In the middle of our cornfield lies one of our biggest assets of the property...our very own gas well.
When we bought this land in the fall of 1982, having our own gas well was one of the many reasons we fell in love with this property. Over the course of the past 34 years (wow...has it really been that long?!), what a HUGE blessing that well has been! Not only does the gas well heat our cabin and Kristoffer and Dana's house and the rec room, but it also provides both of our homes with hot water, clothing dryer heat, and energy for our kitchen stoves and ovens.
Amazing how much gas there is way down there below the surface of the earth! This gas well was in operation for many, many years before we lived here, and we're hopeful that it will continue to produce gas long after we're gone.
But, as wonderful as it's been 99% of the time over the years, there have been a few times where we have been gasless. Usually for a day or two or even a few days.
Never have we been gasless for a month.
Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since I got the phone call. Farmer JB, who rents our farm ground, accidentally (of course!) ran over the gas well with his combine, damaging both the combine and the gas well head. The impact bent the gas pipe way deep into the ground besides destroying the top sections...gas was pouring out and for a few hours we were all in a bit of panic mode.
There aren't many folks around here who know about gas wells let alone being experts in maintaining them, and we've been so very grateful over the years for the services of a gentleman (and now his son and grandson) from about 40 miles away who has taken care of our well. They were able to come out that evening and cap off the gas so the leaking was minimal.
And since then have been working to repair the well and get it usable again.
I made the mistake of asking exactly what all that entailed, and it's much too complicated for me to understand. (And here I thought it was just a pipe stuck into the ground with gas streaming out of it...) Apparently there are 3 steel pipes that go into the ground at various depths...an 8" pipe that goes down to the limestone, a 6" one inside of that, and then a 4" one that goes way deeper that actually brings the gas to the surface.
Bottom line...they had to use heavy-duty equipment to bend back the bigger steel pipes as best they could, dig up and replace 431' of 4" pipe (that's a LOT of steel pipe!), pour cement between the inner and outer pipes to stabilize everything, let the cement set, and then put the top sections all back together. It's been quite a job...both in time and expense. But the end is in sight and barring any unforeseen problems our gas should be flowing again by the weekend.
Thankfully, until this past week we've had a very mild and even warm November, so the heat hasn't really been a big issue. The past few days we've been relying on a kerosene heater to keep the cabin halfway warm. We've taken showers at the church, other people's homes, in the rec room (which has a tiny electric water heater), and hotel. We've been so grateful that friends and family have allowed us to use their laundry appliances a few times. And we've been eating out a lot more often than usual (the only real plus of the situation!).
Yes, it's been very inconvenient, but we're surviving just fine. I can't complain about my first-world problems when I've witnessed how most people around the world live and know they would be thrilled to have my little temporary "inconvenience" as opposed to their lifetime of struggle! Gotta keep things in perspective...
Tomorrow we'll be having our family Thanksgiving celebration in our church's newly-built facilities. Not quite as personal as having it in someone's home, but my niece reminded me that it's not about "where" it's about the people...and she's oh-so-right!
But I have to admit, I will be very thankful to have life back to somewhat-normal next week. It's been an adventure I'm not eager to repeat for a long, long time...