Life's funny that way
On a cold and soggy Saturday and not feeling 100 percent, I decided to spend the day cocooned in my pajamas, snugging with my KitCat on the couch. My restful day was interrupted when Marc called to inform me my “cowgirl” services were needed.
This is his way of telling me he needs help with something and I am his only option. My response is always, “No. 1 cowgirl at your service!” To be a bit cheeky I asked, “What kind of pants should I wear?” As ridiculous as it sounds fashion questions usually get me the best information about what will be expected of me during our outing.
This day the instructions were “dress very warm” meaning we were going to be outside fixing something that might take a while. I suited up appropriately in my fleece lined jeans, plus several layers of shirts, a Carhartt jacket, thick wool socks, rubber mud boots, neck gaiter, heavy hat and insulated gloves.
Five minutes later, which is generous as I usually get a one-minute warning, we were headed out. The water well where the cows are currently grazing on milo stocks had a low flow and we were going to try to fix it. This particular well is only used every few years and has been a headache over the few months cows have been grazing there. After numerous repair jobs and visits from a well service, it still wasn’t working properly.
Farmers are relentless fixers, lifelong learners and creative problem solvers because their work demands it. It feels strange to fix the same thing over and over, but there is not really a good alternative. A new well would likely be a waste of money as this one has plenty of water it just isn’t pumping efficiently. Not using the pump means hauling truckloads of water to the field every day, which is time consuming and inefficient. The most logical and effective way forward has been troubleshooting the pump piece by piece to find a solution that sticks.
Over the next few hours we tackled the tedious task of dismantling parts of the pumping system without losing anything down the well shaft. After everything was dismantled, parts were changed and we decided to prime the well to get ready for reassembly. It only took a few minutes to get this set and it was to roll.
We should have known what was coming next but it seemed to catch us by surprise. Seconds after sending air into the well, water erupted like it Old Faithful — soaking everything around including us. After hours in the cold, slippery conditions we were now soaking wet.
Instead of being angry we both broke out into laughter like kids playing in a sprinkler. After a moment or two more laughter, I made a wisecrack about the irony of the geyser not happening in the summer heat.
With clear evidence of available water, it was time to put everything back together. It only took a fraction of the time and we were able to restart the pump to check our handiwork. Unfortunately, water was once again trickling instead of gushing, our attempt at a fix didn’t work.
Life is funny that way. Sometimes hard work, doesn’t work. A task can be unpleasant and still leave you with more joy than when you started, especially if you have someone to share the burden with. Remembering frustration and defeat are just one part of living can be all the perspective it takes to give you the determination to try again tomorrow.