Putting in a New Well

As I surely don’t need to remind anyone who’s been following our blog, water issues have been following us since the very beginning.

Our first well was installed quite a noticeable distance from the cabin – namely on the far side of the sauna, about 200′ from the cabin, with the sauna housing our reservoir tanks.  Normally we have been pumping the sauna tanks full, and then they go on to feed another underground line to the cabin.  This works not too badly in the summer time when the water doesn’t freeze up, but come winter, it has not been possible to keep the water line thawed between the sauna and the cabin, where water sits without moving for hours at a time, and it rests only two to three feet below the surface, on bedrock.

Another issue with that well is that because of its location, it was difficult to pack much sand around it, and as such, it perhaps doesn’t have the best of natural filtration.  We have not yet been able to fulfill the basic test requirements to drink the water from it without filtering or treatment.

So it was after this past winter with us schlepping buckets from the sauna to the cabin for drinking, doing dishes and laundry, I decided we had to take a new tack.

Knowing that the pond had been dug out to a depth of six feet, I was certain that that area had definite possibilities for finding a suitable spot to put in another well, which was much closer to the cabin.  I wandered to some low areas, and noticed that all summer long there were locations with open water in amongst the trees there.

I called up B.J. Kapush, the fellow who had originally dug the well and beefed up our driveway, and asked him to come out for another crack at a well in that location.  He arrived shortly afterwards and agreed that there was a decent chance for us to get something useful in there.  Just for confirmation, he plucked a nearby willow branch and witched the area.  As he crossed open water, the branch clearly dropped straight down.  I’ll leave my readers to satisfy their own opinions of the value of witching water.  In Lappe, I think it’s taken rather seriously.  I’m happy to have my own biases confirmed in any manner.

After finishing up another big job he had been working on, he arrived with his large excavator, two well tiles, and a culvert to help with drainage on the front driveway.

Who doesn’t love these big machines?

First up, he expanded the parking area directly in front of the cabin.  This was something I hadn’t really discussed or thought of, but could immediately see the value of.  Now we can park two or three vehicles at the cabin without crowding – very nice!

In seconds he can accomplish what would take me days.

After that, he quickly came around to the north side of the cabin and tore out some unsightly stumps that I had previously been zig zagging around with the ATV.  This should also improve drainage on that side.

More housekeeping!

With these preliminaries out of the way, it was time for the main event.  He came around on the south side of the cabin and quickly lifted off the huge stump of the tree I had cut that was right where I most expected success.  You can imagine my delight when a pond appeared beneath it almost immediately.

An instant pond underneath!

He lifted out more and more soil in the area until he finally hit bedrock, I’d estimate at between six and seven feet of depth.  Water was running (I almost said gushing – but I don’t want to oversell my excitement) in all around and he worked quickly here.

Nice and deep!

Scraping the bedrock cleaner than I would have thought possible with such a large implement, he brought down the first tile and set it into place.

First tile going in!

Quickly he added nice, clean sand all around and then with the help of his assistant and a level, tapped it until she declared it to be “perfect”.

Racing back with a second tile, he placed this and packed more and more sand around.  Once the sand was up most of the way along the sides of the second tile, he again had his assistant check for level and made some fine adjustments to get it too to rate “perfect”.

Tile number two being carefully adjusted!

Pumping it out and then scraping out a few buckets of the muck in the bottom, we were really feeling good about the way things had been turning out.

He added the lid and then proceeded to fill in and slope the sand around the well.

Capping it off!

As requested, he also scraped a shallow trench from the well to the corner of the cabin where the water line would be entering through the foundation in the same spot that the greywater system drained out.

Trenching to the cabin.

Working backwards, he landscaped his way back to the driveway, where he also proceeded to give me a “push out” about halfway down the front drive – a spot where I could push snow in the winter time to relieve the banks hopefully.

He also added a culvert and built up the area where the driveway had settled the most and was beginning to flood in the spring and after heavy rains.

As a final help, he graded the area where the dojo tent formerly stood before I moved it on, and left a pile of gravel there for me to use as I saw fit whenever I needed to fill in any areas.  I am thinking of using it to really improve the bush trail, although Grandpa seems to already have his own thoughts about where it really belongs.

As soon as they left, I headed back to the city to visit Maier Hardware and pick up a new pump, piping and pick Dave’s huge brain for more confirmation that I’m on the correct track, or to see if he has any unique insights about better ways to solve some of my conundrums.

While I was gone, Donna started the sauna and supper, so when I arrived it was a great chance to wash up and then enjoy a delicious meal and the company of my loving family.

Today was a good day.  (Even if the ATV mysteriously died – but that, as they say, is another story…)

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