Jim in front of old Water Tank
When you are Living the Country Life. You have to work hard to make things easier. Having no 110 volt electricity adds to the problem. My Grandfather devised a plan to have running water in the house. Thanks to his ingenuity, we actually had running water into our house with hot water for the bath tub and kitchen sink, but we had no electric pump!
There is a spring on a hillside across the road from the house that is about 20 feet higher than the back yard. There was a 2,000 gallon tank on a platform in the back yard. There was a pipe running from the spring to the tank. Then pipes were run into the house to the sink and the bath tub. Any overflow water from the tank was piped to a hollowed out log water trough in the horse lot. Overflow from the trough ran into an old cast iron stove door for the chickens and turkeys to drink.
We had hot water if there was a fire in the old Home Comfort range. There was an “L” shaped tank along one side and the back of the firebox in the stove. Water was piped through that tank to a storage tank to heat water for dish washing and for baths in the tub. One could determine how much and how hot the water was in the tank by feeling the sides!
After quite a number of years, the old tank rusted through and began leaking about half way up the sides. The water running all over the platform in cold weather produced many huge, beautiful icicyles. Also, the water from the spring contained lots of iron. The pipe form the spring to the house would stop up with rust. There was a union pipe fitting about 15 inches above the ground beneath the tank that we could connect a pitcher pump to pull the rusty water from the spring pipe. This would have to be done about once a month. Daddy finally tore the old tank down and installed two 55 gallon drums in its place. During those later years we would have to carry buckets of water for drinking and cooking from the spring. It would usually be my job to go to the spring late in the evening and get a bucket of water while the other siblings were doing their chores such as milking, feeding cows, horse and mules, and bringing in firewood. (Sometimes, someone would take a gallon syrup bucket filled with buttermilk and hang it into the spring so we’d have cool buttermilk with supper.)
As I said, it would be late in the evening when I’d go up there. The evening star would be coming out about that time. So, I’d do the old “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish a mite, have the wish I wish tonight!!! Then I’d always wish I had syrup, butter and biscuits for supper tonight!” I’d always want my wish to come true!!!
During the summertime Joe and Daddy built a frame and put a 55 gallon drum atop with burlap walls. We would fill the drum with water and the sun would heat up the water for a nice warm shower.
In later years, after REA brought electricity to the place. Daddy had a deep well drilled. The driller hit lime rock at about 35 feet. Then he hit a ten foot shale pocket at 300+ feet. They tested it for flow, but it did not produce enough volume. So he continued to drill until he hit another pocket at 545 feet. The driller had 590 feet of drill stem on site and he used it all. This pocket furnished plenty of supply of good, light weight water that came up to 30 feet from the top of the ground. This has produced adequate, good tasting water for about 58 years.
In recent years the County ran a water system in our area that we connected to. So we can now get water from them or from the well.