Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building a life#5 Getting started.

Lowering the pump down the well. Wasp attack.
Thank goodness it is summer we think as we spread ourselves and our possessions over and along both sides of the driveway. We had made a quick trip to our new property during the last Easter holidays with the van full of little sticks with burlapped roots, -our future fruit orchard- and I had cut down some large fir trees to make a clearing where we would plant them. After the many lodge pole pines I had cut I was pleased to find that larger trees were not correspondingly more difficult and that they hit the ground with an even more satisfying thump! We planted between the logs and build wire cages to keep the deer away. Now, a few months later we have some space to build a temporary goat shelter out of plywood sheets and can put the chickens out in their movable pen.

'The flight of the Israelites' We spread out across the clearing.

My brother-in-law Gerry has loaned us a ‘pup’ - a half-length commercial box trailer into which we are able to put all our household furniture. Lined up along the driveway is; first the big storage trailer, then our tents with a sagging plastic tarp against the rain and finally the travel trailer which serves as kitchen, dining room, livingroom and bathroom. At its entrance is the milking stand. Despite the hundred and one demands on our time, the farm chores must still continue.

Milking lessons.

Before we left the Okanagan we bought a deep well pump and generator from a plumber friend complete with instructions for installing it in the deep drilled well beside the driveway. We need water immediately so up goes a tripod with a big block ( pulley) and down goes the torpedo shaped pump as we attach length after length of plastic pipe with the electrical wires taped to it. Heather tends the rope that lowers it all stage by stage. Suddenly I hear a screech. Her bare skin has been found by some angry wasps and she cannot just let go and run for it! I`m tempted for a split second to say” Hang on, Just a few more lengths and we are finished!” but caution for my own marital survival tells me to grab the rope and belay it quickly before we both make a run for it!

This summer, it turns out, is a peak year for wasps. There is a low hum in the air and wasps are everywhere, hovering just above the ground. One busy afternoon, Anne and Elaine are playing behind the tents in the salal bushes when they start to scream: they too have found a wasp`s nest. Heather , a descendent of pioneering Scots Canadians, races toward them, picks up our youngest, Gwyn, along the way and throws her into the igloo tent, zips the door closed and leaps down the bank to grab the others and carry them to safety. All this, while on the other side of the clearing I am still trying to figure out what is going on. That wife of mine has a lot of presence of mind in an emergency -the kind of personality that makes all this adventure, and future ones, possible.

Hair washing in the irrigation water from the lake.

It turns out that one should not run a pump from the ragged current of a generator so we carry on hauling water from the nearby lake in a collection of (new) garbage cans. We all go for a swim in the afternoon, and come home with our heavy sloshing load. We need to move towards our first building - the pumphouse/workshop - where the main electrical connection will be made to the grid. Upward, onward. The summer is zooming by.

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