Repairing a Spring On an Old Ranch in Cazadero and One Big Mushroom

Thursday December 17, 2015 Cazadero CA.

Out in the forest

John, Ray’s brother was coming by to pick me up this morning around ten to head out to Cazadero to repair a spring on a ranch up near King Ridge Road. John had asked me to help him get the water going for the lady that owned the place. John was just a tad early and we were off with a light drizzle coming down as we drove to the Cazadero area. Somewhere along the road, John turns off at a gate that he unlocks and we go up this road on the ranch.ranch


He drove up the road a ways and parked in an open spot and said we’d have to walk the short distance to where he thought the spring was.

Lots of salamanders

It was drizzling with a bunch of these salamanders going somewhere, everywhere we walked.critter


It’s not under the tarp

We made it to this spot where John thought the spring must be under this tarp. plastic


However when we pulled the tarp back like this, we couldn’t find anything that looked like a pipe from a spring tap, so I said to John, this isn’t the spring. Johns looking for a pipe, but didn’t find any at this spot.tarp


I started looking around up under these redwood trees for the spring.redwood


Maybe it’s here

I could see this metal pipe going up to what looked like it might be a spring tap here.oldspring


I got John to dig it out, but it was only a real old spring with no water and a broken off pipe.john


We had a problem

So now we had a problem as we didn’t know where the spring was, so what to do?

We decided to go down to where the water tank was and see if we could follow the pipe back up to the spring so we walked down to this water tank to have a look. I was surprised to find a stainless steel water tank, like we are using on our springs. This shows me that somewhere along the line, these people had contacts with Santa Rosa Stainless Steel wine tanks, just like we did as these tanks cost too much for most people, except for wine makers, as far as paying for one of them. My brother Tom who now runs Armstrong Valley Farm used to work there making these tanks, but much larger and that is how we got ours, we have three.watertank


A little water was flowing into the tank

We discovered there was water flowing into the tank, but not much and the tank was empty, so water was flowing out the outlet pipe and down the hill somewhere. We pulled the hose off at the outlet of the tank and water was flowing down the pipe.

Find that spring

That was all interesting, but we still needed to find the spring tap to check it out and try to get more water for the tank.

We followed the pipe back up the hill and finally found the spring way over to the right of where we had been looking. John’s at the spring digging it out. We found the spring overflowing with water which meant the pipes were plugged up somewhere going to the tank and there wasn’t any screen over the three quarter inch pipe so stuff could go down the pipe and plug it up. spring


Let’s fix it up

We sat down and talked about it for a bit and I said let’s repair it the best we can with what we have. There was a plastic pop type bottle laying on the ground. I said if I poke some holes in the bottle with my pocket knife, we could slip it on the end of the hose, we’d have a screen over it. We also needed to abandon what was there and dig a new hole into the upper part of the old hole, which you can see we did here. We are getting the water out of the hole and have put a little dam there to get the water into the pipe. the bottle we used for a  screen is up in the dark hole so you can’s see it, but you can see the black pipe going to it in front of John.spring2


Outlet pipe is plugged up

That should of drained all the water out of the hole, but it didn’t which meant the outlet pipe was plugged up below the spring somewhere so we went down and pulled the pipe apart where ever there was a coupling. The couplings where barbed with black plastic pipe which didn’t want to come undone. John did lots of cussing We worked our way down the pipe, but then the water stopped, so we went back up to the spring and found the outlet pipe had plugged up with mud from the mud that was in the pipe, so we took it off and got the mud out of it and water started flowing down the hill to the water tank.

Finding the problem

So we walked down to the water tank and decided the pipe below the tank was letting water out someplace so we followed it down the hill to this spot where the main problem seemed to be. Somehow the pipe had pulled off the coupling and was now draining the water tank so no water could get to the house.

The pipe pulled off the fitting, but now the pipe is too short to hook it back up.pipe


John’s pulling the pipe but finding we don’t have enough pipe to hook it back up.pipeshort


So we walked down the hill more and found were the pipe had slid down the hill. We worked to get enough of it back up the hill so we could put the pipe back together so the water tank would start to fill up.

Covering up the spring

Then we walked back up to the spring and made sure the water was all going down the pipe which it was so John gathered some rocks to fill the hole and hold the bottle down and protect the spring inlet. He then put this wood over it to deter the wild pigs from digging it up. You can see John got a little wet and muddy as he did most of the work. :O)logs


We improved that spring from less than one gallon a minute to six gallons a minute going down the pipe to the tank, a nice spring.

A mushroom find

We still needed to go down to the house and see if the water was getting there, but John had a place he wanted to stop and see if the wild mushrooms were up yet so we drove his truck down to the spot. The wild pigs had rooted up the area just this morning and likely ate most of the mushrooms, but I said to John, there’s one, a good one too.

If you’re only going to find one mushroom, this was the one to find, one of the best ones, a little over six inches across the top and nice and firm. This one is out of the Amanita family, a cacara or something like that. It’s brothers and sisters are deadly poisonous, but this one is one of the choicest edible ones. I let John take it home.shroom


We walked around and looked some more, but that was the only one we found.

Water to the house

It was getting close to dark, so we had to stop the mushroom hunting and head down to the house to see if we had water there. John turned on an outside faucet and he got a lot f real muddy water out of it for a few minutes, but it was flowing nicely and the water cleared up so we were successful.

You can see the water flowing there in this picture to the right of the hose.water


It took us all day but we were successful in getting this ladies water back working fairly well. John said she hadn’t had any water since summer. We headed on home and that was my day for another nice one.

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One Response to Repairing a Spring On an Old Ranch in Cazadero and One Big Mushroom

  1. Patti Godwin says:

    A man of many talents! I had to laugh… it was beginning to sound like one of our water leak detection reports…
    The owner is going to be very pleased.

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