The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Well Slag, Anyone?

May 15th, 2013 · 5 Comments · Posted in farming

What comes out of the ground with new well

Look what comes out of the ground with new well

As another example of farming-isn’t-just-about-growing-food, I direct readers’ attention to the big piles of stone slag that came out of the ground when we had our new well drilled.

You may be wondering why we had to drill a well when our farm property here in Upstate New York came with a five-year-old house. It’s not something we had planned.

Water service to the house was provided by what is called in these parts a “shallow well” fed by a spring some distance downhill from the house. We later learned that this was the primary water source for a farm that had existed across the road, and which included our 30-acre parcel at one time. The people from whom we bought the property had encapsulated the well in concrete, installed underground pipes and a pump to deliver the water up the hill.

All good so far. But then during the home inspection prior to our purchase the water in the well failed a critical coliform test. Under normal circumstances, a bank would not make a loan if the water is contaminated. That was not a barrier for us, since we were paying cash. But since we hoped the owners would stay on the property and maintain it over the winter, we installed an ultra-violet purifier to make sure nobody got sick..

Again, good so far. This spring, however, as we prepared to move in, we called in the local well experts to talk about running water lines to our various pastures for livestock and learned there was no way our shallow well would be adequate.

What we needed was an entirely new well, new pump, new expansion tank–the works.

The drillers went to work, eventually boring down 420 feet and yielding a supply of water that will pump out 20 gallons per minute. The base standard here is five gallons per minute. “You won’t have any problem getting water to your animals now,” the well driller proudly proclaimed.

Okay, but what to do about the big piles of pulverized stone that remained where the well had been drilled? “That stuff makes great fill!” declared the maintenance man from Verizon on a recent visit.

Filling potholes in the driveway with well slag

Filling potholes in the driveway with well slag

Hmmm. I looked at the potholes in our gravel driveway. I looked at the piles of slag. A light went on. Pretty soon I was shoveling slag into the wheelbarrow, dumping slag in the driveway and smoothing out the rough spots with a rake.

And that’s been one of my projects over the last week: shoveling, moving, raking well slag. Our driveway is nearly three football fields long. I’m about halfway through the piles of slag. I’ve filled the potholes closest to the house, so my trips with the wheelbarrow are getting longer and longer.

Good thing this is a small farm.

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  • Diane

    Just one project after another…it’s just as WELL…what else would you do with your time? I hope you are taking good care of yourself for all this extra work you are doing!

  • Ed Bruske

    This is more physical work than I’m used to, Diane. But I was pretty physical with all the projects around the house in D.C. lately. Nothing I can’t handle. Seems like I just want to fall asleep when I get back in the house. No TV to focus on, I’m reading instead, and getting my three squares. So far, so good.

  • Darren Labbe

    Ed you need to invest in a wheelbarrow with two front wheels! They are a dream in comparison with the one wheel model. Another thought…I have a riding mower to which I attach a four wheel garden cart, I load a couple of muck tubs on it and tow them to my dump site and simply kick them off. Save my back a lot of grief!

  • The Wife

    We’d like to thank Michou and Thomas for the going away gift of the rake. Who knew it would come in so handy so soon?

  • Ed Bruske

    Or, how about a tractor, Darren?