Betting on Water


Life is so amazing. You think you know what you’re going to do, then wham. Life has something different in mind. Life just doesn’t like plans, does it? And I’m so glad, because life is so much more interesting when it’s always a surprise. I used to live my life according to plans and I did everything in my power not to deviate from them. If you really work hard at it, you can at least minimize side trips, though you can’t entirely eliminate them. Then one day I confronted the fact that I was miserable, and I picked up my laptop and my children and my big fat orange cat and went to West Virginia–and threw all my plans to the wind. Apparently, the universe picked up on my newly reckless spirit and there hasn’t been a plan I’ve made since that hasn’t burst with surprises and side trips–that I have often and cheerfully taken.

And so yesterday, I drove out to our farm full of PLANS. We had two potential drilling spots picked out–the site of the old well, or the spring on the hill. And I was pretty set on the spring. If not the spring, it was back to the old well site. And that’s all she wrote. The End.

I write books for a living, and I am here to tell you that that saying? That life is stranger than fiction? It’s true, because I couldn’t make this stuff up.

The driller and his witcher were waiting for me in the meadow bottom. (And if that sentence right there doesn’t tell you all you need to know about my life, I don’t know what would. I have a driller, a witcher, and a meadow bottom. I couldn’t be farther into the backwoods of West Virginia.) Dusty-the-Driller pointed in seemingly random fashion at a spot halfway up the meadow between last week’s dry hole and the old well site.

Dusty-the-Driller: “I want to drill there.”

Me: “I’m not poking holes all over this meadow. We’ve already got one dry hole down here.”

Dusty-the-Driller: “I want to drill there.”

Me: ::dubious::

Dusty-the-Driller: “Double or nothing. I drill where I want to drill to 100 feet. If it’s a good well, you pay double. If it’s dry, it’s free, and I go up the hill this afternoon and drill where you want to drill. If we go up the hill now, you pay for that hole and if it’s dry, then I come down here and you pay for this hole, too.”

In other words, if I drill on the hill first, I could pay double anyway for TWO dry holes. Witching is not an exact science. Then you drill, and you can miss the water by inches. Witching can also pick up on old pipes, and our farm is full of old gas pipes from a century ago. In fact, we found an old gas pipe on the hill near the spring.

Could the witching by the spring be picking up 100-year-old gas pipe? Country wisdom says drill by the spring. But the double or nothing? It’s double or nothing off a reduced price for a subsequent drilling after a dry hole. So if he finds water in the meadow, it’s not much more than the original dry hole cost, even at double. We get two shots and the first hole is free if it’s dry. And we don’t know how many dry holes we’re going to drill on our forty-acre farm, one more, two more, or ten more. He was offering a free dry hole. Me? I just want water. From that standpoint, Dusty’s bet was win-win. He finds a good well in the meadow, he gets double and I get water. But oh how I wanted to drill by the spring! Still, I can’t forget the gas pipe on the hill that could be interfering with the witching. I didn’t want to pay for another dry hole. Or two. But this new spot was not in the plan at all…..

And yet there I stood in a meadow bottom with a driller and a witcher, and that wasn’t my original life plan, either.

So Dusty-the-Driller got his water witcher and they headed for his randomly chosen meadow location to witch the precise spot. And here’s what happened.

We both won. Dusty-the-Driller hit water at 18 feet and he went down to 100 because he promised 100 feet. And the water was gushing all the way. All the water we could ever use and more. It’s a well and a half.

Dusty-the-Driller: “Sometimes I’m right.”

Dusty-the-Driller’s water witcher scooped up a handful of water and drank it. “Tastes good,” he said. “Except for the mud.”

(What did I tell you? Could I make this stuff up?)

Back up at the spring, Steve-the-Builder pulled up a handful of frog eggs.

I can’t wait to live here. There is so much to discover! Our farm is so beautiful. We have several springs on our hill. I want to build a springhouse. And we’re going to dig out one of the springs to make a duck pond.

Steve-the-Builder couldn’t resist witching near the spring where we were thinking about drilling one more time.

Steve-the-Builder: “There’s water here, I just know it.”

He’s looking to buy a drilling rig of his own and he’s determined to come up our hill someday and drill by that spring. He’s a man with a dream. And if we ever have trouble with our water line down to the meadow, he’ll be the first person I call. Yesterday, we took a side trip off the plan–and we found a gusher. Today, Steve-the-Builder is hooking the new well into our existing water line in the meadow and pulling over the electric to run the pump. The kitchen is set up and two bathrooms are now ready. It could take a few days for the new well to settle before it’s safe to really run water in the house, but our well is drilled in rock so it could clear up in a matter of hours rather than days. We’ll see. Either way, now that I know where the ending is, I’m in the mood to camp if necessary.

Tonight, for the first time, we will sleep in our new farmhouse.


  1. Michelle Willingham says:

    Hooray for water! :flying: Isn’t it amazing the way these things work?

  2. Shirley says:

    No matter what our plans are, sometimes there is a greater plan. I know that by late spring, you will have everything in place(except maybe that driveway) and be settled in. It won’t be long before time to get that garden in.

    My dad always wanted potatoes planted by St. Patrick’s Day, and that’s just around the corner.

    It’s been and continues to be great fun to watch you build your house, and you know we would all come help you move in if we could.

  3. jan says:

    Who really cares where the water is…you ofund it and you have it! Super….Happy Move In Day

  4. Kim A. says:

    Dusty the Driller had the mojo! Hallelujah! :bananadance:

    Congrats on the water…and on being in your house tonight! Yippeee!


  5. Blaze says:

    Awesome, glad tp see you got water, and that its good!
    Sometimes its hard to get water in Roane Country that doesn’t have alot of iron in it so congradulations!

  6. Heidi says:

    Water Water everywhere and now SO much to drink!!! Pie and fresh lemonade on the porch…. My eyes are glassed over just thinking about it!!! I am SO happy for you my dear, there is nothing better than being able to sleep in the home will are growing to love. :elephant: If Dusty is really the well diggers name, that is SO SO SO funny – Dusty drills a dry hole. 😆 Have a great day and congrats on your water, good luck on getting that book done. 🙂

  7. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Yes, Dusty is really his name, LOL.

  8. margiesbooboo says:

    :snoopy: :drowning: happy happy joy joy

  9. Robin G. says:

    “Dusty-the-Driller’s water witcher scooped up a handful of water and drank it. “Tastes good,” he said. “Except for the mud.””

    So I expected the next picture to be of him drinking… except that it was a picture of a handful of frog eggs and I almost retched.

    Teaches me to be careful about skipping ahead to pics…

  10. Hillbilly2 says:

    Yeah! So happy for you! One obstacle overcame! Enjoy your campout! :snoopy:
    P.S. If Steve-The-Builder ever drills near the spring, let us know how it turns out.

  11. lintys says:

    Yee Haw! Congratulations! :clap:

  12. Annie says:

    I’ve been reading along for only a few weeks, so why was it that I’ve been wondering if you found water all day yesterday and checked first thing this morning to see. In other words, a complete stranger is doing the peasant dance of joy for you in Minnesota. Woohoo! You have water!

  13. kacey says:

    Yay for water!! And Yay for Dusty the Driller! It’s so nice that you can check that worry off your list.

    You have changed. LOL. A driller, a meadow, a farmhouse. Wells. Springs. Mud driveways. Frog eggs. Farmgirl boots. You sure aren’t the same person I met years ago!

  14. Jill S. says:

    I love how everything worked out, and that you are nearly all in The Dream House.

  15. Sarah in Sanford says:

    WOOHOOOO!! I am so glad you found water. :bananadance:

  16. Maria says:

    Wow. You’re right. Real life is FAR more entertaining than fiction. I thought life could be summed up in these words you wrote: “Witching is not an exact science.” No. It isn’t ever, is it?

    I’m so happy for you! The pond, the toad eggs, the ducks, the chickens, the road (chickens and all!) less traveled!

  17. HeyJules says:

    I am so excited for you! What a wonderful life you’re heading into!

  18. Treasia says:

    Yippee and hooray for the water that was found. Regardless of where. :thumbsup: It’s strange how after only starting to read your blog a couple of weeks ago that I am excited for you.

    Have a wonderful day(s) of moving in.

  19. Mary says:

    :drowning: Yeah!!!!! WATER!!!!!!!!! Congratulations on the new home. Frog eggs, too! How lucky! :flying:

  20. Biddy says:

    Yay!! Water water everywhere!

    I have been loving reading about the new farmhouse and am so happy you have moved in. Was almost in your neck of the woods last week (well Nashville is closer than London)


  21. CRockStar Wannabe says:

    Waa-hoo!! I have been on pins and needles hoping you would find water soon.

    I had no idea that frog eggs are suspended in aspic. Yuck.

  22. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home says:

    I just found your site and am intrigued. I am (unfortunately) stuck in the city, though I long to be a country girl. Maybe I’ll have to read your blog to live vicariously through you until it happens for us! So glad you found your water, and yes, our plans generally just don’t go the way we think they will, do they?

  23. Laney says:

    “Tastes good, except for the mud…”
    Pretty much sums up life doesn’t it? I love it. I could hardly wait for this morning’s post. You didn’t disappoint 😀

    I love the magic of water witching. Hell, I just love the magic of life. Never know, do we?
    Just never know.

    Enjoy that new home.

  24. Tori Lennox says:

    Hooray for water!!!! :shimmy: :woof:

  25. Becky says:

    Yeah, the frog eggs are kind of gross-looking… and yet, fascinating!

    yay for water!!! I had no idea what all was involved in the drilling of a well! Wow!

  26. Amie Stuart says:

    *sigh* I lubs your farmhouse! :purr:

  27. Amy Addison says:

    You have water! Yay, yay, yay! And the house is beautiful.

    Thank goodness for side trips.

    I’m so glad you can move in for good now.

  28. Nicole Reising says:

    How awesome Suzanne! Have fun tonight! :friday:


  29. Kim W says:

    WOOHOO!!! :snoopy: I’m SO excited for you!! You’ll have to let us know how your 1st night goes. I hope you DO get some sleep…it can be so excting to sleep in a new home…AND…a little scary, too, getting used to all the new night-time noises.

    Blessings from Ohio…

  30. Lisa Carper Stott says:

    :shimmy: Finally! I was waiting to see what happend!
    I am so excited for you! I wish I were in Roane County!
    I still want to witch a well someday! Did you try it?

  31. Brandy says:

    Yay for you and having water! Um, maybe a warning on the frogs eggs picture next time? *shudder*

  32. Estella says:

    Congratulations on finding water, even if it wasn’t where you expected it to be.
    Have a wonderful nights sleep in your new house!!!

  33. Susan says:

    Yay! :shimmy: Have a wonderful night in your new farmhouse! :purr:

  34. catslady says:

    Fantastic :elephant: :snoopy: And you were only off by a few days. The frog eggs are a good omen – if you find nice heathy frogs (not two headed or 6 legged) that means all is well :yes: First night in your new house – aren’t firsts wonderful :butterfly:

  35. robin says:

    :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy:
    Sweet Sweet Dreams!

  36. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    Major congrats on finding water :sheepjump: I hope everyone gets some sleep tonight. All the happiness about finally getting to sleep in the new home might keep some people awake. I still remember our first night in our new home .Of course, that was 33 years ago, but that feeling stays with you forever. I know your little family will have many years and tons of new memories to build in that beautiful new home. Enjoy every minute of it. God bless and :hug: to all.

  37. Annette says:

    Wah Hoo! Water!!! Congrats! Enjoy your first night in your new home!!!

  38. Jodi says:

    It seems someone named “Dusty” drilling for water would be bad luck…but I guess not this time. Congratulations.

  39. mary beth says:

    YAY Suzanne. Enjoy the first night in the new house. Woo Hoo! Here’s to many more detours on life’s plans. Keeps things interesting.

  40. Michelle says:

    Cool! You’ll have to post pictures as they change from tadpoles to frogs… I used to bring home buckets of tadpoles as a child and put in an empty fishtank and watch them change, then dump them in the garden to eat bugs!!


  41. Sandy Levin says:

    Looks like you’ve got lots of mud. Better get out your rubber boots! Congratulations on finding water. :drowning:

  42. shgrsweet says:

    I cant believe that guy scooped up some water and drank it! 😮

  43. Bayou Woman says:

    Wonderful! Super! Fantastic! I’m so happy for you. Building a spring house? Sounds like a story book tale to me. I can’t even imagine how wonderful that could be to live in such a place.

  44. Kathy Russell says:

    I just want to know one thing — okay, two things — can I have Steve-the-Builder when you are done with him? and would you send Dusty-the-Driller to my farm next? A girl can hope, can’t she?

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