Water Problems

Northwoods Journal

Friday, April 3, 2015
Good Friday

We arrived Thursday afternoon. Mark worked from home in the morning and had everything loaded up so we were able to get on the road as soon as I was done with the Easter party for the 3-year-olds. It was a pretty easy drive up but rained the entire second half of the way, which made it seem gloomy. Thankfully the rain stopped just as we arrived so we didn’t get soaked unloading everything!

The temperature was mild, too, we only needed a sweatshirt, and most of the snow is gone except for in the very shaded and low-lying areas. As I unpacked, Mark went out to get the water pump started first thing and this is when things went south. The pump was running but no water was coming out. He took the head off the well pipe and dropped something down the well to make sure there was water, and there was, but none would come out. The pump seemed to have suction but not enough. We always bring a big 7 gallon jug of water from home for the dogs, so we had that and a few gallon jugs left over from when we were up in January, so we decided we would just make due for now.

I put the bird feeders out but didn’t see a single bird. We took the dogs for a quick hike up the ridge behind our across-the-road neighbor’s place. They have 7 acres with trails and we have permission to walk them whenever we want to. Since everything is so muddy, we figured it would be about the driest place around, going uphill. Coming back we went around the backside of the place next door and scared up a barred owl!! I saw this huge, dark form lift up and glide silently away, landing in our woods. Then we heard the distinctive hoot! I did not have my camera with me, so no photo.

We ran into town for a part Mark needed for the pump (that did not fix the problem) and a few groceries. He took Hungry 5 back to our place and it was depressing to see MORE clear-cutting. It is everywhere! I have never seen anything like it before in my life. There were plenty of black morph squirrels though, we saw one or two around every bend in the road!  They must have fared well over the winter.

After dinner we went out for a drive to spot wildlife. After all, isn’t all this clear-cutting supposed to be so great for the wildlife??? We only saw 5 deer. Since it had been warm and the ground is so cold and wet, a fog developed, which was actually pretty cool. We stopped a couple times for me to try and get a photo. Of course, my limited “skill” could not really capture the magic of the moment!

Fog over the meadow.

Fog over the meadow.

There was also a huge, nearly-full moon.

Nearly-full moon.

Nearly-full moon.

I love this shot where the moon turned into a starburst! I only wish I knew how I made that happen. LOL

Is it a moon, or a star? :)

Is it a moon, or a star? 🙂

The fog over Sportsmen’s Dam Lake was so pretty.

Fog over the lake.

Fog over the lake.

When we woke up this morning, we saw the birds had discovered all the food! It was a steady stream of bird visitors all day long. We had a dozen different species: blue jay, chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, mourning dove, robin, cowbird, dark-eyed junco, white-breasted nuthatch, and a molting goldfinch.  Here are a few of my photos.

Red-bellied woodpecker.

Red-bellied woodpecker.

Downy woodpecker.

Downy woodpecker.

Blue jay.

Blue jay.

Dark-eyed junco.

Dark-eyed junco.

Molting goldfinch.

Molting goldfinch.

Mark fired up the Coleman stove and fried up some bacon and I made blueberry pancakes with some of our hand-picked blueberries from last summer. I finally have found the secret to making good pancakes! (Letting the batter rest and having a super-hot griddle.) It only took me 30 years!

After breakfast, Mark decided to dig out the pump house and lift the pump out, to do further investigation of the water problem. There was a very cold wind blowing so I bundled up well and took the dogs for a hike. We walked back to Sportsmen’s and I was so excited to see two pair of tundra swans on the lake!! I could also see dark forms of some kind of ducks. My eyesight is pretty poor, and I didn’t want to walk close to the lake and scare anything off, so I couldn’t tell what they were. After I got back, I asked Mark if he wanted to drive back there with me to see what they were. Imagine my chagrin when we went back with camera and binoculars only to discover the dark blobs were merely Canadian geese!!

Tundra swans and Canadian geese.

Tundra swans and Canadian geese.

There were two pair but I could not get them in the same frame and they had their backs to us, all the way across the lake, so not the best photos in the world.

Bottom's up!!

Bottom’s up!!

You can see the lake is still mostly ice-covered.

Mark thinks the water pump is toast, so we loaded up all our empty jugs, emptied our 7 gallon one into a big cooler, and headed up to Jackson Lake campground to pump water since it appears we will be without for the entire weekend. While there, Mark spoke to the guy from Mel’s Wells (who just happened to be at our friends’ place in Lewiston giving an estimate). It will cost $4,500 for a new well – we’ve been wanting to put in a new one for the past couple of years because our water here is so gross – plus the cost of pulling the permit. Mark is worried this will lead to sticky questions about our “Michigan septic”, which could cause us multitudinal problems. Big sigh… This means we are stuck in the same position we were last year, and the year before that. We can simply replace our pump for a few hundred dollars and keep on the way we’ve been for the past 14 years, but it doesn’t solve any of our long-term problems – like getting hot running water.

Later in the afternoon we took the dogs and drove over to Mills Rd. and hiked up the east side of Lookout Ridge and back down again. It was a pretty cold, windy hike and when we got back we were both ready for a nice hot bowl of homemade soup for dinner. I have been very stressed for the past month and was really looking forward to coming up and having a quiet, relaxing weekend. The added stress of our water situation has not helped matters very much! Tomorrow we might resume our quest for a new northwoods hideaway.
As we went to bed, the “Blood Moon” shown so brightly it was like a streetlamp shining into our bedroom!

(As a post-script I feel I need to apologize to all my blogging friends for having fallen off the face of the earth for awhile.  I have these episodes where I get very overwhelmed with life and feel there is not enough time in the day to do the things I NEED to do, much less things I WANT to do.  I love following all your blogs and feel I have made good friendships through the blogosphere, but with limited free time, it is hard to keep up with everyone.  Plus, my wonderful husband spent a month of weekends building me a fabulous scrapbooking work station, so when I have had a few moments of down time, I have been working on my scrapbook of our Vermont vacation.  School will soon be out for the summer, and I am now off on spring break, so I am looking forward to catching up with all of you!!)

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12 Responses to Water Problems

  1. kathydoremus says:

    Always nice when you are able to post. 🙂 Really like the “fog over the meadow” picture.

    Like

    • Awww, thanks, Kathy! I think of you all the time because I went to Wild Birds Unlimited and bought bark butter!! 🙂 I haven’t had a lot of bird activity at home lately though. 😦 But the downy woodpeckers really love that bark butter!

      Like

  2. avian101 says:

    It’s always nice to hear from you Amy. 🙂

    Like

  3. Good news, bad news, you don’t have to take the blame for the fog over the meadow photo, no camera can capture that scene correctly in a single image, the camera sensor can’t handle the wide range of lighting. The bad news is that you don’t get to take credit for the starburst moon, that’s from the camera’s diaphragm that sets the aperture. You have a six bladed diaphragm, since you got a six pointed star. Well, you do get some credit, by composing the shot with the moon “in” the tree, your camera set the exposure so that you got the starburst rather than exposing the moon as a white blob.

    Great shots of the birds, especially the tundra swans!

    You two were already looking for a different place up north, so I wouldn’t stress the well/water pump too much, everything works out in the end.

    Like

    • Gee, thanks Jerry! Can’t you let a girl believe in a little bit of magic? 😉 Just kidding! I knew I couldn’t take any credit for that moon pic, I just thought it was so cool when I loaded it onto my computer! Actually, I was surprised I remembered how to even work my camera, I haven’t touched it in a couple of months. Just been too busy and the bird activity at home really dropped off for some reason.

      The water problem will get resolved, even if it’s only a short-term solution. We are definitely replacing the pump next trip up and continuing to look at all other options.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tootlepedal says:

    I am sorry about your water problems but in the middle of it all, I really enjoyed your jay shot.

    Like

  5. gladgardener says:

    “merely Canadian geese”????? They are gorgeous! and they honk so nicely. Your photos are great! Too bad about your well. Isn’t there always something?

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    • Haha, but I was hoping for something new for my 2015 bird list, like ring-necked ducks or something. 🙂 Mark has already been looking at new pumps, so we’ll have water next time.

      Like

  6. Tiny says:

    Oh I did miss this post (as I’m not on blogs every day). I love the pictures and the story….apart from the water problem. I hope you get that sorted out soon.

    Like

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