So, earlier in the week as I set off through virgin turf to get the logs near the property line, I started up the generator and got Donna started on pumping water for a load of laundry. As I passed by on the tractor, she began to frantically flash me some hand signals. At first it was double V for victory - I was impressed with her enthusiasm for laundry, but her facial expression didn't match her hand signs. Then she turned them both upside down.
I've never seen an upside down V for victory, but logic would say it would have to mean defeat, right? And double defeat in this case?
The look on MY face brought her out of the yurts to inform me that it was obvious she was signing W - M... Washing Machine. I guess I am a little slow sometimes.
Of course, further interpretation was in order. As it turns out, the washing machine worked fine. It was the well that didn't work. She should have said her sign language was indicating "Well Malfunction", that would have perhaps met me halfway.
Halfheartedly I poured a warm stockpot of water onto the ice, deducing that the blockage had to be in the pipe where it passed through ice. Surely ice outside a pipe would mean ice inside?
Anyway, my wimpy warm water didn't have any effect. I closed it up, and added a 100' fishtape to our shopping list. That, and a tiny 800 watt Chinese generator I had seen at Tool Town. The previous attempt to start our generator had me pulling the starter cord 120 times. Not good for the generator, and certainly not good for my shoulders (well, maybe it would be good for them, if I considered it exercise, which I didn't...). I knew that my charger only drew about 600 watts at the beginning of the charge, tapering down quickly after that. As long as Donna didn't try to start the well pump or washing machine right after I started the small generator, things would be fine.
Donna and Mummu delayed their trip to town by one day, which was fine, and on sauna night I waited patiently for their return to retrieve my goodies.
It was too late to do anything that night, so we enjoyed family steam, Mummu's pastries, Coronation Street, and then snuggled to bed.
First I disconnected the water line 100' up from the well. I was confident that the water line was frozen below this point. I was able to blow hard uphill, and Kenny reported that he heard and saw the small spray that came out inside the yurts.
I began feeding the fish tape down the water line towards the well. Talk about something ELSE not easy on the arms and shoulders... In any case, I managed to unwind about 97' of the fishtape before encountering an obstacle. I guessed it was the elbow in the pipe, inside the well, and that the blockage was indeed where the pipe passed through the layer of ice.
Madly rattling the fishtape, I had Grandpa stationed at the open well, and he confirmed that to his ear, the end of the tape was at the elbow.
I returned to the yurts, grabbed two steaming kettles from the stove, and poured them carefully around the pipe. This is more difficult to do than you would suspect. The instant the first bit of boiling water hits the ice, the entire well fills with steam, and I have to just guess where to most efficiently pour the remainder.
I emptied the kettles, and then, using my genius system of yelling uphill through the well hose, screamed "O - N" into the pipe.
"O - N".
"O! - N!".
"O!!!!! - N!!!!! (gasp, gasp)
I heard the pump kick in, and listened carefully to the hose coming up from the well. I could hear ice tinkling inside, which was exciting. Then I heard water gurgling inside, which was more exciting. At this point, I realized that it was probably better to be patient and just watch the end of the hose, rather than holding it to my ear, current situation considered.
After a moment, a trickle, and then a flow of water! Yeah!
Things have cooled off slightly overnight here, but it will remain to be seen if Grandpa says it is cold enough to return to the bush for firewood. We are back to burning slabs from the sawmill, so that means I need to cut more big trees so we can have longer lasting fires. I have been researching rocket mass heaters a bit lately, but am still not sure. They sound great, but there are also some reservations about burning softwoods in them, which puts me on the outs with the concept. If anyone has any experience or thoughts on the matter, I'd be all ears. We're still in the design stages of the cabin, so it is a good time to incorporate things of that nature if desired.