Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Is Your Water Good?  Do You Have Enough?  Where Can You Get More?

Grandpa's place had a dug well of water, when we moved there.  I don't know who dug it.  A windmill pumped the water into a cement tank.  The tank sides were probably more than or about two and a half feet high.  The bottom was, of course, poured cement and it was about ten by fifteen feet.

Whoever dug the well must have dug four or five feet across.  They dug down about ten or twelve feet, until they hit rock, a kind of limestone.  It seems they could hear water in or under the rock.  So they started laying rocks and cement flat in a circle.  They brought the circle of stones up a little more than two feet above ground.  The inside opening of the well was about three feet across.   Then they broke through the bottom of the well.  The way it looked when Daddy and I were working on the pump rods, the water flow was inside an oval stone underground pipe with an opening about three feet across and maybe four feet deep.

After we moved from the farm, Uncle Lawton's family moved there.  So our family knew the well from 1900 into the early 1960's.  During all those years the well never went dry, even during the ten years of the great drought. The only problem, people couldn't stand the taste of the water.  It had the taste of gypsum rock, as did all the farms in the whole area.  When we ran pipelines from the well to the farm buildings, the faucets had gypsum buildup.  We had to scrub it off with a wire brush, before we could attach a water hose.  Cattle did drink the water, but they didn't have a choice. 

The water in Red River was salty.  Our main source was rain.  Everybody had gutters on their roofs and caught the rain water in their cisterns.  Because of the blowing sand and dirt, it was good to let the first of the rain  wash the roof, then direct it into the cisterns.  I personally think rain water is the best.  It is just so good!!!  If it comes off good cedar shingles, for me that is a flavor that just can't be beat.  When the water in the cistern gets low, it is wise to pump or draw out the last with a bucket.  Then go in on a ladder or by a rope and scoop out the mud.  After it's all out, pour down or lower several buckets of water and wash out the bottom of the cistern.  All that goes down must be brought up.  I've done it several times myself.

When the rains failed, we had to go hunting water.  There was a well in Eldorado where we could pump water into our barrels and haul it home to our cistern.  On the south side of Red River the well water was good.  When Daddy was young, the men in Oklahoma ask Mr. Mulkey, if "we" could dig a well in his ranch.  He agreed.  Many of the men on our side of the river went over to help sink the well.  The soil was so sandy they couldn't get the walls to hold up as they dug.  It kept caving in.  Their solution was to lay a ten foot circle of stones, and cement them together.  After they had laid about 3 layers, they begin to pump the sand out from under the ring of stones.  As the stones sank, they laid more stones.  After a while, twelve or fifteen feet down, they came to a bed of gravel that had seep water.  When the stone walls of the well were deep enough, water had risen enough to maintain an adequate supply;  They laid a cement circular top on the walls and installed a hand pump through the top.  That water was delicious.

That Mulkey well furnished hundreds of barrels of water to dozens and dozens of Oklahoma families through many years of the last century.  We and friends often went there to have holiday picnics.  There was no bridge, we had to ford the river.  Countless numbers of trailers, wagons and pick-ups have made that crossing through all those years.  After all the mules and horses had long gone, Delbert White still drove his team of mules from his house, a half mile south, a mile east, a half mile south, cross the river, up the south bank and two or three miles to the well.  He hand pumped both barrels full, tied on the canvas covers and retraced his path.  The trail he followed  weeks on end for many years.  Water might be more precious than gold.  You can't make coffee or tea with gold.  You can't bathe the kids or dogs in gold.  Three fourths of our planet is covered with water.  A huge part of our body is composed of water.  Water is a mighty precious gift from God. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, most of the well digging and building walls I did not know.
    I was down in the cistern a lot of times with you to clean it out!! Scary but fun.
    Have a wonderful day.