Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Water, water everywhere

You either gotta have it or you don't have it.

Anonymous dowser
The Day I Hired A Dowser
It was mid November. I was living in a house in northern New Hampshire. Winter was on its way. In that part of the world Winter tends to come all at once, overnight. The ground freezes up and stays that way. If the farmers don't have their crops in by then they're worthless.

Next to my house was my garage. I had an early morning job as the announcer at the local radio station. On this day, when I came out to get in my car, I noticed water on the floor of the garage. The spigot in the garage was tightly turned off which meant that something was leaking somewhere.

Later that morning I called the plumber. He said it was a broken pipe and to get the specifications from the town clerk which would tell me where the connection was to the town water supply and when he saw that, he would be able to put a valve on the pipe to keep the water from flowing into the garage.

I finished work at noon and went to the town clerk's office. There I found that there were no specifications filed with the town, that the company that built the house many years before was no longer in business and the individuals had all moved away and left no forwarding addressee.

I drove back home and called the plumber to tell him what I had discovered. He then said that I would have to hire the dowser. At first I didn't believe him. That plumber was not a religious fanatic or a believer in superstitions. He was a top, first rate modern technician. "Really?" I said. "Yup. I'll give you his name."

I don't remember his name now, but I called him up, told him where I lived and what my situation was. He said "I'll be right over."

There was nothing mystical about this man. He came down the driveway in a pick up truck. He was wearing boots, dungarees, a plaid shirt, a brown leather jacket and a Boston Red Sox cap. He reached into the truck and took out a muslin apron which he tied around him. In the pocket of the apron there were some small wooden slats. Then he reached into the truck and took out a forked stick.

He walked up and down the property from the garage to the town road, about an eight of an acre. Every now and then the forked stick would wobble and he took out one of the slats and stuck in the ground. It took him about 40 minutes and when he was finished there was a line of those slats from the road to the garage. He put the forked stick and the apron back into the truck and said "You're pipe runs right along there. That'll be fifteen dollars." I paid him, thanked him and he drove off.

I got the pick and shovel and started to dig. Three feet down there was a wooden plank. I kept digging and under the plank was the pipe, exactly where he said it was. I informed the plumber who came over and attached a shut off valve onto it which stopped the leak.

By this time it was getting dark so I decided to leave the mound of dirt I had dug up for the next day.

Overnight the big freeze came. When i got back from work that day I had to take a pick and sledge hammer to break up the pile in order to get it back into the hole. That's how close it came to being a major disaster. If it hadn't been for that fellow in the pick up truck it would have meant tearing up the property with a back hoe.

Moral: Don't doubt the dowser.

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)

Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.

You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.

2 responses so far.

DB - The Vagabond


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Some of the old school tools still do the trick :o)

Linda's World said...

Very interesting story. I've always heard that this method of finding water works 99% of the time. One of those unexplained phenomenons! What am I going to do in 2010 that I've never done before? get this place de-cluttered once and for all!!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.