A little background first...Ten years ago when it was time to buy some land we had a very clear idea of what we needed: great soil and two sources of water. We talked with other farmers and found where we should be farming. As it happens it was just a few miles down the road from where we leased 17 acres at that time. We went to a farm Realtor and drew on the map where we wanted to buy. He laughed and said no one in their right mind would sell a piece of land in that area. We had chosen the Dixon Ridge which has some of the deepest top soils on the planet and is served by the Solano Irrigation District (SID) Canals. What is special about SID is that they control Lake Berryessa which has about 3 years supply in it when full. This means that even during drought years such as this we get all the water we need.
Three months later on a wet Friday afternoon the Realtor called us and said 'I have your farm, go look at it on Saturday and have an offer on my desk on Monday morning'. In the rain we walked on to this bare field and knew it was the right place. On Monday morning we spoke with Dave Calfee, our attorney, and made an offer right at the market value. It was excepted and the rest is history.
When we bought the farm one of the conditions of the offer was a video inspection of the well. It showed us a well that was large, deep enough (285 feet) and capable of producing enough water should the canal have none for us. But it had some holes in it that would need attention later. That time has now come. Last week one of the small pumps we have in the well stopped. Scott from Eaton Drilling in Woodland pulled out the pump and found a broken wire, an easy fix. What he also found was water spraying into the well at 60 feet deep through a hole. We discuused our options and decided to pull both pumps out of the well and send down the video camera again. On Tuesday morning I watched the video with Scotts boss, Kevin. What we saw were six holes in the casing of the well. These will get bigger and eventually could cause the well to collapse and be useless. The only answer is to sink a smaller diameter metal pipe down the well and seal the holes with grout. The cost, $14,000, which includes an above ground 5,000 gallon storage tank and pressure pump to supply all our greenhouse and drinking water needs. Work starts Friday and could take a week.
So what do you do when you have no water to drink or water the greenhouses? You talk to what I consider to be the best neighbors I could dream of, Magnum Seeds. Wey, one of the owners and plant breeders, immedialtely offered to allow us to connect our water system to his. We now have all the water we need until our well is fixed.
Our supply of irrigation water for the fields was unaffected by all this drama.
After all this we will have an 'as new well' which should give us trouble free use for atleast 20 years.
Just another day on the farm!