:12/30:

This past week we have hunkered down and avoided going outside if at all possible.

Yes, I am getting a bit of cabin fever, but at lease I am hunkered down in my own home.

My heart is just hurting for all my fellow Californians who have lost their homes, loved ones, workplaces, businesses, pets, and lives to the fires.

I have avoided going to the news sites to read anything or see any video about the fires. The one time I did so was to be greeted by the grizzly image of a dead deer.

However, I have broken my social media ban to check on people I know. I have quietly gone on Instagram and Twitter to make sure they are OK. Unfortunately, some of those people have lost everything.

Around the homestead, we have let any outside work go undone. We can rake leaves and pick up chestnuts later. The garden won’t suffer any for being mulched a couple of weeks after we had planned. Our lungs are much more important to us. The only real outside time we spent was doctoring one of our chickens. Chewy got attacked by some sort of canine, but Helios and Sol, our roosters fended the predator off and herded the all the girls back to the barn.

I am taking the time to knit like crazy on D’s Chicane sweater. I bought the yarn for him back when B was a few weeks old, so it’s….thirteen years past due. Thanks to the smoke, I have only half a sleeve left, and then I can wet block all the pieces and sew it together.Then it’s just a matter of sewing on the zipper. It can’t be that hard, right?

I’m also taking advantage of the enforced seclusion to put together a curriculum of sorts. No, not for the kids. This one is for me. I went into the garage and dug through our still-packed book boxes to get all the homesteading books I have bought over the years. There are many! Most of them I have read or leafed through, but this winter I am really going to study them.

This is exactly what I need to get me through my long cold winter days: knitting, books and a warm cuppa coffee/tea/apple cider/mulled wine….mmmmm, mulled wine. A kitten sleeping on my lap doesn’t hurt.

 

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:chestnuts:

The first of our four chestnut trees have started to drop nuts. I can already tell you I’m going to be eating a ton of these! They are sweet and perfect. I’m also going to start looking up chestnut flour baking recipes. It’s a perfect alternative to our Celiac household.

:the well:

Hello, lovelies! This has been an event filled week.

I said I would write up what happened to the well, so here we go….

Last Saturday, I was in the midst of putting the kids’ new beds together, when there was suddenly no water. Nothing. Nada.

Doug and I went out and started troubleshooting. We ended up in a hard and fast education about our well system. We checked the one thing. It wasn’t that. We checked another. Nope. Not that. And so we worked our way from the tank to the well until we realized that the power to the well had not been turned on! The system had been shut off during the sale because the house has sat empty for a year. We had assumed the system was turned on because the house had water (city-slicker waving!). Hope was high we had found the problem, but no. Doug checked control panels and pressure switches. All of it seemed to be working. the only place we had not checked was down in the well. Replacing a well pump is hard and expensive. We had eliminated everything else.

By this point, we already had a neighbor coming to help us, and were on the hunt for a water truck to come fill our tank so we could function in the meantime. My real estate agent (bless her!) lent us the key to their old house (on the market) and let us shower there. She also got us some extra drinking water.

There were calls made to the sellers. Neighbors offering advice, tools and helping hands. This is when you learn that country living really is about the community.

Finally, Wednesday morning the water truck showed up and filled our tank. The driver was local and super nice.

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Water truck giving us a fill

Then, Doug and I got on our farm clothes, and pulled the well pump and line up 120 feet. No winch (flex pipe, so no need. YAY!). We pulled up the ten feet of PVC, and then I walked that down the vineyard as Doug hauled up the rest of the line. It was hard, intense labor. It felt like a brutal CrossFit WOD, talk about functional fitness.

Finally, we had what we suspected was the culprit, and low and behold…the pump worked! The problem was the water line had come undone. Please note: after we pulled the pump, we had professionals come up with a pump and all the fittings in case the pump was broken. They were the ones who checked the pump and reattached everything. We saved ourselves some labor by pulling it up. They saved us an $800 well pump. We also watched everything they did so if we need to replace the pump in the future we can do it ourselves. Doug is pretty good with electrical systems, but he’s still not a pro.

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The pump.
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See Connor aaaaaaall the way down at the other end of the well line?

And here was the problem.

Moving into a new house always exposes problems. Always. This is our third house, we know this. It’s just that country homes expose issues that most people don’t think about.

And it also exposes the community who lives around you, and we are in a great one.