Something Dead This Way Came

We’ve been away from home for two weeks, and sometimes things happen when you’ve been away.  This time, it was a dreadful smell associated with the sinks.

At first we thought it was the grey water drain system.  Sometimes it gets a bit smelly if no water had been running through it for a while.  The solution is simple – dump a couple of buckets of water down the shower drain and the smell goes away.

But this time it didn’t.

Then I poured some water in a cup and took a sniff.  Gag!  Barf!  What a reek.  We’ve always boiled our water, but clearly we can’t even drink this stuff boiled.  Fortunately, a simple flick of a valve switches our system over from well water to our roof water cistern.  We flushed our pipes and then headed up the hill to see what was wrong with the well.

Our well is covered, which keeps leaves, branches, and large critters out of the well.  However, the edges are not totally sealed, and a few small things can get in – usually banana slugs and small salamanders called ensatinas.  When we are in residence, we check the well every couple of days and use a pool skimmer to remove any suspicious material.  But, of course, we’ve been away.  A large banana slug and several ensatinas had drowned in the well, settled to the bottom, and were in advanced stages of decomposition. Yuck!

So we had to pump the well dry, scrape it clean, let it rinse a few times, and then allow it to refill completely.  The smell is gone, and the water is fine, but I still take a suspicious sniff before I fill the kettle.  We are now looking for some fine netting that we can put over the well to keep the small creepy crawly things out!

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