Station: [15] Well House

Yippeeeee! Look here! Up here, under the roof! When the well house was refurbished a few years ago, the humans thatched it with rye straw. They did a wonderful job! But forgot to thresh the stalks first! Tons of delicious rye straw, jam-packed with grains and yet more grains... and no human or cat can bother us, up here in the thatch. Only the birds sometimes come in from outside and peck at the occasional grain. And our friends, the spiders, also feel very much at home here. What a perfect mousy life!

In the past ... yes, in the old days, there was a kind of water tank up here in the roof ... The water was pumped up from the well below and stored up there, then piped under pressure to the farmhouses. Of course, the well house sits on a tall stone base. And if you have the water flowing through pipes, and it’s always running downhill, it arrives in the buildings in no time flat. The earliest pipes were made of hollowed-out tree trunks, but later, they moved on to pipes made of fired clay. And all the tools you need to make those early pipes are now here in the well house: planes and axes and above all: spoon drills in various lengths and sizes.

The well itself was made like this: the humans digging the well started by making a sturdy oval timber frame and weighted it down with a ring of stones. And little by little, they dug out the soil from under this frame and sank the well shaft bit by bit. The ring of timber and stones sank deeper and deeper into the earth, until the well was 8 or 9 or 10 metres deep – that’s a depth of between 26 and 30 feet. 

But what do I care? That was human work. For my part, I'd rather stay up here in the thatch and chomp away ... yummy! – lovely crunchy grains of rye.

All depictions: © Schlesisch-Oberlausitzer Museumsverbund gGmbH