BALANCING ACT:   Family fun well done

Staff writer

What is a family to do when ever-tightening finances limit television channels? Why not go out and work on the well.

Our farm well’s casing caved in several years ago, switching us over to exclusive use of rural water services. While we are thankful for the availability of good, clean, water at the twist of a tap, the mounting bill as we daily clean our dairy barn and water our two-acre garden was becoming a problem.

When the indoor entertainment went good-bye last week, well work became a solution to several problems facing our family.

My husband is a plumber with an intriguing host of ideas when it comes to fixing problems. The well problem was no little deal, and had we hired someone else to fix it, there would be more bills unpaid than the dish network. But, thanks to a little ingenuity, my husband, along with three sons, ages 16 to 23, figured out a way to pull the old casing, blast out the rocks and roots that caused it to cave in, and construct a 32-foot geyser of sand, silt and ice-cold water that made memories that will last a lifetime.

It was almost dusk last Tuesday when I heard hooting, hollering, and laughter enough to rival a water-fun park coming from beyond the creek by the oat field.

The boys and dad had built a 20-foot platform above the old well house and, between the four of them, inserted a new casing into the old well. After a lot of banging, chipping, and pulling up rocks and roots, they got the new casing to slide down in place and then proceeded to blow out obstructions with compressed air.

The result was a glug-glug, kaboook, then silence for what seemed an eternity as air went down into the water vein below, and then hiss, slam, kabaam as air, water, silt, and slime shot up and out the top of the long pipe, forced by cold, cold water from somewhere deep, down below.

The first time it happened, one son, who was standing in the well house, completely disappeared from sight in the blasting shower of water. Father and older son, who were on the platform, had no way to get away from the spray. Though they did not get sand and silt in their faces, they did get completely drenched by the cold well water. The son standing on the ground holding the air compressor switch held his post despite all that rained down on him from above.

It was more entertaining than any reality show or movie channel extra could ever have been on dish. And the resulting laughter and silliness still makes me smile.

Evidently, one time in the eye of a geyser was not enough, because they blasted the spray of water out of that hole several more times before deeming it “done.” Laughter rang through the valley.

Even though the clothes my men wore that evening will never be the same (they came in completely coated with mud and slime), I am ever thankful for the laughter that continues to rock the house over that episode of a job well done.

Maybe the money we save on the water bill can now go toward entertainment payments. Or not. I wonder if turning off the cell phones might result in more on-the-farm ingenuity and fun times together.

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