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Rain, adding my few cents to all the others who have commented on such a harrowing and costly new homeowner saga. Amen to going after the seller for being so dishonest and not revealing the well issues. How such unscrupulous people can exist is beyond me especially when they take advantage of other’s joy as we all know how happy you were to have your own place. Do go after that seller and no mercy is needed and hope you recoup all the well costs and maybe damages as well. Also hope the new washing machine will soon be up and running, yeah for warranties. Thankfully, you have also met some wonderful people like Bill, Dave and the lady at the bank who are among the good folks in the world, unlike those loan sharks. Please do keep us posted on how things are going with the new well. Also, glad that cement wall and staircase were taken down.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Rain,

It sounds like good fortune is definitely on your side. Sure, you've had a lot of hurdles to jump over but someone along the way has helped to make that jump a little easier. I'm so thankful your bank came through for you in this tight jam y'all were in. Lending companies like the one you describe is despicable and it's a shame anyone would profit off someone's misfortune. I know how relieve you are to finally have water again. I hope things are in good standing before winter gets here. I don't want y'all have to have any troubles when it's so nasty cold and snowy. Thanks for sharing your update, my dear.

Mary said...

It's difficult to add much more to this saga dear Rain. Just know I think you are amazing and that when all it completed regarding water woes, you, Alex and the fur babies will enjoy a wonderful, restful life in your corner of this crazy world.
Bless yoy.
Mary -

You may want to consider a pretty, flowering Chamomile lawn. Here's a good link on how to start from seeds.

allhttps://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/chamomile/planting-chamomile-seeds.htm

Fundy Blue said...

I'm so glad that the bank came through for you and that you escaped the clutches of the loan sharks, Rain! How kind and gentle Alex was with the little mouse. Good karma will come back to you! You're riding a big wave, but you'll make it to shore. Hugs to you both!