Saturday, July 21, 2012

Water, Sustainer of Life

One of my projects on the "Honey-Do List" has been to re-line the fishpond. It had leaked for over two years, due to a friendly Lab dog taking his daily bath in it.

The gentle, goodnatured dog went on to dog heaven, and our pond became an unattended attraction, an unattractive drain pit that generated mosquitos and a family of frogs. Not a bad little ecosystem in itself.

In years past we did have goldfish living in the pond, but the neighboring raccoons soon discovered the refreshing snacks.

After removing years worth of muck, leaves and pine needles, I relined the pond and began dripping water from a hose.

This little stream supplied about one-hundred gallons in a 24 hour period.

I recalled a long ago experience, and also brought to mind an eyeopening fact of life; how much water do we, in this country, waste.

Some years ago I had the privilege meeting an elderly widow. She lived in the woods alone in an eighteen century, rough-cut box house. The tin roof glowed red with rust, the porch had sagged on the low end, and the steps to it had rotted years earlier. The kitchen faced the dugout rock and dirt bank and the door from it led to a level side yard.

She had electricity to the house, but over the years found living without it worked quite well. She walked the single, five-hundred yard path to the road, met with friends and purchased her beans and sidemeat from the country store.

She swept her weed and grassless yard with a straw broom. The chickens long quit their scratching around the house, but never learned not to drop their black and white excrement where visitors may be walking. Thus the straw broom.

She didn't have a dug well to draw from, but a constant drip from a stubby pipe protruding from the rock bank to the side and back of her house. On a flat rock under the drip a white enameled bowl caught the precious water. The chickens and her pooch found an ever present source of refreshment out of that bowl. When she needed water for herself, the flowers, to do dishes or cook with, she simply planned ahead and changed receptacles. A narrow-mouthed jug did the trick. The chickens could not reach it, and the dog went to the creek.

The last I heard the lady was ninety-six. She chewed her homegrown tobacco when she worked, and smoked her pipe while sitting on the porch.    . . . No locks on the door. A shotgun did a better job. No insurance, no investments, no ulcers. . . .  


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