Last summer I wrote about the mysterious spring that the pigs dug up shortly after we moved them on to the pasture. The mysterious part about the spring was that some days it flowed profusely, and some days it was completely dry. It was also oddly coordinated with the barn well -- on days when the spring flowed heavily, the well would dry up if we needed to take more than 5 gallons out of it. Both flowed sporadically, but always one or the other, never at the same time. We discussed lots of theories, none of them entirely satisfactory, and then winter came, the spring was buried, and we moved on.

Until this past week, when the Big Man walked into our barn one afternoon to find water bubbling out of a crack in the concrete. And, the well did not flow, although this time you could hear water moving. Suspiciously familiar.

The new theory is that there is an entire plumbing system that we are not aware of that plugs into the well. For reasons not entirely clear to me, (but are I believe entirely clear to the Big Man, who was, in all truth, explaining his theory and How Wells Generally Work to me without any visual aids at all, which means I retained somewhere around 50% actual facts and invent the rest to round out my understanding), sometimes this alternate universe plumbing system is able to steal the water from our universe's system, sucking it out of the pressure tank or stealing it at a secret elbow, and squirrels it away to a broken pipe somewhere below the table saw, or perhaps to a broken pipe somewhere near the "spring" head.

The unfortunately placed new "spring"

All to say that Big Man has scheduled some chilly time this week for Digging and Investigation. Because pregnant gilts drink a lot of water, more pigs are on the way, and hauling 5 gallon buckets down from the house is not a sustainable solution. Hopefully his theory holds true, and some re-plumbing and inspection can make the barn well endlessly more reliable (although the pigs will miss their little stream wallow when the spring runs).

Of course, none of this explains why this new "spring" started up in the middle of a decidedly below freezing week, or whether or not there is an underground cavern under the barn, nor can we discern any logical reason why the plumbing system that we are theorizing would exist. Mysteries remain.

Not mysterious at all, however, is the delicious bacon (along with numerous other pig parts) that we've been working through this winter. Stump most certainly did not die in vain.