The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Was A Dark and Icestormy Night

Icestormy? Is that even a word? Well, it is now! There's a ton of stuff I need to do tomorrow today but it looks like the weather is going to put the kibosh on that.

I promised BrotherInLaw that I'd put an outside hydrant by the wellhouse so he can fill a watertank for his cattle over here in one of my pastures. The stock tank (that's a pond for you non-locals) is extremely low and muddy. It don't look like that's happening today.

If I was a good blogger (snicker!) I'd dig around and find some data on this drought we are going thru. Personally, I can't remember one this bad since the 70's. That was a doozy. It was so dry we resorted to high explosives.

Dad was friends with an explosives expert at one of the local rock crushers. With a bit of bribery involving a couple half gallons of Jim Beam we were going to attempt to blow open some springs on our property. Early that Sunday morning the explosives guy (we'll call him JB) arrived and we set off into the pasture to do the deed.

There were 3 springs. We got to the first and I was told to start digging it out. I dug down 3-4 feet and then JB put in 2 small charges and lit the fuse. We walked back about 200 ft and waited.


Mud and rocks went flying thru the air. We ran back to find a huge hole slowly filling with water. Success!!! Now on to the next one where we repeated the procedure with the same results. I have failed to tell you that while I was digging, JB and Dad were drinking whiskey. By the time we reached the 3rd one, both JB and Dad were pretty well lit.

This was the big spring. It was still flowing a little bit of water even though it was full of dirt and rock. I dug a hole about twice as deep as the others, JB put in 2 small charges and we trotted back to our safety point.


This time when we returned we found the hole filling fast with clear cold water. We hit the jackpot! Well if 2 small charges did this, just think what 2 large charges would do! JB rigged up 2 large charges tossed them in the pool of water and back we go to the safety point.


This time our safety point wasn't very safe. INCOMING! Boulders the size of beach balls were flying thru the air. Small pebbles and bits of mud peppered us like a giant shotgun. A rock the size of your fist barely missed me as I stood there like a deer in the headlights. Holy shee-it!

We ran back to the spring to see the results of our handy work. It wasn't what we expected. Water had been rising over a foot a minute after the first blast. The second blast fixed that. Instead of opening the spring more, it blew the bottom out of it. The water was swirling downward just like a toilet. When the hole emptied out you could hear a large amount of water running underground. I wanted to crawl down into the hole and see if I could locate the source thru the giant crack in the rocks, but Dad wouldn't let me.

We didn't get all the water we were after, but I did learn some valuable lessons:
  1. Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing.
  2. Quit while you're ahead.
  3. Nitroglycerin and alcohol don't mix.


LandShark 5150 said...

I do believe we were raised by the same idjits. I was balled up laughing at this cause I too have stood there in total awe of the mayhem not knowing the danger falling from the heavens above. After you feel as if you survived the 'Butch & Sundance' train robbery explosion. I give anything to live it again.

The Accomplice said...

Loved you childhood story. Man, all we every got to do was hunt.