Tag Archives: Grapevine Spring






We don’t talk about
the drought, anymore:
four years dry,

we have adapted
and survived our fears—
scratched for water,

sold half our cows—
but ready for storms
to raise some more.



Perhaps we are cursed
to stay busy, put our shoulders
to the rock, embrace it—

move the planet
with small accomplishments,
little marks never permanent

that become our joy:
like new fence
guitar string tight

keeps neighbors strong,
picked by the wind
to play its song.


Grapevine Spring



We began mucking out the silt and sediment at Grapevine in the afternoon of August 14th, after breaking loose new water at Railroad Spring.



On the 15th, after spending the morning at Railroad constructing a spring box and plumbing pipeline to the troughs, David continued at Grapevine after some accumulation of water overnight, also digging about ten feet deep at the south end of the pond .



Photo of Grapevine while checking our stock water and cows in Greasy on the 19th. The flow from beside the rock on the north end of the pond appears to be running 1/2 to 3/4 gallons per minute. At the south end, where the Gill cowboys rode in with shovels in 1939 to find water for the their cattle, David dug as deep as he could reach on the 17th where substantial water had seeped in overnight.

Even poetry cannot express my relief knowing we’ll have enough water for our cows, already ranging farther out to graze now sure of places to drink.


Spring Box @ Railroad




There are several different ways to install a spring box depending on the water source and materials at hand. With backhoe and shovel work, David and I uncovered about two square feet of a hard flat rock with a horizontal crack that was leaking the water. We scrubbed the rock with a brush to remove all the mud so the mortar mix would stick, then built a small dam of smaller rock around our 1½” PVC pipe until the water pooled behind it to rise and exit the pipe. We leveled the dam and sides until the discharge pipe was secure, the ran about 80 feet of pipe down the trench to the troughs and backfilled it before placing larger rocks around our spring box to keep the loose dirt and debris out.

Our placement was about three feet deeper and five feet away from the original spring box, also constructed of rock, which enclosed a seep in native soil that had to be dug out regularly to free the water to rise into a pipe. I’m guessing the original spring box was installed in the 20s or 30s with only a shovel.

The inside dimensions of our box at the top are approximately 7” x 14” and about 18” to the hard rock bottom, making it fairly easy to clean for any silt or sediment that might accumulate over time. I’ll be back Monday with some short 2 x 6s and screws to fashion a lid to keep leaves and small critters out, but for now, the disc blade covers that space.

While I went to Ragle Springs to install a new overflow pipe to utilize a 6’ x 6’ concrete trough built by Earl McKee, Sr. and Lee Maloy in the 30s, having packed the sand and cement on mules from the Kaweah River some four miles and 2,000 feet below, David continued to clean out the pond at Grapevine Spring that had accumulated a substantial amount of water overnight and several thousand gallons by the time we came off the hill late afternoon. Wahoo!

We will return Monday morning to finish up at Grapevine and cover my overflow pipe at Ragle Springs with a dirt pad for a new trough, should the old concrete trough leak.