The well run dry


Well it looks like one of our wells has run dry.

Fortunately, it was the rain catchment well, but nonetheless and allthemore it is an important reminder of how important water is around here.

We have been depending on this now-seco well to water our herb and vegetable garden, as well as our wildflower garden here at the top of the hill daily for the last month or so.

Truth be told, it was an unexpected boon to begin with, because we did not know we had a thousand+ gallon catchment tank when we bought the place - until we discovered it a week after signing the papers. And, only then, did we also fully realize that it was full and constantly overflowing each time it rained.

Even the precipitation itself was far more than we ever expected. When we began scouting for real estate around here in the Fall of 2020, a few people commented that they wholly expected the continuance of the twenty-year drought into and throughout 2021 saying, “Well, let’s see if we get any water at all this year…”

That said, we got lucky after all, for not only did we have a record rainfall in comparison to the most recent prior years, but we cheekily often got credit for “bringing it” with us by many of our new neighbors.

However, now that the rainy season is over and a dry winter is expected, we will have to wholly depend on our regular well, which we use to supply our household water. That means we will also have to be far more conscientious of when we use the water.

As we learned when we first started exploring the idea of acquiring land and moving to New Mexico, the cost of water and its availability, is perhaps the primary resource issue out here in the Land of Enchantment.

Ironically, with 300+ days of glorious sun each year, there’s plenty of potential for solar energy, but that simply makes access to water much harder. Somewhere at some time, I read that supposedly 95% of rainfall in the high mountain desert runs off the non-absorbing landscape and evaporates, which makes catchment systems vital to survival and farming here.

Being cognizant of the amount of water we use and how we use it is particularly important at the top of the hill here, because some of our neighbors have wells that are 800 feet deep; unlike those at the bottom of our property, where wells may run between 50 to 200 feet deep, primarily because the water that does not evaporate runs off the top of the mountain and into the valley, where it saturates into and replenishes the aquifers.

That all said, although our extraordinarily wet monsoon season is over, I don’t lament that at least we don’t have to use the complicated catchment and irrigation system we had set up, anymore. Our ad hoc system included running a 100-foot hose from the rain catchment tank spout, to a 55-gallon rain catchment barrel; and then, extending another hundred foot hose with a 25-foot extension to the herb and lettuce garden. And, we also had to put a sump pump in the rain barrel in order for there to be enough pressure to run the water to the gardens.

So now, freed of the obligation to use all that free rainwater, we’ll need to rely on the convenience of a single spigot and 200-foot hose hookup. And super-bonus benefit: less water means fewer mosquitoes! Pictured in this post’s montage is the one I swatted on my neck last night while in our kitchen.

And yes, I’m being facetious, because we’re out here in no-man’s-land for a reason. Convenience kills. It kills trees (Amazon packaging), animals (oceans filled with plastic), and slowly-but-surely - us (sloth, apathy, toxins).

Moreover, this issue is paramount for us here at Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms because our water needs have just grown exponentially…Not only has the 5-gallon water tank been emptied daily by the hens lately (blame it on the 95 degree days this week or maybe because they just started laying eggs?!?!), but also we just got four cute-as-a-button ducklings, which inevitably and eventually will need a duckpond, of course.