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For the record, the ice went off Lake Tschida on April 26 and I did get to see it go. I’ll spare those of you now checking your notes from last year and guess that the ice went off in March and I didn’t see it go but I was there shortly after it did. Anyway, and as both my loyal readers will note, after a long wait I have finally opened our cabin for another season.

Anyone who knows anything about cabin life understands that opening one up involves a lot of work along with a few prayers. Come to think of it, closing one also involves a lot of work, but I’ll wait until fall to fill you in on that.

This year we had a new twist that began in January when my son walked by the well house and could hear the pump running. Much to his chagrin he opened the lid and discovered the pressure tank was floating in 4 feet of water.

A description of our well house seems to be in order here. Our well feeds three cabins, the well sits on our lot and the electricity is hooked up to our neighbor. The well house is 8 feet by 8 feet, 8 feet deep and its lid sticks about 1 foot out of the ground. Since it’s 8 feet deep the pump and pressure tank don’t freeze up but anything above the 4-foot mark does freeze.

So back to the 4 feet of water that interrupted Ben’s day of snowmobiling. As you can imagine, he was quite shocked and had to figure out a way to cut the power off without electrocuting himself. So he went up to the garage and retrieved a broomstick, then poked it around until he could finally flip the switch to the off position. The pump stopped and he wasn’t sure what to do from there so he closed the lid and hopped on his snowmobile.

Much to his satisfaction, when he opened the lid the next morning the water had somehow drained out, which allowed him to enter the hole to see what was going on. The inspection showed that a brass fitting from a neighbor’s cabin had burst because their line wasn’t properly drained and had frozen solid. So he detached the line and put a cap on the outlet.

Then he putzed with the pump and got the pressure tank to recharge and decided to wait until spring thaw to see if any other damage had occurred. Of course, our other neighbor who spends his winters in Arizona returned, and wouldn’t you know, my procrastination karma once again caught up to me. I must have thought about calling him to inform him of this debacle 100 times, yet I never did follow through.

So Ron showed up to fire up his water and discovered the problem, then texted me with “Is there something I should know about our well?” Well, I called him and explained the problem, then he diddled with the electrical switch that had frozen shut and got the whole system going again.

A few days later we showed up and turned on the water and everything worked and now we’re waiting for the well house to dry out so we can fix the other neighbor’s connection and get on to such things as putting the boats and other toys in the lake, setting up the fishing gear and making sure the beer fridge out back is in working order.

Here’s hoping that your spring chores allow you enough energy to fully participate in whatever outdoor activities you get yourself into.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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