If at first you don’t succeed, blame gremlins

Incy wincy Sally went up our water route
Down came the rain and washed our Sally out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
Now incy wincy Sally goes up the route again

OK….that rhyme was a bit of a stretch….the sun hasn’t come out.  But Sal is going back up today anyway.

You see…….the pipeline is a kilometer long (give or take a few feet).  It lies along the side of the steep ravine that contains the creek.  At the top of the ravine, there is a little pool and, in that little pool, there sits a pick-up strainer device that captures the water and sends it down the long 1″ pipe that terminates at our cisterns.  To get there the pipe goes downhill from an elevation of 120 feet to the beach and then runs along a natural rock wall for the greater distance to our place.  But it also has to ‘climb’ back up to get to our elevation at about 70 feet.  Basically, we have  50 feet of ‘head’ over almost 1000 yards/meters.  And water runs downhill.  ‘Should work!’

Or so one might think…………………….sometimes water defies gravity and it’s own fluid nature and just sits there.  And it acts in this recalcitrant way more often than you would think.  We have theories about this miracle of physics but not much else. ‘It’s clogged with sediment.’  ‘It’s air in the lines’.  ‘ It just takes time. Give it a day’. ‘The pickup is sucking air’. ‘Animals ate through the pipe!’ ‘A tree musta fallen on the line.’ 

Interestingly, all of the above wild guesses have manifested as true over the years…some more than others (only once did an animal chew through the line).  But…you never know which one it is until you ‘walk the line’.  Ergo, Sal goes bushwhacking.

The one that boggles my mind is the ‘give it a day’ suggestion.  Water is halfway down the hill.  A valve is opened at the bottom – about two hundred feet away – and we wait a day!!????  How does that make any sense?  Go ahead – I dare ya – get a pipe 200 feet long and pour a bucket of water down it…does it take a day or so to flow out the bottom?  Of course not!  And yet….that has been the best solution most of the time…..

The process requires going to the top to clear the pick-up and then, to ensure none of the mystery pipe gremlins are at work, one heads down-pipe to the first ball-valve and diverter and it is opened.  If water comes out there, then the top section is deemed clear.  And down goes Incy Wincy to the next diverter and repeats the exercise.

Yesterday, Sally went to the top and then to the next two diverters.  All good.  The third one was then opened and it did NOT run water.  Sal waited for a bit and declared a gremlin and came down.

“Maybe there is air in the line?  Or sediment?  Or maybe a tree fell on it. Most likely it’s still frozen somewhere.”  We have a habit of running through the list of possible causes every time as if that might help in some way.  It never does.  The only answer is to ‘walk the line’.

“I’m going to try again.” 

“Good idea.  Careful of your knees.  And while you are out there, look for more logs.  Ya did good yesterday.  And, oh yeah….what are you making for dinner tonight?”

6 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed, blame gremlins

    • Yes and no……yes because we have photos of just about everything. ‘No’ because we still don’t have water….so we don’t know exactly where the obstacle might be. The new pump came. And the old one was a problem. But we seem to have a new problem because we have yet to get water TO the new pump. Sal may have to walk the line again.


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