Mason July 15
Ron and Dee Fournier are rejoicing that they are now hooked up to CMP electricity. They were getting tired of troubles with their generator and tired of paying large bills for propane to run it, and have been anticipating having reliable power for about a year, since Vernon Davis ran new power lines up Kings Highway past the Fournier homestead. As I understand it, the hookup was delayed by problems involved in making sure the new lines and poles met CMP standards.
The National Forest Service has been working on the dirt road that connects the Flat Road to Songo Pond via the national forest in Albany. The completed parts are much smoother than previously, but the section between the Patty Brook Waterfowl Marsh road and the other National Forest road in the direction of Songo seems narrower than before because of the way it was raised about two feet above the old road surface without widening the base; the new gravel fill tapers from the width of the old road to a more narrow surface atop the fill.
On Sunday evening I rode my bike to Crocker Pond campground for exercise and to check on the progress of the road construction. The Flat Road end has been nicely graded and smoothed except for a short stretch before the Crocker Pond road cutoff, where they have dumped coarse gravel filled with two-inches of crushed rock. This part is a little bumpy. In the turnout on the right side of the road just short of the campground, there is a very old 10 foot or 12 foot camper occupied by an older, rather disheveled looking gentleman with a large, black lab dog. There is no tow vehicle in evidence. Dan Whitman told me Friday evening about this guy, who told Dan and Nesta Littlefield that he has no way of getting food because somebody left him there with no way of getting to town. He was asking for handouts. Sunday evening, a fellow in a jeep, camping at Crocker stopped me and asked me about the “abandoned camper” fellow with the dog. The Jeep fellow was on his way to town to get some groceries for the “abandoned fellow.” I told him that all I know was what Dan had told me on Friday, wished him luck and praised him on being a good Samaritan!
On Monday morning Chris Merrill came to our house in response to a problem we have been having with low-water pressure and air in our water system. Being a good plumber, Chris checked all the plumbing connections on our water pipe coming from the well. Finding no air leaks, he doubled the number of hose clamps on the connections for “good measure.” Then he checked the integrity of the pipe between the house and well by trying to pump water back into the well. No leaks there, either, but with the pump running, we could still see air bubbles inside the water pipe where it comes through a plastic elbow to the pump! Then we used my irrigation pump to pump the water out of the well down to a level where Chris could remove the end of the pipe with the strainer and check valve. After cleaning and checking these components, Chris replaced them in the well. He hooked the house pump back up and checked for air bubbles. Still bubbles!
How is air getting into the water when there are no leaks? Chris said, “The only thing I can figure is that the vacuum created by the pump sucking water blocked by an obstruction sucks some of the air right out of the water, like a fish does when it breathes! If there are no leaks, there must be a blockage in the pipe between the well and the house (about 150 feet). I don’t have a snake that long to check for obstructions, so how can we do that? I know. The pump tank holds about five gallons of water when the pump is working to shut off pressure. I’ll just plumb it to pump that five gallons back down the pipe into the well. That should blow out anything in the pipe. Go back down to the well and remove the check valve again.”
Chris got the plumbing done and took a five-gallon pail down into the well to catch the water that would get blown back down the pipe when I opened the valve at the house. As I opened the valve to let the water blow back to the well, Chris yelled to shut the pump off. He had caught a long “snake” of rusty red material from the water pipe in the bucket! We repeated this procedure two more times to insure that we had all the goop out of the pipe. Then, after connecting everything for normal running, we had good water pressure into the house with no air bubbles! Apparently, over the past 20 years enough minerals had collected in the pipe to severely restrict the flow of water.