, Gloucester, MA


May 20, 2013

Fishtown Local: Pigs still drink our water; do you?

Out in the barnyard, spring casts its unforgiving sunlight on a stinking situation: the smell of our water.

Filling up the donkeys’ bucket with city water only makes it more painfully obvious how unsavory the situation has become.

The spray from the hose is aerated and spotlights the foul stench that has become Gloucester water. One can smell the ammonia and chlorine right out of the air as the water cascades into their bucket. It is an acrid, pungent odor that makes the nose wrinkle and the donkey head turn away in disinterest.

Yes, the painful fact is that our donkeys will no longer drink Gloucester water. Remember the old expression, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink? These days, we have to capture rainwater off the barn roof into a rain barrel to keep them interested.

It’s been a good winter for catching water, but in that long dry stretch the week before last, we had only city water to offer. They preferred to stay thirsty and let the bucket stand full.

Back at the house, the dog agrees. She will only touch her water dish if the water comes out of our sink filter system. I keep thinking we can fool her by filling it from the regular tap while she’s not looking, but one sniff is all she needs to walk away. The good news is that our pig still drinks the water with no reservations.

Does that tell you anything?

Here’s an eye-opening test: have you recently had the occasion to soak anything that’s infected? Running a cup of tap water and heating the cup in the microwave to get it hot enough to soak an infected cut on a finger is an even more dramatic smell test.

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