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You've Got to be Kidding...

Well, I'll be darned


Jonathan van Bilsen

July 27, 2023

Well, I'll be darned

I am not sure where the time goes, but I have been in North Durham for more than thirty years. Reflecting back on some of the escapades I have encountered, one that comes to mind is running out of water, the day I moved here.

Being a city person and moving to the country, is not without its issues. I was OK with a dirt road, propane worked just as well as natural gas and the internet had not been invented. What I did not know much about, was water.

The day I moved in, I noticed the grass looked a little brown, so I turned the sprinkler on. After a few hours, the water had stopped running. Scratching my head, my neighbour popped over and explained my well had run dry. I was shocked, as this was certainly a new experience.

I called Dowson’s and he quickly came over with a truck full of water. That solved the problem, but only temporarily. For the next few years showers were limited to two minutes, the dishwasher ran once a week and laundry was every two weeks, all in conjunction with Dowson’s deliveries.

This was no way to live, so I called a fellow named Fralick, who practiced witching (also referred to as dowsing). I know you are impressed that a city boy knows what a witcher is, but I learned quickly. Mr. Fralick, using a coat hanger, walked to where our dug well was, and began doing his thing. After an hour, he pointed to a spot and explained I would find water at 25 metres (85 feet).

My next call was to Sauder Well Drilling. They came out, assessed the place and started drilling where Mr. Fralick had suggested. Days past and turned into weeks and although we found water around the 25 metre mark, it was not enough to stop drilling. After 100 metres (300 feet), I asked about stopping. At $25, a foot for a dry well, I decided to continue.

Finally, at 115 metres or 377 feet we hit a gusher. Watching the clear liquid shoot up was like an oil well, and I fell to my knees out of gratitude. Jackson’s Water Conditioning came over to evaluate the water, and after lighting a match to the flowing stream of water, a flame shot out. ‘You’ve got lots of methane gas,’ Lorne Jackson said.

Three filters in the basement and a holding tank to pump off the gas and I was in business. Clear water flowed from the taps at a rate of 55 litres (15 gallons) per minute. (20 litres or 5 gallons is enough for a normal family.

That was 30+ years ago and the water still flows fast and clean. I often reminisce about those ‘good old days’ and chuckle, but I never take water for granted.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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