heirloomista

a woman-owned, woman-run boutique farm

Drilling A Well

Kelsey ZaavedraComment

The farm doesn’t really look like a farm yet. It’s more of a blank slate right now, which sometimes relieves me and totally overwhelms me at others. The thought of shaping it into how I see fit is very freeing but then there is the financial leash of building all the infrastructure necessary to make a living from the land. Buildings and water are a big chunk of change.

The first thing I need to do in order to have a somewhat predictable crop is to get water. We didn’t get more than a 1/10’’ of rain for the entire month of May. Yes, I was that crazy lady doing a rain dance daily. My soil is like a sandy beach and holds water for only a moment in time. You can imagine how often watering was necessary..

What do you do when it doesn’t rain for a the month you are planting the seedlings you started a couple months ago? You haul it in. That’s right: by the 55 gallon drum. Thanks to neighbors, I was able to fill my (2) 55 gallon drums with water almost daily. This routine of hauling water was hard work. Each barrel weighs 450 pounds when full. I had a 3 step system that allowed me to keep everyone watered “enough” to get by.

Step 1: Place barrels in the back of my truck. (Amen for my F250!) Attach short hose to threaded cap on the lid after they’re full. Drive back to the farm.

Step 2: With all my might, push barrel over on it’s side. The water in the truck barrel would run through the hose and into another 55 gallon drum with a spigot on the bottom. This drum sits on a small wagon attached to a lawn tractor. This little lawn tractor quickly was named the “Water Wagon.”

Step 3: Drive the Water Wagon to the fields. Fill a 2 gallon watering can and proceed to water crops. Yes, water them individually so no water goes to waste.

Some of you are probably wondering why I didn’t just attach a hose to the spigot from the Water Wagon barrel: I did. It was such a low pressured trickle that it was faster to fill the garden watering cans. This was all very ridiculous and took up much of my days. So when this beast pulled up one day I was near tears with happiness.

 George Johnson Well Drilling. 5 weeks late but wonderful people.

George Johnson Well Drilling. 5 weeks late but wonderful people.

George and Todd worked on my well for a week. They were very accommodating to my curious mind and answered my 8,000 questions. Can you believe that he bought this new? in 2018 they used a truck that was made in 1972.

145 feet later we reached water. After weeks of hauling water and days of watering by hand instead of planting, I was able to water with a hose. Not ideal but significantly more efficient! I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to switch gears from watering all the time to weeding, harvesting and washing instead.

One minor detail I haven’t mentioned is that I am off the grid. Although I have a well now, I do not have anything to power the pump (more on this later) so George was incredibly kind and generous as to bring a generator up to the farm and install an old pump until my solar pump was ready. This meant that each time I had to water I had to start the motor up and listen to the song Honda sings until it’s shut off…… Not perfect but a major improvement to hauling water!