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We Have Water!


Carl Levesque and his son, Josh, as the drill rig drives deep into the bedrock for water. Josh, 13, will enter the ninth grade this fall. He helps his dad in the summer.
It was a noisy morning at the cabin Thursday. The well-drilling rig from Western Maine Water Wells rattled and roared its way deep into the hillside’s bedrock. At 350 feet below the surface, it struck water — two gallons a minute, plenty for the cabin’s modest needs. I see hot showers in my future.
The work was done by Carl Levesque. Carl’s lilting voice reflects his origins in Aroostook County, where the French and Celtic strains mix to produce a signature accent found in the St. John River Valley of northern Maine. His son, Josh, 13, helped him with the truck and drill rig. Josh was wearing a T-shirt that read: “Save Trees — Recycle Homework.”
The rig has a drill with a steel-and-carbide bit that spins as a piston pushes it into the rock. A pipe casing follows behind the bit, creating a long shaft that captures the water once it is struck. The next step is going to be the installation of a well pump and a pipe that will run from the well to a tank in the cabin. The tank will store water, kept under pressure by a diaphragm, and signal the pump when it needs to kick on to replenish the supply.
My plan is to install a second and bigger storage tank above the bathroom that I can fill from the first tank, making use of the pump (and the electricity it requires) an infrequent occurrence. The water system will run off gravity. Bruce Chatney, who owns and operates Western Maine Water Wells, is getting me a price and specifications on asolar well pump. I’m still trying to determine my power needs. (More on this in a later entry.)
I had hoped to dig a surface well for cabin water, at a much lower cost. Bill Parmenter, my excavator from North Fryeburg, hit water about eight feet down, but it was discolored by minerals in the soil. So, he counseled me to drill the artesian well to clear cold water. There’s been lots of other progress at the cabin: more siding is up, the window holes have been cut out and I’ve begun putting up some of the trim.

The well-drilling rig in front of the cabin.
I’ve enjoyed working on the old wood windows I plan to use. They’ve required scraping, priming and a few minor repairs. I’ve settled on a metal roof, and the contractor, Ken Parmenter (Bill’s son), is scheduled to put it up next week. I decided against taking on the job myself — I don’t have the tools to cut and bend the steel. I’m guessing that a metal roof is one of those jobs that requires practice to get it right. I probably would have learned how to do it just about the time I had completed the project. I had that experience once with a chimney. I finally got the knack of stacking the brick as I broke through the roof.
I will get back to the siding this weekend. It’s looking good, but the work takes time.

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