Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pitcher Pump Water Feature

I am so excited to blog about my newest project. For the past several years, I have wanted to make a water feature using an old fashioned hand pump, you know, the kind with the long back handle on them that they used to pump up and down to get the water out. I had mentioned it in conversation to my in-laws at one point, and my father in law told me where he knew about one. Just so happened to be on some land owned by one of my co-workers. She graciously said I could remove it (Thanks Bam!!) which I just never got around to doing until now. The where's and how's and all that technical stuff just never got answered in my head--until now.

I bought a small patio fountain kit a number of years ago at the lawn and garden show in Wichita. It had a little resevoir and a wooden frame that went around it and came with the fountain and sprinkler. It looked so good at the garden show. When I got it home tho, it just never was quite right. The fountain never stood up right, the rocks to hold the fountain down in the bottom looked tacky to me, the sprayer got clogged, it was always running out of water, blah. .. blah. . . blah. So it sat--on my deck with nothing in it, just taking up space and lookin ugly.

So I decided this spring that I should use that to catch the water coming out of my pump. After much thought, I decided that my best option was to build a little stone enclosure to hide the black plastic. A few weeks ago I decided that the little spot next to my herb garden and in front of a honeysuckle bush would be a good place for the fountain. It was close to the back door and small back patio, where you can't hear the water from my waterfall. It also just happens to have an outdoor outlet on the corner of the house there (what a smart girl must have thought THAT one up when the addition went up 7 years ago!!)

We had planned to take J's pickup to mom and dad's to collect about 20 linear feet of stones to finish a border I had started, and I thought to myself "Self, I should find some small stacking
rocks while I'm at it to have around this summer to work on that water feature." My plan was to work on the water feature in July when all the busy stuff is winding down. Being the doll he is, J just shook his head and helped me load the backend of his truck full of big rocks, lumpy rocks, stackin rocks, and just plain cool rocks. When we started to leave the pasture and he said "Oh, this isn't that heavy" he patiently waited while I added a FEW more. Then we both chuckled as we realized that I picked up the biggest rocks I could find, to make the most out of the "ok, but just a few" comment. Something about having to buy new tires that really makes him irritable!

When we got home I was ready to get to work. I promised him that I would have the rocks out by the end of Memorial day so he could have his pickup back. I sorted the rocks a little as I threw them out on the ground so I could see what I had to work with. As my little rock wall became a little bigger and he could see what I was planning (finally! . . . the man has VERY little vision!) he got excited (tho he would not admit that as such). He said "hurry up and finish unloading those (we had about 10 rocks left) and we'll run up and check out that pump to see what we need to get it home. So we did. After we broke the handle in two, the rusted inside twisted itself off and came up, YIPPEE! Thanks God!

Long story short, he worked on that thing in his shop until 10:00 Sunday night and had everything welded back together and the tubing run into it so it was ready to go!

What a neat sound it makes, and I can hear it in the laundry room and even our bedroom with the windows open.

All the way home I pondered what to plant there. Initially I didn't plan on planting anything there. But my mother has the coolest little spot (like 2 feet by 2 feet) that has a few small rocks and some creeping sedum thru it (by your sidewalk from the garage to the patio) which I just think is so neat. I was wanting to duplicate that somewhere in my yard, just didn't know where. As I started building the wall, it all started coming together in my mind (I just love it when that happens!!) So I had bought a 6 pack of some tri colored sedum (green, white, and pink) to use, stole some hen and chicks from my mother in law and dug some starts off a couple kinds of low growing sedum I have around here. Those went into the small garden area I created after J hauled in a scoop of soil for me. The great thing is that they shouldn't require much moisture or regular care! The back side of that picture is my little herb garden next to our back steps. I need to put some cypress mulch down to keep the grass out (it has always been such a hassle to mow and weed eat right there, so this solution is perfect) I finished it by putting an old rocking chair that needs a new seat (we have everything to fix the seat, just haven't done it--like for the last 2 years!) and put a pot of flowers in the lacking seat area. I love it, love it!

On our way home we stopped at Uncle Pete and Aunt Jane's to check out all the work they have been putting into their backyard. They have been building a pergola. As we were leaving, Pete says "hey do ya need some low voltage lighting??" You know what they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure! You bet we do! Pete smugly smiled as J rolled his eyes and we hauled them all off. I have them in the ground and hope to have J wire them in this next weekend!

What do ya think Uncle?? Thanks again!!
Moral of this story?? Never give two type A people even part of a project--because they will never wait for the rainy day to start it, and now they will have to think up a new project to work on later this summer when they should have been working on the one they just finished!


  1. Oh my goodness...that's beautiful! Great job! I am so jealous! =-)

  2. The pump hasn't looked that good in a hundred years!!! :o)

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  4. Ohhh,that looks kind of bad that I deleted one of my posts!! It was just a repeat of the first post!!! Guess I got "post" happy!!! Sorry 'bout that!!!

  5. Wow Mel, this is so beautiful! All those rocks definitely make me think of home. We actually still have a working hand pump at the Bennett family cabin in Michigan. We will be heading up there in a couple of weeks. Duncan is always first to volunteer to get water so he can pump away.