The Spring Project


West Virginia is a land of water. When it’s not falling from the sky, we’ve got rivers, creeks, and springs. Recently, I was approved for spring development funds through the Farm Service Agency. The funds are to support spring development for farmers into fields that don’t have an existing natural source of water, or may have a creek that dries up for periods of time in the summer. There’s a spring in the hillside above my goat yard, so I signed up, was approved, and was visited by the FSA guy yesterday.

I showed him the spring in the hillside above the goat yard and front barn yard.

It’s pretty dry right now, so he told me it wasn’t a strong enough spring for them to support developing. It would only provide water part-time. I told him there was a fantastic spring on up the hill, but I thought it was too far. He said, “Show me.”

So I took him on up there and showed him my wonderful spring that’s wet all the time, and said, “But isn’t this too far?”

Well, apparently not–if I’m willing to cost-share for the pipe. What the FSA will pay for is the pipe (certain number of feet, I can’t remember offhand), the holding tank, and other materials. The only difference will be on the amount of pipe required, the other materials are the same no matter how many feet the pipe runs. And he liked the spring–but he wants me to test it out first. There is standing water here all the time, every day of the year, no matter how dry it is. It is likely that it is a real spring, but he said it’s also possible it’s not a spring. He said something about the water table and clay and I can’t remember exactly (!), but some other cause for the water. He wants to be sure. He wants me to trench it out and see if it flows continuously.

I’m sure Ross and Weston were worried they might be bored over their Thanksgiving holiday. Thank goodness they have a trench to dig! I even have two shovels!

And then, since he was from the Farm Service Agency and everything, I couldn’t let him leave without asking him #1, if he knew anything about cows, and #2, if he’d like to put his entire arm up inside my cow, or at least #3, look at her bee-hind. He claimed to know absolutely nothing about cows, but I think he was lying.

Next time somebody comes around, I’m only asking them #1 before I get all descriptive about it!


  1. psliwinska says:

    This may be my inner ignorant city-slicker talking, but I’d love to know enough about cows to help you out. I like getting dirty!

    Should’ve studied veterinary science instead of humanities… 😛

  2. Glenda says:

    That second spring sounds like a real possibility. I now know that we have a developed spring too. It runs about 50 feet from the source that is know covered like a mini well under a fence to a concrete holding tank that can overflow and run into a pond.

    How far will yours have to flow? I looks to be downhill; that is a plus. This will be great exercise and bonding for the boys!!! They will be thrilled (maybe).

    I would worry about check GB; you will know when she is getting very close. There will be a small discharge of mucous and her udder should get very tight and maybe even leak a little milk. Each cow does it differently but for a first time calf, you will see some good signs. I would keep her very near the barn just in case Do some research on first time calving (they may take longer) and what to do to assist if need be. You might want to invest in some long vet exam gloves…….

  3. Old Geezer says:

    I don’t want to deny your sons the exercise, but doesn’t one of your neighbors/family/acquaintances have a backhoe attachment on a tractor?

  4. Glenda says:

    Good gracious, I should have proofread before posting. I hope you can interpret the meaning.

  5. jeandf says:

    😆 I’m just nearly snorted coffee from my nose at the cow part… You really need to warn us! Hahahahaaha!

  6. dawdawsmom says:

    well, if the mailman only slows down to throw your mail in the box…you will know he reads your blog =o)

  7. Darlene in North GA says:

    There’s something called a “Ditch Witch” that you can rent at a tool rental place. (ask the guys, they’ll know what I’m talking about and where to get it.) Anyway, it cuts a trench or ditch anywhere you want it. It will be a lot faster for the sons (and they may actually want to do it for you). It will take them hours at a time to get it done by hand, but only a couple of hours – if that, to use a ditch witch. I’m thinking it’s a 2 stroke-engine type machine that has wheels. You engage the digger part (how’s that for good info?! lol) and let’er rip. Runs until it’s out of gas/oil mixture (if it’s a 2 stroke engine). And that should take long enough for them to get a ditch dug for your test.

  8. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I had to laugh. Digging a ditch is something I’ve always wanted to do for Thanksgiving!NOT!LOL.

  9. mfish says:

    OH my, how I love your blog! I live in an apartment in an over-55 building; it is lovely and just right for me now, but I used to have land and horses and a garden and all the good stuff. I had two pregnant mares, and empathize with your fascination with Glory-Bee’s backside. Both of them delivered in the middle of the night, giving me only the opportunity to discover a dewy-eyed foal, all dry, already nursing, on my morning pasture check. A warm fuzzy!
    Your humor and way with words make everything you write doubly enjoyable. I am a new reader (about 6 months now) but you shot to the top of my favorite blogs list almost at once. You have no meanness in your heart, and it shines through in your writing. Thank you.

  10. MousE says:

    Well you are just so busy! I have to say, I just love what mfish has to say, esp: “you have no meanness in your heart, and it shines through in your writing.” Struth, that!

    I love your writing, Suzanne, and I am so grateful to you for sharing it. :snoopy:

    And welcome to mfish! :dancingmonster:

  11. Leaves of the fall says:

    WARNING!! do not, i repeat, do not drink your coffee when reading this post! it will most assuredly end up splattered in your keyboard and on your computer screen. that last paragraph is FUNNY!

  12. judydee says:

    I’m still laughing as I wipe the coffee off my screen!!

  13. Linda Goble says:

    Since you have a really good spring can’t you put a pond in to hold the water and if you need it, pump it out. We have had a spring here that we use for our water supply for 30 years. We have a tank in the ground and the over flow goes down into my garden pond and then back out to the big pond. Ours never dried up. Will be thinking of Ross and Weston digging on Thanksgiving. :happyflower:

  14. JoyS says:

    Methinks the boys would appreciate some man-size boy toys to help with the trenching…you know how it is…the only difference btwn a man and a boy is the size of the toy!!

  15. brookdale says:

    Did the boys get your ditch dug over the holidays? Just wondering…
    That would be great if you could get water piped down the hill right to where the animals need it!

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