Up Through the Ground Come a Bubblin’ Crude…
There’s water burbling up on the northwest corner of the farmlet. It’s been there for weeks now, a bog, ever replenishing, threatening the neighbor’s electric box and washing out their driveway, but also making everyone giddy. We’re all talking about digging ponds. It makes me feel a bit like hillbilly Jed Clampett out huntin’ for some food and ending up with Texas tea.
Water, that is.
I walk down the easement each day, which is a bit of a hill, just to witness the miracle. Three years ago, our neighbors built their house on the 2.5 acres to the west of us and dug a 300 foot long trench down the side of the easement in order to get electricity. Toward the end of their long trench dig, they scooped down about 2 feet and water just gushed out. The lower 150 feet filled with water, and at the bottom of the hill the water was standing 5 feet deep in the trench. The neighbors filled it in, and since then the rain water has run off out its normal creek bed. This year, the coldest April in record-keeping, water is gurgling up big-time giving us a bona-fide groundwater mystery.
We have a family friend, Milt Burgess — he took the photos at my parent’s wedding in Helena, Montana in 1954 — who is also a water expert
. He sat in our kitchen with us 3 years ago and said that potable drinking water is now scarcer than oil. We’ll run out of it long before we run out of oil. Cheap oil, anyway.
I wrote Milt yesterday about our mystery — he is currently in Hawaii working on his novel which is set in the southwest USA in 2102 and entitled “Where Did The Water Go?” — and he said, “I am thinking it is an artesian spring. You must be sitting on a large aquifer. How lucky!” I’ll say!
Stream leaving our property
The Circle Gardens all lay along an ancient creek bed, as far as we can tell. They’re at the low point in the road and surrounding forest, but there is no surface water. Our well is only 35 feet deep and people have remarked at how sweet and good the water tastes here. It tests as super “soft” — no minerals. It’s snow melt from the Olympic Mountains.
I remember when Mt. St. Helens blew in 1980, ash showed up in the water hundreds of miles away within hours through the underground streams and rivers. Last year we watched as the BP disaster spread oil throughout the Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast. This year it’s radiation polluting the water and seeping into the earth’s sponge, entering the water cycle. Since our bodies are well over 60 percent water, how can we not be affected?
Saturday was so warm and delicious — the only sunny 65 degree day of the month. The Bearded One and I spent the day cleaning out the Strawberry Circle, and gave a bucket of starts to the neighbors as well as planted a bunch up in the goat pasture.
Strawberry garden path cleaned out, daisies planted in the center. Afterward we soaked our 54 and 55-year-old elderberries in the hot tub i.e. cement pond.
We both now have sunburned red necks. I’m hoping the dose of sunshine and Vitamin D helps my twitchy gardening legs. My hip paid the price for all that kneeling and bending, and the Bearded One joked that he cried himself to sleep because of his various aches and pains, but at least I didn’t kick him in the night, as I’ve been known to do. Like the Eagles’ song
— “Ooh, hoo, twitchy woman, she’s got a twitch in her thiiiiggh….Woo, hoo, twitchy woman, she’ll wake you up in the niiiiiigt.”
It started raining again on Easter, at least here. Down in Texas, I see it’s so hot and dry they’re doing rain dances. Our rain would make a Texan feel rich right now. Our groundwater makes me feel rich, not that we’d ever try to sell water. Water is like air or fire. It’s everyone’s. The rain, as tired as I get of it sometimes, keeps us green.
Mossy monster stump
And the rhubarb loves it. The colder and wetter the better. Our older Twenty Something daughter, who has been in her new job and new housing for a month now, is throwing a May Day housewarming and wrote requesting rhubarb pies. So let it be written. So let it be done.
5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 apple, peeled and grated
1-2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup cold water
Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl and let sit on the counter for a while (while you make the crust) so it gets all juicy. Make the crust by cutting the Crisco into the flour with a pastry cutter, then add the cold water and mix into a ball. Divide ball in two, roll out for top and bottom crust. Bake 400 degrees for 50 minutes.
3 cups rhubarb in 1 inch pieces, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook slowly until tender, about 5 minutes. Makes 2 cups.
- Our oldest daughter took this photo of the Bearded One and me in 2001, making a rhubarb pie. It was awarded a bright yellow “Select” sticker at the Rainier and Ilford’s 2001 Washington State High School Photography Competition.
Served with sparking farmlet water.