Water Woes…and A Picture!

You thought I was going to talk about the fact we haven’t had rain since June 4th or my having to water the garden daily, right? Nope. I’m done talking about that because I feel so bad for those who are deluged with water on either side of us in this great state of North Dakota. Today it’s all about the water inside the house-the stuff we take for granted coming out of our sinks, showers, and dishwasher/washing machine. We are so blessed in this country to have water without thought; in the country it may be a well or in our case, rural water. We have a well, it needs fixing, and rural water is inexpensive; all we need is salt for the softener and life is good. Or you can be really lucky and live in a town which needs no softener…In early June I was making jam (not a shocker alert there) and when I took the jars out, they had a white film to them. When they dried, it was a fine powder and I had to wash all the jars by hand to get them clean. I wash my jars anyways after canning, but I had to REALLY wash them and dry them immediately; not a big task if you can a dozen jars, but more daunting when you do 45 or so. When my husband returned from his job I pointed this out and he immediately went to look at the water softener. He noticed no salt had gone through the cycle in the four days he had been gone, and considering how much I go through, he knew something was up so he tried to fix it. It didn’t work so we stopped at the plumbers in town and a week later they came out to look at it. They thought they had fixed it, but alas, it still didn’t work. Basically, our water was hard and if you know anything about that  (if you don’t I’m going to give you a lesson) soap is a nightmare, especially in the shower. I have long-and I use this term loosely-hair and immediately I knew something was up because I could not get the shampoo to suds nor clean my hair. I used a ton of it before I figured out what was going on; besides that, the soap leaves a film on your body you can’t scrub away, so needless to say, the shower (which should be a pleasant thing) became my enemy. My hair looked terrible; as long as it was wet it was ‘ok’, but when it dried, it was greasy underneath. YUCK. I became an expert at wearing my hair up, in caps, a turban, whatever. I was desperate. A con with living in the sticks is the availability of someone to come fix things; we don’t have three companies vying for our attention. We have one, and it’s in Jamestown an hour away. It had now been three weeks since the problem started and they told us they could come on the 26th. I was seriously considering shaving my head both in solidarity to my sister, Kathy, who had to shave hers, and to alleviate my shower woes.  Besides the shower debacle, our clothes weren’t getting clean, either. The whites were dingy and I couldn’t get my husband’s oily clothes to come clean. Strangely, the dishwasher and washing dishes was not a problem; if anything, the suds were amazing but we had to dry everything immediately or it left big spots. Well, a lot of dollars later the softener, which hadn’t been replaced since 1975, was replaced and the water was soft again. It will take awhile for the two hot water heaters to empty out, but I am going to heat some cold water and wash my hair in the sink. I haven’t done that since high school. I need clean hair for the fair! The last part of our woes happened when our son went out to check the cattle after lunch; the guy had probably been gone about three hours and the cows were all bellering.   We had gotten another batch and some cows beller, but they were ALL making noise so he went out to investigate. It’s a good thing he did because both waterers were empty-the guy had forgotten to turn the valve on after fixing the softener and since we aren’t using the well, it’s the cows only source of water. I am thankful I have a little one like him.

So today take a minute to appreciate the ease in which we have water in our homes…I am grateful we have it, even if sometimes it’s not the quality we expect.  Hey! We harvested two pounds of strawberries yesterday and three of spinach. Spinach is the Kim Kardashian of the garden; it’s so fussy and needs extra work to harvest it. We picked the berries quickly, but had to use a scissors and snip the spinach leaves individually; Adam held the box while I snipped…and snipped…and snipped. Our hour of power in the garden was actually three and a half yesterday; we hoed, mulched the potatoes and spinach, and  picked the berries and the spinach. We still have to mulch the beans, but they can wait a few more days until they’re all up. If you aren’t mulching, you should; mulching keeps in the moisture, cools roots, and prevents dirt from splashing your produce, thus making it easier to wash after harvest. We mulch tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, beans and berries. I wouldn’t bother with onions, beets or corn; we just hill the ground up around them and they’re fine. One year I mulched the entire garden and it was the year of the rain. I had a lot of rotted things that year such as onions and potatoes; it’s a learning process…just like life. Here’s the first picture of the harvest year! Can’t wait to make them in a spinach salad, or a smoothie, or a fruit salad…



Four hours later: ahhhhhhhhh….I just washed my hair in warm, soft water for the first time in 22 days. I am woman!!!