ANN BAILEY: A dry basement, no mosquitoes -- ah, enjoying the simple pleasures of life

At the risk of tempting of fate, I'm happy to say that the water in our basement is gone and the sump pumps are resting after nearly four months of running constantly.

Ann Bailey

At the risk of tempting of fate, I'm happy to say that the water in our basement is gone and the sump pumps are resting after nearly four months of running constantly.

I am reveling in the luxury of being able to sort the clothes in the same room they are washed and walking back and forth from the washer and drier without sloshing through several inches of water. What's even better, though, is being able to pick up a piece of clothing that has fallen out of the drier and place it in the clothes basket, instead of having to wring the water out of it and re-wash it.

Another plus is that going up and down the basement steps is much safer because they aren't wet and slippery from the water dripping off of the shoes or boots I'm wearing. I can carry my clothes baskets with both hands and not worry about having my feet going out from under me.

Meanwhile, our cats, Jessie and Smokey, are happy because they have the run of the basement to hunt mice and again can sit on the basement ledges and watch the birds.



But while in most ways the absence of water has made life easier, it left behind a few issues that we are dealing with. One is getting rid of the stuff that got wet.

While we removed most of the things that were on the floor early this spring before the water started rising up from the ground, there were a few that we forgot about. Those were behind a door in a small room in the back of the basement where we keep our canning and freezing supplies. The jars were high and dry on shelves, but some plastic containers were in cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags, and those will have to be thrown.

The wet conditions also left behind some mold, which we are in the process of removing. We hauled out and disposed a lot of old coats that we were storing in the basement and washed some other ones with a good dose of bleach added to the water. The ones that we salvaged are now stored in the attic.

Drying up

As the inside of our house has gotten drier, so has the outside area that surrounds it. Because water no longer is continuously shooting out of the hose connected to the sump pump in the basement, the pond at the edge of our woods has dried. The birds, which took baths and drank from the pond all summer, now are using the bird bath again.

The water in the ditches and at the far edge of the woods also has dried and the swamp smell has dissipated. Meanwhile, a few of the water ponds in the fields surrounding our house have dried and the ones that remain are much smaller. The neighbor who rents my mom's land has been able to work some of the land that had been under water since May and barring rain, may be able to get through the rest of it before freeze-up.

Another plus is that the drier conditions, combined with cooler weather, has reduced the mosquito population, which has made it much more pleasant to be outside in the evening. I can go out to the garden and pick muskmelon and watermelon without constantly swatting the little buggers.

I am trying not to be too euphoric about the reduction in the water levels on and around our farmstead because I know that a heavy rain or two could put us back in the same boat. Still, I am thoroughly enjoying it while it lasts.

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