The Well House

Posted by Backyard Urban Gardening on Friday, November 13, 2009

On our farm, my dad and grandpa built a shed out of cinder blocks that enclosed the water well. Besides the seven feet high walls, the small building had a pitched plywood roof covered with shingles. We called it a "well house".

The well wasn't a dug-by-hand fairy tale bucket and rope type well, but a modern water source dug by a professional using well digging equipment mounted on a big truck. Water was drawn with an electric pump and stored in a metal tank. When a faucet was turned on the water flowed from the tank to the house, barn, or hydrants located at various strategic locations for drinking, bathing, flushing, or watering the livestock and vegetable garden.

Having just recently learned to ride my bicycle without training wheels, one summertime afternoon I decided to play with some straw bales that were stacked next to the well house. It took me awhile, but I was able to stack the bales carefully and purposely enough to create stairsteps that led to the roof of the well house. As luck (or un-luck) would have it, there were also a few sheets of plywood leaned up against the well house wall. They were exactly wide enough and long enough to allow me to place them on top of the straw bales to create a wonderful ramp. I could easily run up and down the plywood ramp on the well house roof and back onto the lawn.

As any five year old aspiring motorcycle daredevil would do, it wasn't long before I started riding my bicycle up on the edge of the plywood and then backing down backwards in emulation of my hero - Evel Knievel.

It took me awhile to get it right, but using a longer and longer runway allowed me to gain enough speed on my bicycle to ride farther and farther up the ramp toward the roof. My six year old mind reached a decision - JUMP IT. Just like Evel would! Right?

Wrong! My dad came out of the house just in time to stop me during my final approach to launch my little green bicycle past the point of no return. Fame and fortune (and serious injury) were avoided.


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