We've been learning a lot about Oracle's oaks since the collapse of one of ours narrowly missed our electric line. Upon inspection it was apparent fungus rot did the mighty tree in. The tricky part was that from the outside it looked healthy. Anyway the upshot was that we brought in a team that has done plenty of work in our neighborhood which we admired to have a go at cutting out dead wood and pruning for structure clearance.
I had no idea how anyone could get way up to the tippy top of an oak without a bucket truck (try manuevering one of those in the back yard!). Now I know. Now I also know I wouldn't recommend trying this unless you're exceptionally strong, well versed in the arborist craft, well equipped, and daring. An unusual combination for the average property owner. Not cheap but a hell of a lot cheaper than having a limb crash into the roof, down electrics or fuel a structure fire.
Dub Ragels' plumbing expertise extended to local wells. We didn’t think much about an old well-house fitted out with a jack pump that was at the bottom of our property until he enlightened us. Typical of the time he said it was hand dug not drilled. That’s how they did it back then - excavating bucket load by bucket load. Dub showed us how to measure the depth to water and depth to the bottom of the well. About 20 feet of water. No idea how fast it might recharge. We decided to take a chance and go with a half horse submersible. The Gould was guaranteed for 10 years. (Almost 4 decades later it was still pumping away.)
We asked Dub if our well water was drinkable. He said he had no idea but there was an easy way to check it out. Drink a glass and if you get sick you’ll have the answer. Then what do we do? Pour some bleach into the hole and wait a while. Then test it again the same way.
That we never did. Arizona Water Company was a reliable if expensive alternative while the well served as a source for irrigation of trees and garden.
We obviously didn’t know shit from shinola about water, wells, or septic tanks and for good reason. Both of us had lived in cities and suburbs where such matters were invisible to us. In fact, climbing up hill 30 miles out of Tucson Oracle seemed to us a sparsely populated near wilderness. A place where we breathed easier. Light traffic, oak, juniper, manzanita along with cholla and prickly pear cactus.
Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.