Monday, February 26, 2024

The Best Water in the World (a repost)


We're proud of our water, here in the mountains. "The best water in the world" we call it. A man may live in a tumble-down shack but if he has a spring above his house, he can dig down to the place where the water runs over bare rock, dam up a small pool, and pipe the water from the pool to a reservoir (which could be anything from a wooden barrel to a cast concrete box) and thence to his house. Gravity water, cold and clear and free.

Clifford, who with his wife Louise owned the farm we live on, told us how during the Depression he went to Detroit in search of a job. "And I woulda made good money too but I couldn't drink the water. Just got on the bus and come back the next day."

I grew up drinking the city water in Tampa and always assumed that was how water should taste. But after I'd lived in the mountains half a year, drinking the water from our own spring -- I was spoiled. Totally and completely. When I returned to Tampa for a visit, the water tasted so much like chlorine that I found myself using bottled water even to brush my teeth.

Our little spring puts out a tiny stream, the size of a pencil, but (so far, knock-on-wood) it's never slackened. It was adequate for our needs till our older boy went to college and began coming come home for spring or fall break with five or six friends. The little spring just couldn't keep up with all the showering and laundry and flushing. So we had a well dug.

We planned to use the well water for the laundry and bathrooms and to have another pipe to supply the kitchen from the spring. My husband, the resident DIY plumber, was resigned to a long, unpleasant session in the cramped crawl space under the house, tackling this complicated reworking of our plumbing. Then we tasted the well water - and lo and behold, it tasted just the same as the spring!

The best water in the world!


Barbara Rogers said...

I know of two spring sources of water, which many people cherish and drive the difficult routes to obtain it...around the Black Mountain area. They aren't exactly secrets, but once you taste that water compared to any other, there's no comparison!

jennyfreckles said...

That's interesting. I had not even thought that water might taste different in different places. I guess you're fortunate to have a reliable supply of 'wild water'. Mine is always going to come from the local treatment works, no other options.

Anvilcloud said...

One place where I camped very briefly had sulphurish water. It was awful.

JJM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJM said...

On a geology class field trip down to South Carolina, our professor led us to a hidden spring deep in the woods. It had been turned into a small well through means of a wide cement pipe, set into the ground, standing upright and topped with a loose metal lid. A battered tin cup was attached to the lid by a short chain.

Not sure how deep that well went, no more than a few feet would be my guess -- I could clearly see the gravel at the bottom. And the crawdads wandering around there.

Best damn' water I ever tasted.

(p.s. That spring wasn't there to slake the thirst of stray hikers who just happened to stumble across it. It was there to supply the local still. The professor warned us not to stray in any direction off the almost invisible trail directly from the road to the spring, lest the local distiller mistake us for revenooers [sic] -- which would quite possibly be a fatal mistake.)

Anonymous said...

In Tampa, at one time, there was a small natural spring where the water came out from a pipe in an area beside a house on the south side of Hillsborough Avenue, just West of Central. Not a huge volume of water or enough runoff to make a pond or anything, but a steady stream like you’d get from a faucet that’s turned on all the way. Best I recall, it ran a short distance (4-6 feet) through a gutter that drained into a nearby sewer grate. The water was cold and delicious, and people came for a refreshing drink on hot days (as well as to fill gallon jugs year round to take home). I know it was there in the late 1950s, but not sure when it was capped. Of course, there was much less traffic then, and no sidewalk, so people left their cars parked on the side of Hillsborough Avenue while filling their jugs.