The Problem Which Dare Not Speak its Name.

Somehow the water line froze again. This time it was really as if it wanted to tell me who is boss. It froze solid from inside the well to a point about thirty feet uphill from the well. It’s hard to believe, let me tell you!

I don’t want to write about this subject any more than my readers want to read about it, but here we are.

This time I disconnected the faucet inside the yurts and removed the hose altogether. I’m willing to schlep water in pails for the rest of the winter if it means I don’t have to spend one or two days a week getting water to flow.


I cut the hose off at the top of the freeze, just outside the well, and at a point in between. With the newly created pair of frozen hoses in hand, I made made my way back to the yurts where I took them inside separately to thaw out.

First one large chunk of ice slid out.

Then a bunch of smaller ones.

Grandpa and I worked away at the hose that progressed from outside the well casing to the inside. We poured hot water on and into the hose, and used the fishtape to try to break up any remaining ice. This was progress in inches at best. Every once in awhile we would tip the end of the hose down, draining the water we had poured in, as well as the occasional small cube of ice. It was quite a slog.

Eventually Grandpa succumbed to the lure of home, and I decided drastic measures were called for. I opened up the well and dropped in the ladder.

It was not the high point of my day.

With Donna’s help and support, I managed to keep my sanity, and she kept up admirably with a supply of kettles for me to pour into and on the hose from inside the well. This was similarly slow work to what went on outside the well, but at least the slope of the hose ensured that my hot water was getting to the blockage, and then easily draining back out without freezing and making the situation worse.

Donna kept up a great pace on the outside of the well with the fishtape, unwavering in her optimism that we’d eventually break through.

I physically dragged some of the hose through the cement casing and a few feet of frozen sand, so that I could pour more hot water on the outside of the hose. This finally did the trick!

Donna cheered, and with the sun setting, I pulled up the ladder, restored the short length of hose to its original position, and reconnected another short length of hose so that I could control water flow.

I radioed Donna back at the yurts to plug in the pump, and quickly filled four twenty litre pails. Covering the end of the hose with a sandwich baggie and rubber band, it was with a sense of grim relief that I called it at day.


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