95: Water, everywhere

Our cove in the holler is wet.  Water springs forth everywhere.  Right above and next to the house, the very headwaters of Little Savannah Creek bubble up in a concave place and descend at several gallons per minute even during a drought just ten feet beneath my deck.  With many lower tributaries, that creek feeds a whole farm valley before it joins East Fork and main Savannah Creek and then the Tuckaseegee River.  I've seen it 3 feet deep next to the house, during a hurricane. Kill ya.

In 2005, I situated the end of a 1-inch black plastic spring tube near the spring, above the house. I buried the length and threaded it onto a 10-foot length of galvanized pipe.  For several years, it shot straight up several feet and landed in a small pond before draining back into its natural bed.  When Abel was a baby, I left him tied into a bouncy seat in my earshot and rigged all this up in the dark using a headlamp, while Sloan taught a night class in Asheville during the fall of 2005.

Every few days it slows, and I decouple a hose to release an unlucky crawdad.  More recently, I attached a hose and send the water all the way around the house and tied it up to a post, from where it splashes into steel buckets in our garden and makes steady wet noise beneath our bedroom window.  Pee before you go to sleep -- the sound is suggestive.  It's useful for watering and for washing the crap off of chicken eggs, but mostly we like the pleasantly relentless ambience of falling water.

The other creek is larger, running over a 2-foot falls created by a tree root and passing under our road through a culvert just as you turn up to the house.  When it rains hard, this creek sounds like a river for days.  The boys like to play in the small wetland it feeds next to the lower driveway.

Their confluence is on our property, down low below the house, and I've never scrambled down there.  It's down a steep, rhododendron and laurel-choked ravine below the house.  If I plumbed both creeks and fed them together into a Y valve at the bottom, I'm sure I'd have enough head to drive a micro-hydro station.  It's tempting.  Doubt I'd generate enough to sell back to Duke's grid, though, and it'd be an expensive set-up.

We have other seeps.  One runs alongside our road during all but the driest months.  In 2004, I widened the driveway and buried french drains 6-feet down under number 57 rock -- same-size washed stone devoid of fine sediment that drains very well.  The main artery drops 2 or 3 gallons each minute into the creek where it daylights.  This used to surface in the driveway.

Over at our nearby other property, where the cabin sits, we have no water because it's on a ridge.  But I ran another black spring line up a steep acre of our property and surreptitiously across several feet of unbuildable private property to the downhill fill side of a gravel road up above.  There, I attached it to a cobbled-together funnel C-clamped to the downhill end of an 18-inch culvert through which water always runs.  This water crosses about 8 feet of my absentee neighbor's property and then goes underground, and through my property.  This water splashes from the end of its transport device into a 20-gallon metal washbasin, or into a 55-gallon drum when I want to top it off.  Its nice to have water there -- I used it to mix concrete to chink the cabin, to wash tools, and for safety when we light the fire pit.

Windows open, water flows; inside the house the outside splashes against our walls.  The noise is constant, a companion, a backdrop to all conversations, music, thoughts, and sleep.  It's pretty up here, and because of our water, you can close your eyes and still see the beauty.

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.