Tag Archives: springs

Life in a Swamp

6 Feb

One of my readers asked me if we really live in a swamp. It’s not (yet) an actual swamp; I suppose a bog is more like it.

You’ve hear the song We Got Married in a Fever. Well, we bought this place in a fever. It was do-or-die.

I was living in a two bedroom place in Section 8 housing, and I would lose my certification when we got married, as our combined income would be well over the limit.  I was, essentially, going to be evicted; nicely, mind you, but evicted, none the less.  We had to find a place to live – and soon.

We had three girls between us, so we really needed three bedrooms. The two younger girls were the same age (eight), so they could share, but the older one, who was twelve,  needed her own space – and so did we! We spent a lot of time looking at townhomes and condos, but none of them really suited. (God was looking out for us, as two of the places we looked went downhill in a hurry!)  A friend from the bank found this house, and we decided to take it. We had absolutely no money for a down payment, but the price was W-A-Y below market value (That should have been a warning!) and the bank gave us a really good deal. I had recently left the bank (dating an auditor is a no-no when you are a teller) and The Squire was a long term employee who was not looking to leave any time soon.  A small loan from my brother-in-law and we were on our way. We settled and moved in the early winter.

The ground was frozen. When it thawed out, we were in for a big surprise! There were six – count ’em! six – springs in the front yard. It is not possible to walk from the house to the mailbox without treading water. We ended up having a pond dug, which encompassed three of the springs. There are two others near the house – one is the well we use, and the other is a sort of “reserve”; the overflow from both of those wells goes into the pond. We have a flow from the pond of three gallons a minute.  Another spring is in the middle of the front yard. There is one more spring in the middle of the flower bed outside the window.  This is a new development.

We live in a valley, and very, very close to sea level. The water is rising, whether Trump believes it or not, and this newest spring is probably due to that. There are also a number of soft spots in the front, where water simply pools.  These are also new.  I have become a bit of an expert on bog plants. Bog plants that like shade. Bog plants that like shade and the deer don’t like.

The back yard is a bit higher in elevation, and tends to stay dry, but when it rains, we get everybody’s water. There is a ditch between our property and the electric company’s right of way (what we call the Back Forty) and two people run their sump pumps down there. Nothing to be done about it, as water does tend to flow downhill, and technically it’s not on our land.

We call our home “The Rice Paddy”. I’ll let you figure it out!

Don’t Bury Me at Sea

29 Apr

I have seen enough water problems in the forty years we’ve lived here to last me well into eternity.

Sometime during the winter a new spring opened up in the flower bed outside the den window. The water runs under the retaining wall, along the walkway, and then spreads across the walk until it reaches a point where it can cross and run down the other side and into a trench The Squire and I dug to direct it vaguely in the direction of the stream. I scrub the walk about once month with the push broom and bleach water to keep the “yuck” under control.

Last week we noticed a new spring about ten feet from one of the two wells in the front yard (We don’t call this place the “Rice Paddy” just to be funny.) and this morning The Squire went out to see if he could figure some way to direct the water toward the well, rather than having another trench or a sinkhole in the front yard.  To make a long story short, the answer is No. We did use the plumber’s snake on the pipe that runs from the well to the pond, and we are hoping that opening that up completely will keep water from seeping up into the yard any more than it is already. The well has so much pressure that it was coming up around the pipe faster than we could sweep the water into the pipe.

We were carrying all the tools back to the house, and I had kicked off my shoes rather than get them all muddy walking across the yard. The Squire, in a moment of pure whimsy, decided to go down the walk “to keep his shoes dry”. Mind you, his shoes cost over $400 and are made to conform to his feet, so this was not a totally unreasonable idea. However, the walk is covered with water – and slime.

Before I had a chance to react, his feet went out from under him, and he went crashing to the ground. He tore up his left shin, and managed to get himself thoroughly covered with dirt. Blazer was hopping all around, trying to help his poppa, and both of the humans – in spite of the pain – were laughing so hard it was difficult to get The Squire upright again.

A warm shower, lots of gauze and Bacitracin, some aspirin, and a dish of ice cream, and I think he’s going to survive.