It is 139 steps from the growing beds in our little lean-to greenhouse to our catchment basin/pond. I counted them Sunday on my fourth (but not last) trip between the two, hauling water to start our fall crop of cold-hardy greens.
By the time we build our house, we will dig a well. By next spring, we hope to press our sleek metal barn roof into service filling an underground cistern.
But the last 6 years since we began transplanting trees to better locations, incorporating native plants into our restored prairie and savanna, and playing with experimental garden plots, we irrigate it all with water dipped from our pond.
Most of that water is hauled in 5-gallon plastic buckets with the aid of a modified canoe yoke. We got the idea to use a yoke while watching a public tv program on colonial settlement, and have been really grateful for this elemental tool.
Carrying water pails with a yoke is an amazing experience.
Pick up the buckets without it, and the weight cuts into your fingers (especially after the little plastic handles inevitably break, and you are holding onto a wire). At the same time you feel an immediate and painful elongation of of your shoulder and elbow joints, which you know can not be good. Proper posture? Forget about it! And adding insult to injury — each step knocks a bucket against your shins.
OR step between two buckets bend forward, fit the yoke onto your shoulders, then straighten up, and you are carrying the same weight, but somehow dividing it between your shoulders and your hands makes the pails seem almost float, even as you register their weight, you feel removed from it.
That said it is easier, but not actually lighter.
I have a great respect (back surgery 22 years ago) for the squishy discs between my vertebrae. So I don’t fill the buckets full. I tote about 60 pounds in each load, and every load I haul seems heavier than the last. After a few trips, I start looking for other tasks to intersperse with the water runs. So far, six is the most I feel like making on any given day. Luckily, that is more than enough to meet our watering needs for most days.
Hauling water certainly focuses my mind on its value, and how fortunate I am to live where it flows abundantly. The water I haul becomes infinitely precious, and a hate to waste a drop. I literally feel the weight of my water use.
Then I drive back to town, shower up, launder my clothes and punch the dishwasher start button. I’m glad I don’t have to carry all that water.
But maybe I should haul what I actually use in one day – just to know in my bones how much water I use.
I wish we could all have the opportunity to weigh our water use.
Let me know if you have carried water, and how.
Categories: TALES FROM OUR 44 ACRES