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We Are Flying Solo

November 14, 2013

It's A Gusher!

So this happened on Tuesday:

No, not that kind of well!!!
Yes, Flying Solo Farm has a well!

And not just a well, a 30 GALLON PER MINUTE (gpm) well!  For the uninitiated, on average, 5-10 gpm is doable to decent, up to 20 gpm is really good, over 20 gpm is spectacular.  Since this baby can tehcnically fill a 100-gallon trough in just over 3 minutes, yeah, I'm excited.  And it is only 175 ft deep (pretty shallow for this area), which means if the pump goes out (it happens), I have a relatively small amount of pipe to pull out of the ground to fix it!

Josh and his crew from Triad Drillers were fantastic to work with and yeah, I have mega truck envy.  On the front bumper were mounted about 25 different bits, each the diameter of my fist with nickle-sized carbide beads (power tool geek-out).  They also had a huge bladed one to drill through rock (which they hit 50 feet down, I was surprised they got that far rock-free in this county!). 

A Flying Solo Drilling Rig...literally!

Josh and co. clearing the way for the drill.
For those of you scratching your heads, wells are the most common source of drinking water in this part of the country if you live outside of city limits and the reach of municipal water infrastructure.  I grew up with a cistern and septic tank, so it has driven me NUTS paying a bunch of money for city water (complete with chlorine, ever looked into the long-term effects of that nasty stuff--here is an article I wrote for my older blog about why you should!) and sewer.  We always caught our water from the roof (although could buy trucked in water during droughts) and let the septic tank do its thing.  It only costs you a miniscule amount of power to run the pumps on each.

It was huge!  And those round rust-colour things on top of the front bumper are the bits.
There can be downsides.  Too many people tapped into one underground vein can use the water faster than it can refill, which means you run out temporarily and you have to wait for the well to "refill" via subsurface flow.  If you are in an area where the groundwater is contaminated by bacteria, industrial waste (this is the biggest threat from fracking for natural gas), you will have to add some sort of filter or treatment to your well (my boss, for example, has a UV system on his, read the above linked article on chlorine about that).  But most wells in the close vicinity of the farm have good, sweet-tasting water and a plentiful supply of it.

Dowsing rods
We also did a fun experiment; my new neighbour was taught dowsing by his grandmother.  So before the drillers got there (I figured they would have some fancy technological thingy), we went up there with his two coat hanger rods and he found two or three spots where they indicated water.  The driller showed up out of his truck with two coat hanger rods and ended up drilling in one of the same spots!!

There is much skepticism and debate about whether it is valid or not and little to no science to back it up.  But I've watched it multiple times and even tried it and even me, Queen of the Skeptics, can't write it off as bunk.  Hey, it found my water which my farm will be dependent on and the amazing flow rate raises the value of the land considerably.  Good enough for me!


  1. Good for you - you're water rich.

    Will be putting in a cistern when I build here. Everything old is new again. :D

    Re dousing - people have been utilizing that technology forever - there must be something to it. I love that your drillers had their own rig!

  2. CFS, I definitely feel rich! (Well, not actually, but am relieved about the water, that was my one unknown).

    The dousing was really cool. When I tried it, one stick did move but the other one didn't, so I guess magic takes some practice.

    I love cisterns too -- I just think it's ridiculous to not catch that rainfall and use it. All you need is a pump and a filter and then you won't get ass cancer (in chlorine article) which no one wants!

  3. My aunt lives in BFE, Georgia and uses a well. I always remember being amazed at the concept (suburban child), but the water was infinitely sweeter than my city stuff.

    Congrats! :)

  4. I Have Always lived With Well Water Barring About Two Years. Kinda Spoiled I Guess. Good thing Too Cause With Ass The Size Of Mine I Can't Imagine The Ass Cancer I'd Get. congrats On The Water!!

  5. Yay! Everything is happening so fast!

  6. Yah! You have to have good water. :)

  7. Hooray water!!

    Lol, I think the water flow at Rebecca Farm is like 200 gal/min. Now that's crazy!

  8. Damn Montana. Actually, Josh the Driller said he'd drilled one the other day that was 150 gpm but it was in a different county.

  9. That's terrific news! What a relief for you.

    I am not going to go read about chlorine, because I don't need ANYTHING else on my plate right now to scare and upset me. I've been on muni water my whole entire life...

    That is pretty amazing about the dousing rods. Would certainly not have thought the drillers would rely on that!

  10. Yes those rods really work!

    Good for you guys for getting water...always a big concern. Great news.

  11. I've grown up on un treated well water, and since moving to the city really miss it :( Jealous of your water!
    Also, it took me a minute to figure out that what you call dousing and what we/I call divining are one in the same. For a good laugh on the topic though, go watch Corner Gas' Top Gum episode (S5 E11)