Monday, July 8, 2013

Cool Clear Water

One of my favorite songs growing up as a kid was Cool Clear Water by Sons of the Pioneers.  My mom loved country and western music, and so did I.  Not that I had much choice, mind you.  Mom played her 45s while she did housework.  Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jim Reeves, Rusty Draper, and a dash of Elvis tossed in.  I loved it.

There's no city provided water in Bleecker.  We get our water from wells.  Our rental cabin's well is a shallow dug well.  We use it for bathing and washing dishes, but that's it.  You don't drink this stuff.  Beavers could be pooping just upstream.  Our drinking water comes from a spring down the mountain that we collect in jugs.  This all works out fine by us, unless the pump stops working and there's no water for bathing, washing dishes, or flushing the toilet.. Which it did.  The pump quit.  No water.

Then you only have stream water from a pail, which you fetch, and toss in the toilet tank to flush.  You can't shower from a pail.  Not comfortably.

One of my classmates in elementary school had no running water.  No indoor plumbing, no electricity. When I went to visit him once (in Slate's Hallow, for my Waterford friends), he had to fetch a pail of water from a spring before leaving the house.   Some people lived like that, not that long ago.  Maybe some still do.

Yep.  The jet pump providing the cabin with water stopped jet pumping.  It just sat there and hummed.  It did that when we first moved in, but I disassembled it and spun it by hand and got it going.  It worked fine for two months, but no more.  I took it apart and spun it by hand again, twice, yesterday to no avail.  It wasn't gonna pump no more.  So I called the landlord, got his blessing, and hied myself to Tractor Supply and fetched a new 1/2 HP jet pump.

After buying and living aboard Drift Away, I'm confident that I can do anything.   Yes, anything.  Lack of knowledge or abilities doesn't stop me.  Lack of skills or intelligence doesn't deter me.  Nor should it stop you.  Give me a set of wrenches and Google and I'm ready to tackle any project.  Perhaps it was the inspiration of Wally Bruner on Wally's Workshop that inspired me.

If you don't remember Wally, he had one of the first do-it-yourself TV shows.  He was always messing up, like putting his foot through the ceiling while installing a drop down attic stairway.  His ending catch line was "You can do it, if you try!".

Wally's Workshop is a self-help show which aired for a single season in 1972. Wally Bruner is the show's main handyman and host. Together with his wife Natalie he demonstrates how to tackle a number of projects including bookcases, bed frames and more. The real key to the shows success and entertainment value, however, is in the couple's chemistry, and Wally's lack of coordination, which often leads Wally to drop tools, splatter paint and commit other follies and foibles that create a comic atmosphere.
Wally is my guiding light.  Tearing apart a jet pump is nothing compared to tearing apart a diesel generator's raw water cooling system on a boat, which I did recently.  It's not that boaters are particularly skilled at this stuff, but at $125 an hour for incompetent service, we learn to be independent.  I can screw it up myself.  I don't need to pay someone else to screw it up for me.

So after ripping the Gould pump apart and determining that it had seen better days, I hied myself off the mountain to Tractor Supply and bought a new County Line 1/2 HP jet pump.  Back on the mountain, it took some doing to persuade the old fittings off the old pump so I could get them on the new one, but between my perseverance and Earl's workshop, I got it done.  I connected everything back at the rental Unabomber cabin, primed the pump, flipped the switch, and got HUMMM CLICK.  HUMMM CLICK.  HUMMM CLICK.  HUMMM CLICK.

Hmmm... hummm click doesn't seem right.  The pump was supposed to be calibrated at the factory to 30 lbs cut in pressure, 50 lbs cut out.  It seems to me like they're both set to the same pressure.  So after an hour of backing the cut in pressure adjustment waaaaay off and the cut out waaaaay in, it is working.  The pump operates normally, and we no longer have to fetch buckets of water from the creek to flush the toilet.

Please note the cast in the beginning of the above video.  The guy at the beginning on the far right in 1934 is Roy Rogers.  Look closely at the video and you'll see his sidekick, Pat.

That's what I need.  A sidekick.  A bumbling idiot who provides comic relief.  For now, I guess, I have to do it on my own.

And background music.  Usually, the theme from Mission Impossible would be appropriate, but yesterday Cool Clear Water would have worked.


  1. Oh my gosh these were a few of my father's favorite songs too....can't imagine listening to them now...

  2. David, my love.... You are the main character AND the bumbling sidekick all rolled into one. This is why I love you.