April 7th……“WHERE DID YOUR FARM GET ITS WATER? FROM YOUR NEARBY TOWN? OR A WELL”?
Even The Rockefeller Sapphire, itself, had to blush with shame in comparison to the brilliance of our blue sky above us on that spectacular Fall day there on our farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota. A veritable caravan of big station wagons and pickup trucks had just banked into our farm’s U-shaped driveway from the north. Word had gotten out to the “city slickers” up in the “Twin Cities” (Minneapolis/St. Paul) that the Noorlun farm folk were friendly and had a poppin’ up passel of pretty pheasants just a waitin’ for hunters to come and try out their marksmanship………..shot gun style.
With a robust joy, these avid outdoorsmen piled out of their various vehicles with the happy gusto of school boys heading for a playground. Whatever their regulated city lifestyles were on a 9 to 5 basis; here they were able to escape the closed-in confines of their concrete jungle of metropolitan life each Fall and come “let off some steam” here on our 120 acres. As a form of thankfulness and appreciation to our family, for allowing these city visitors to camp and hunt on our land, the generous hunter guests always brought a series of gifts for our clan to enjoy. My little sister, Candice, and myself were very much touched and taken by these handsome gents who took on an aura all their own as they donned their khaki Heritage Jones caps, hunting vests, boots and a plethora of regalia for the goal of bagging their limit in pheasants.
Even though our pheasant fanciers loved getting their quota of birds each year; to a man, they ecstatically extolled the highest praise for a liquid ambrosia that our family enjoyed each and every day…………our super delicious WATER!!! All year long, these poor city guys had to suffer with drinking heavy chemicals coming out of their water faucets back home in the city. But at our farm, those happy hunters would rave and rave about how tasty our well water was!! They’d even load up all the containers they could to take some of our liquid gold with them back up to the Twin Cities.
The first pioneers who settled upon our acreage and created our farm initially, were successful in “striking it rich” by digging their first well till they reached the underground water table. That first water well was located at the southeast corner of our farm building property near the old wooden corn crib and the south exiting driveway. Once the water well was established, these sturdy folk then built a small building over the site. That little structure was naturally called, “The Well House( or Pump House)”. Until the 1930’s (before rural electricity came to the countryside of America), water was pumped to the surface by the classic hand pump. With the advent of rural electricity coming into the life of farm families, the hand pump was replaced with an electric motor.
Water is such an essential component of life itself, especially on a farm when you need to provide, not only water for your own family’s needs, but also for all your animals to drink in order to thrive there upon the land God gave us to take care of.
When our family moved onto the farm we knew as home, in 1946, there was still no running water in our house. That’s right, there wasn’t even a flushing toilet in those days. Our family used what was called, a “Chamber Pot” to use for bodily needs and then that smelly container had to be carried out to and poured down the seat holes in our “Out House” in the woods. Our dedicated mother, Clarice, would trek down to “The Well House” and carry buckets of water, year round, to the house to use for cooking, washing dishes, clothes, etc.. She even had to boil water on top of our stove for her family to use for Saturday night bath times. Water was precious and it was up to Mom, Dad or our big brother, Lowell, to carry untold numbers of buckets of water from “The Well House” to the barn, chicken coop, pig house, etc..
Eventually, a second well was dug about 20 yards, or so, from the first “Well House”. This time, an electric pump system was installed to bring all the water up from underground that we needed for daily activities and thirsts.
One of the key ingredients for our “tasty” water was iron. That mineral was highly prevalent in our well water that we enjoyed on a daily basis. That natural mineral gave our H2O a robust flavoring, along with the other natural minerals that existed down below the earth in the strata known as the water table. The newer “Well House” was more compact in size and thoroughly insulated to protect against freezing pipes in the Winter, as well as helping to keep the water in the holding tank that much cooler in the muggy, humid heat of a Minnesota Summer. A spigot was installed on the south side of the newer little “Well House” and a cute porcelain-coated cup was hung there for any and all to quench their thirst when they’d pass by. That dear little cup sure took its beatings over the years by being dropped and chipped severely of it’s nice white coating. Some citified folk may see it as a detriment, but we farm folk actually enjoyed the “badge of honor” in the natural brown staining that built up inside that little cup over time.
You know, life has gotten way too fancy. We’ve become a throwaway society of single use this and single use that. Personally, I’m a happy n healthy guy thanks to these farm day practices of drinking from that little, iron-stained cup that gave us the sweetest water this side of anywhere on the farm of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉