ANN BAILEY: Time will tell if this is a two-pump springEach year I eagerly look forward to spring with thoughts of red tulips, green grass and lacey leaves dancing in my head. Then reality hits and I realize that between the cold and snow of the winter I’m leaving behind and the beauty and warmth of spring, there is an in-between season that must be endured.
By: Ann Bailey, Grand Forks Herald
Each year I eagerly look forward to spring with thoughts of red tulips, green grass and lacey leaves dancing in my head.
Then reality hits and I realize that between the cold and snow of the winter I’m leaving behind and the beauty and warmth of spring, there is an in-between season that must be endured.
The interim period prevents more challenges for certain people than for others. For some, people, battling overland flooding occupies their hours. I am fortunate that I am not one of them. I’ve helped sandbag for people whose homes are being threatened and as a reporter I’ve written about the struggles and heartache that’s come with flooding, but I’ve never been in the position of having to protect my home from flooding and for that I’m grateful.
High water table
However, my lack of personal experience with overland flooding does not mean I am oblivious to the problems that water can create. In fact, dealing with the results of too much water is a rite of spring at our house and at my mom’s.
In our neck of the woods, consecutive years of wet conditions have resulted in a high water table and in the spring it comes up through the floor of our basement. We can’t stop it, so we use sump pumps to keep it under control. We know that we really are only re-circulating water, not disposing of it, but if we didn’t pump it out of the basement, it likely would climb to a level that would cause damage to the washer, dryer, water heater and furnace.
Last year, the debut of water in the basement caught us by surprise. One day the floor was dry and the next day the stuff we had sitting on it was either water-logged or floating.
Recalling how unpleasant it was hauling our sodden belongings, some of them ruined, out of the basement, this year we were determined to be ahead of the game. Last Saturday, we cleaned the basement and put everything up, high, and hopefully, dry,
The next day, Brian decided he had better check on my mom’s basement. Her farm is about 60 feet lower than ours, so she has a much more serious water problem than we do. In the spring, the water not only comes up through the basement floor, it pours through the cracks in the fieldstone walls.
Good thing, Brian checked my mom’s basement because the water was a foot deep on the floor. He hooked up the sump pump, and by the end of the day the water was pumped out. However, the next morning when I checked to make sure the sump pump was working, the water was back up to its original depth. The pump, which had run for about a month steady during last fall’s wet spell, apparently had reached its life expectancy and died sometime between last Sunday evening and Monday morning.
Brian had already gone to work so our brother-in-law, John, saved the day by buying a new pump and setting it up. So far that pump is working fine. Time will tell if this is two-pump spring. If so, we’ll have to buy another half-horse pump to keep the first one company.
Besides water, the other challenge of spring on the farm is mud. It is present nearly everywhere and especially prevalent in the farm yard. Our Arabian horse, Freda, is testimony to that. This time of year she wears a gray coat that obliterates her white hair. Meanwhile, our yellow Labs could be mistaken for their black cousins.
We try to keep the mud outside by having the dogs stay in the outdoor kennel and removing our boots before we come in the house, but the muck inevitably finds its way indoors.
Early on in the mud battle, I valiantly wipe up the mud spots and sweep up the dirt clumps that fall off of our boots and onto the porch floor. However, I soon am reminded that my efforts are for naught and I give up the fight until the yard dries. Once the muddy conditions subside, I wash rugs and give the porch a thorough cleaning.
If the weather cooperates, the mud season shouldn’t last more than another few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll grit my teeth and dream about the glories of spring.