Friday, 18 January 2008

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

The title is courtesy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge but is surprisingly apt today. It’s been raining, not particularly heavily down here but consistently. So today was going to be another inside day. However I couldn’t sleep last night so I was up at 11 pm when I realised that there was no water in the taps. A few choice words later and I trundle over the field to the well pump house. On the way over I realised that the ground is so waterlogged that the water was coming in over the top of my shoes and on opening the door of the pump house to give the tank a kick (it usually works) I saw that the pump was on the way to being submerged. So I spent a very damp half hour bailing out the pump house and thankfully the pump restarted.

Three thirty when I finally went to bed I noticed that the water has stopped again but decide to leave it to the morning. When I went down this morning the pump house was as I left it and I could get the pump to start but it cut out after a few seconds and refuses to pressurise the tank. Picture of the workings with the remains of last nights flood and my bailing bucket. We came to the conclusion last time that the probable problem is the non-return valve which has a slight leak. So a good part of today has been spent trying to remove the valve. Do you think it will shift? No, not a chance it’s completely rusted in place, so I expect to spend most of the weekend trying various other ways of getting it out.

Next job to attempt today was ploughing a furrow to form a ditch to direct the runoff from the 5 hectare field into a ditch so it doesn’t run into the pump house and the well. This is the proposed line where I want the ditch to go.

The well is now full again but contains a lot of silt from the run off and the ditch is now a necessity. So here is piccy of tractor with plough.

What it doesn’t convey is the nearly 2 hours it took for me to get the plough hitched. I’ve never had anything to do with the plough before. It was delivered here back in May last year and it’s sat in the yard, as I’ve not needed it yet. After about 5 attempts at backing up the tractor all of which were further complicated by the tractor needing a service including tightening the hand break I finally judged how far it would roll forward after stopping and got the side lift bars lined up to perfection. It was then that I made the big mistake. I tried hitching up the higher side first and of course the lift bars wouldn’t drop enough to let the other side be attached. No real problem, just unhitch and do it the other way round you say. Well that’s what I did, or rather tried to do. It was then that the log holding the plough upright decided to fall away and the plough decided to topple. Amazon in training I might be but there was no way I can lift that plough. Thankfully it rotated onto one of the lift arms and I was able to get a couple of props under it before it went right over on it’s side. Using the car jack I was able to raise it back closer to level and eventually get the arms and lift attached.

Next problem to surface was that I could not make the plough turn over. I’d been told “all you had to do was pull the lever and it would rotate and plough the furrow the other way”. Oh no it didn’t so I resigned myself to having to do a bit more spade work to make sure that the turned furrow didn’t stop the water entering the ditch but I would still get a reasonable ditch ploughed.

Have you watched a tractor doing wheel spin even though it’s in four wheel drive? The field was just far to wet to get any grip. It wasn’t too bad just driving across it but with a plough you’ve got the blades pusned down into the soil so the drag on the tractor is huge. So picture of start of ditch plus small ponds where the wheels were spinning.

I think the soil on this bit of land is good though which is a bonus as it’s where I intend to make the vegetable garden. Just look at the size of the worm I ploughed up. It’s a bit out of focus as even on the close up setting I can’t get my hand far enough away and I didn’t have anything else with me to give an idea of the size.

Final picture today is a little harbinger of spring. Walking round the small field below the house I found these daffodils on their way to flowering.

As for water, well Regis left a couple of milk churns here last time the pump failed and my neighbour Eric kindly filled them for me. I’ve shortened my one plastic drainpipe (all the others are soldered zinc) and put a small bin under that to collect rainwater but guess what. The rain is due to stop.


Move To Portugal said...

are you sure that not a snake? :)

dND said...

It is a bit big isn't it, I was quite astounded when I saw it. I've seen on TV that there are some very large earthworms I think in Australia. Ah found it. It's the Giant Gippsland Earthworm and is up to a metre long. This one had a bit of a way to go to match that but it was the largest I've seen.

I love the way worms tickle on your hand (OK I know I'm weird), and the fact that they do such a good job in the garden is a bonus.