I wear two hats with different names: Madison Woods when I’m wearing the artist hat, Roxann Riedel in real life and real estate. I'm a rock-smashing paint-making artist & a sales agent for Montgomery Whiteley Realty. Hailing from the wild Ozarks in Kingston, Arkansas where my husband and I work toward a sustainable lifestyle.

You can text or call to reach me by either name (see above):
(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

We had to repair our waterline after the bear chewed through it.

The Bear Chewed Our Water Line Again

This morning when I turned on the faucet to clean the cast-iron skillet to get ready to fix breakfast, the water pressure seemed a little low. By the time I’d finished washing the dishes after breakfast, it was lower still. That’s never a good sign, and my best guess was that the bear chewed our water line again.

This is not the first, or the second, or probably not even the third time they’ve done that. Other things can cause leaks, but in the warmer months, if the water slows or stops, it’s usually because of the bears.

The funny thing is that this morning, we’d decided to skip our morning mile because we were both feeling tired and didn’t feel like getting our exercise routine in. How ironic that instead we’d get an even harder workout than a simple walk up and down the hills of our 1/2 mile long driveway. The hike up the mountain isn’t very easy. It’s even harder lugging a backpack full of wrenches and tools for making repairs. If I wouldn’t wait for bear chewed water lines, and would make the hike more often, it wouldn’t be so hard when it’s necessity.

Challenging hike

The logging road is washed out, rocks are strewn all over waiting for the opportunity to twist ankles, and small trees have begun to grow up in the path. But actually, I like that hike and have been wanting to do it more often, for the exercise and to see the various plants that grow up there that don’t grow lower down.

Today, though, I made the mistake of wearing shoes that really don’t work for me on that terrain. They’re hiking boots, no less. But it was raining, and I didn’t want to muddy up my other shoes that would have been a much better choice. Rob is still rebuilding his stamina after the aortic dissection, so we just took it slow. I carried the backpack of tools, and he carried the rifle in case the wild pigs were up there.

Stone Mint

I had to stop for pics of this plant on the way up the mountain. Stone mint was blooming (Cunila origanoides). This little plant grows in places not much else can grow, where it is often dry and rocky. I have some spots like that in my garden, so I’ll be transplanting some of it out there to see if it will take up residence. And I harvested some today, even though in the rain is never the best time to harvest herbs. But the leaves are not absorbent and they dried off quickly once I brought them in.

It’ll go into my herbal medicine chest, because the plant has similar qualities and medicinal uses as oil of oregano which is derived from Greek oregano. Usually beebalm is the mainstay in my herbals for this purpose, since it is something that grows locally and works dependably, whereas the Greek oregano is not even in my garden. But this year the beebalm all had powdery mildew so badly that I didn’t harvest enough of it to carry us through winter, if more than one of us in the family needs its ministrations.

Too bad it takes bear chewed water lines to compel me to go to the place these plants grow. I’m going to try and do better about making that hike more often.

Yep, the Bear Chewed the Water Line

The Wait

After a few hours when there was still no water pressure, we thought maybe there was another break in the line between the tank and the spring. So we had to go back up the mountain. This time, though, we took the ATV and went the long way around via our neighbor’s property. Water was flowing into the tank, but there wasn’t enough volume yet to have water at the house. It had barely gotten to the exit valve, or about 200 gallons.

I threw my ‘hiking’ shoes in the garbage when I got back. I’ve never had a more difficult time hiking than when I’m wearing those official Timberland hiking boots. They were old and leaked, anyway. And there were no wild pigs in sight.

When we’d gotten there to look at it this morning, the tank was completely empty. It will take it overnight to refill, and hopefully in the morning the water pressure will be normal.



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