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As in every love relationship, whether with people or place, there are obstacles to meet and overcome, but we can also view challenges as opportunities.  There was our rutted gravel road which began as a suitable entryway and narrowed to a path before it reached my property. An angelic creek sung on both sides of my building site, but flowed only two months of the year.  Therefore, a well had to be drilled.  A scourge of ticks parachuted from the oaks during spring.  In summer, rattlesnakes, hand-sized spiders and kamikaze yellow jackets welcomed you to the neighborhood.  A tree-high major landmark of you-name-it-we-got-it junk, rumored to be seething with reptiles, had to be removed.  One fine neighbor decided that our natural meadow looked like hay on the vine, and was worthy of his cutting and hauling away without our permission.  The county’s vector control service insisted on spraying six questionable “weeds”, which were identified on our property.

It was not just a matter of seeing through the temporary obstacles, but of putting them in perspective, lessening their importance after checking our mental balance sheet and realizing that the “ayes” still overwhelmed the land’s “nays.”

We took a deep breath, yelled attack and dove in.  Some solutions:  The hay thief was approached.  He still wanted the grass but was willing to make amends, with some free bulldozing work on the roadway and the removal of the trash heap.  We also struck up a deal with the weed control folks.  Don’t spray on our land and we’ll hand pick all the thistle you want.

There was no solution for the ticks, yellow jackets and snakes but to accept them.  The road-/path we’re still experimenting with.  finding cheap gravel is as tough as finding cheap land.

The well was dug.  First, we hired a water witcher, 82 years young.  Now witching or dowsing for water is one of those unconventional folk-wisdoms featured in the likes of the old Foxfire books. Being somewhat conventional I never wholly bought the concept that a particular stick, the diving rod, would bend mysteriously when discovering underground water.  I sighed skepticism at the thought of going the unproven route, but this witcher had a secure reputation confirmed by the county water department.  However, the dower’s calculations of the water depth were usually too shallow.  One fateful day, the witcher and his trusty stick rolled onto the property and began testing the waters.  At one sure spot, his stick quivered then broke, a highly unusual occurrence.  Another stick vigorously shook at the same spot whereupon he beamed, “Must be artesian, a major vein of water 50 feet deep.

We checked our meager bank accounts and called for the well driller to proceed.  I stayed by my phone to catch Marc’s up-to-the-minute reports.  “He’s at 50 feet.  No water yet.”  Another neighbor had recently drilled his well.  He found water…at 780 feet!  And all the while I’m thinking: was the witcher reliable and, if so, how shallow were his estimates?  Thousands of dollars were resting on the belief in a stick.

“He’s at 100 feet.  Still no water.  What do you want to do?”  We sweated and gave the driller permission to go deeper.  At 141 feet, a major gusher of 30 gallons per minute was discovered.  The reputation of the witcher held true once again mysteriously as the water level later rose to 50 feet, just as the dowser had told us.  The first taste of the tat sweet un-chlorinated, un-flouridated, untamper-ated, life-giving liquid of life , made the investment and the tense moments all worthwhile. ~

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